Some questions and answers on ASMPP
Information in the February 10 edition of
Lock Talk has raised some concerns regarding the Attendance Support and
Management Pilot Program (ASMPP), the recent grievance decision and the
union’s role in the process. Here are some answers to the questions you have
Q. Why did the union agree to the
A. The union did NOT agree to the ASMPP,
it is a management program. Please refer to Appendix COR13, a letter from
David Logan dated March 12, 2009.
Q. In the COR 13 letter, the union
is involved in a joint committee with the employer. Doesn’t that mean the
union agrees to the attendance program?
A. No. The committee is established so
that the union can monitor the rates of attendance to make sure the employer
is measuring them properly to determine whether the attendance targets as
set out in Appendix COR7 are met. The committee is also there so that we can
jointly explore other avenues to improving the resources available to help
members improve attendance, as well as trying to make our workplaces safer
and healthier. The union’s only in the Joint Attendance Strategy and
Implementation Committee (JASIC) is to protect the rights of the members who
are involved in ASMPP.
Q. Does management have a right to
have a sick program?
A. Yes. These programs are commonly found
in many workplaces. It is also the union’s right to challenge these
programs, which we have and will continue to do.
Q. Why did the
union agree to have an expedited grievance decision made on ASMPP?
A. Initially, the
union had a scheduled hearing on ASMPP set for February 22nd, 2010. This was
the only date we could get scheduled, and many more were going to be needed,
possibly stretching out for months or even years.
In the meantime, many
of our members were in Stage 3 of ASMPP, and rapidly progressing towards
Stage 4. No consideration was being given to why these members were absent,
and the members and the union feared that members would be disciplined and
possibly fired before we could get the grievances heard at a regular GSB
GSB Vice-Chair Brian
Keller was available for an expedited hearing and the parties agreed to have
him hear arguments from both sides. The union agreed to this process so that
we could get fast protection for members that are legitimately ill or
Q. What did the
union win at the hearing?
A. As reported in the
February 10 Lock Talk, the union achieved significant victories to protect
members who are placed in the ASMPP:
The employer must
exercise reasonable discretion with “non-culpable
absenteeism that is not within the
The employer must deal with employees on an
individual basis, taking into account individual circumstances, as an
employee progresses through the various levels of the ASMPP. Previously, the
employer would not take into account the circumstances that led to an
employee’s absence. Now they must do so.
Absences that flow from a disability as
defined by the Ontario Human Rights Code must NOT be included in ASMPP.
The employer cannot terminate any employee
for WSIB-related absences.
The employer must negotiate with the union
an expedited process to deal with any grievances arising out of ASMPP.
The only thing the union didn’t get at
the hearing was an increase in the ASMPP threshold levels.
Q. Can’t the employer still fire
you for innocent absenteeism?
A. Yes. All employers have the right to
terminate an employee for innocent absenteeism. However, what the union won
at the GSB was the language “reasonable discretion.” It puts additional onus
on the employer to defend their decisions. The process must be reasonable
and any decision made by the employer under the process must also be
is “reasonable discretion” so important to the members in this decision?
A. The “reasonable
efforts” clause in the 1996 OPS collective agreement (which dealt with
layoffs) saved thousands of OPS jobs. Why? Because the employer had to make
reasonable efforts to place a laid-off employee in another position (which
in most cases, they couldn’t). For those same reasons, “reasonable
discretion” will allow the union to argue that, in the event a member is
disciplined or terminated for innocent absenteeism, the employer did NOT
exercise reasonable discretion in doing so. This language provides a safety
net where none existed before.
Q. What are
some examples of disabilities under the Ontario Human Rights Code?
covers a broad range and degree of conditions, some visible and some not. A
disability may have been present from birth, caused by an accident, or
developed over time. It includes physical, mental, and learning
disabilities, mental disorders, hearing or vision disabilities, epilepsy,
drug and alcohol dependencies, environmental sensitivities, as well as other
conditions. Under the Code, protection from discrimination
because of disability includes past, present and perceived conditions.
You can read about
disabilities under the Ontario Human Rights Code at
Q. Why were all
the grievances in Appendix A dismissed?
A. When members see
that a grievance is “dismissed” it is interpreted that the grievance was
lost. In actuality, the grievances in Appendix A were all worded similar to
the Policy/Union Grievance, and it was THAT grievance that went forward to
the expedited hearing. After we received the decision from Vice-Chair
Keller, the individual grievances were “dismissed” because the gains we won
applied to all members affected by ASMPP. However, individual grievances
that are specific to a member’s circumstance are still active and moving
Q. Under this
program, if I feel I am not being given proper consideration for my medical
circumstances, do I have a right to grieve?
In the Award, the employer must negotiate
a dispute-resolution system to deal with ASMPP grievances. We want an
expedited process that has an attached GSB Vice-Chair with a history of
hearing health-issue cases. In the meantime, if you feel that your
occurrences of sick time or absenteeism have not been given reasonable
consideration, you should bring this to management’s attention and
subsequently file a grievance if your concerns are not addressed.
Q. What should
I do if the employer will not accept my medical documents?
A. If the employer
refuses to accept your documentation of medical requirements, then you
should immediately seek advice from your local executive and send a letter
to the superintendent/staff services manager.
If you have more
questions and concerns, please contact Eddy or Glenna.
Original authorized for distribution by Warren (Smokey)
Thomas, president and Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida, MCSCS MERC Chair.
Ontario Public Service Employees Union, 100 Lesmill Road,
Toronto, Ontario M3B 3P8P8
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