Dear Fellow UWOSA Members,
In light of the announcement that Bill 124 has been struck down as unconstitutional, we remind you that UWOSA had negotiated a Wage Reopener in the form of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with Western should this occur. We ask you to please read the MOA so that you are educated and informed.
To access the Wage Reopener:
- Log in to the UWOSA website
- Click on the Members tab
- Click on the Governance, Agreement and Forms tab
- Scroll down to Letters of Understanding
- Click ‘Wage Reopener MOA for 2021-24 Collective Agreement
The Ontario government has chosen to appeal the decision. In anticipation that the appeal will also be struck down as unconstitutional, the UWOSA Executive Committee provided notice to the Employer on June 6th to negotiate the annual wage percentage increases from the past three years of our current collective agreement.
Western has agreed to open negotiations for wages only. Members of the Executive Committee met with Western Administration on June 15th and preliminary discussions have begun. UWOSA came to the meeting fully prepared and have secured two more days to negotiate.
Please see below a list of Frequently Asked Questions. If your question isn’t answered below, please contact the UWOSA office at email@example.com. We ask for your patience and support as we continue to engage with Western Administration. We will keep you updated on the progress.
Frequently Asked Questions:
- What is Bill 124?
- Bill 124 was proposed by Doug Ford’s government in June 2019 and became law in November 2019. The Bill that passed has imposed a series of three-year moderation periods that limit salary and compensation increases to 1% per year. According to the Bill, Employers (Western) and Unions (UWOSA) were not allowed to negotiate increases to make up for the moderation periods once the three years have passed.
- Why does UWOSA care about Bill 124?
- The ability to negotiate a collective agreement, is a fundamental constitutional right under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Freedom of Association) and Bill 124 heavily restricted our Negotiations Team’s ability to negotiate under these conditions. The Bill itself dictates what fundamental gains can and cannot be negotiated and caps salary and compensation. To be direct, UWOSA and Western could not agree to a salary increase over 1% (even if Western was inclined to do so) due to the imposed restrictions of the 1% by Bill 124.
- What is considered ‘compensation’ under Bill 124?
- Compensation also has strict parameters. By definition under Bill 124, compensation is anything paid or provided directly or indirectly to an employee as a benefit. This could include health and dental benefits, uniform allowances, etc. Bill 124 also prohibits any new compensation to be added or included in a Collective Agreement. The only exception is if a collective agreement already provides an increase based on length of employment. For UWOSA, we have this in our current Collective Agreement (Appendix W – Z) of Progress through the Range (PTR) and Long Service Maximum.
- What is UWOSA’s Wage Re-opener?
- At the last round of negotiations (Summer 2021), UWOSA’s Negotiations Team and Western’s team agreed to a Memorandum of Agreement, giving UWOSA the right to negotiate wages if Bill 124 was deemed unconstitutional, including any and all appeals were also deemed unconstitutional.
- How are these meetings with Western Administration different than Collective Bargaining?
- These meetings are different in that only wages can be negotiated. The rest of the Articles contained within our Collective Agreement cannot be opened until our next round of collective bargaining with Western Administration, which is late Spring/early Summer 2024.
- If we disagree with what Western Administration offers, can we go on strike?
- No, we cannot. The wage reopener is a Memorandum of Agreement, which is an agreement signed, outside of the collective agreement. Its purpose is to settle the claim of the wage reopener that both parties signed.
- What if UWOSA does not achieve its anticipated wage increase during this wage re-opener?
- UWOSA will be entering into collective bargaining with Western Administration in late Spring/early Summer of 2024. Any wages and benefits UWOSA is unable to obtain to settle the wage re-opener claim, will be revisited during negotiations next year.
- Wages and benefits are important to me. How can I get involved?
- UWOSA is currently accepting applications for our upcoming negotiations committee for 2024. If you are interested in joining, or want more information, please contact Jen Heidenheim, Negotiations Committee Chair at firstname.lastname@example.org.
UWOSA Executive Committee
(Nikki Grozelle, Jen Heidenheim, Meg Perinpanayagam, Lori Johnson, Natalie Samuel, Cleusa De Oliveira and Emericks Rivas)