A Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) between Alectra, the PWU, the IBEW and Unifor was reached on Thursday, May 31, 2017 in regards to Alectra’s application to the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB), seeking a representation vote to decide which of the three unions will be the bargaining agent for all unionized employees of Alectra going forward. For clarity, the voting list will include employees working for Alectra Utilities Corp., Alectra Power Services Inc. and all unionized temporary employees of Alectra. The MoA is attached.
The parties have requested that the OLRB conduct a representation vote of bargaining unit employees. This representation vote will occur on Wednesday, June 28, 2017, at each of the nine primary work locations – St. Catharines, 2 locations in Hamilton, 2 locations in Mississauga, Brampton, Vaughan, Markham and Barrie. Notice of the voting arrangements will be provided by the OLRB once they have given final approval. Any eligible voter may vote at any location if for some reason they cannot vote at their home location. The ballot count will take place on the evening of the vote.
A second vote will take place if the first vote does not produce a majority (50% plus one) for any union. If a second vote is necessary, the union which placed third on the first vote will be dropped from the ballot on the second vote. The second vote, if needed, will occur on July 11, 2017.
Information Meetings to Assist in Making an Informed Choice
The choice of the union that will represent you in your working relationship with Alectra will be one of the most important decisions you will make in your working career and that’s why we requested that Alectra do what they could in an impartial way to help enable employees to make an informed decision.
Alectra has graciously agreed to provide space on company premises and time for employees to meet with each of the unions separately to gather important information that will help employees understand the options. All efforts should be made to ensure that these meetings cause as little disruption as possible to work programs.
Please take advantage of this time to find out what each of the unions has to offer in contributing to a bright and secure future for all Alectra employees.
Alectra will post the meeting schedule with meeting room locations for the face-to-face meetings with the unions on bulletin boards and on the Alectra intranet.
The parties agreed to “dovetail” seniority and service credit, meaning all employees will carry their seniority and service credit with them into the new bargaining unit for all purposes following the representation vote.
Until such time as the parties mutually agree otherwise all bargaining unit vacancies, whether temporary or permanent may be made available to:
(1) All employees in the bargaining unit where the vacancy exists first.
(2) If there are no suitable applicants from employees in the bargaining unit where the vacancy exists, applications from permanent full-time employees in the other 4 bargaining units will be considered next.
(3) If there are no suitable applicants from permanent full-time employees in the other 4 bargaining units then temporary employees in the other 4 bargaining units will be considered before external applicants.
For the purposes of recruitment a “dovetailed” seniority provision will be applied. The successful candidate will be covered under the collective agreement in which the position resides for the term of the assignment and shall carry with them their acquired seniority and service credit.
Until such time as the parties may mutually agree otherwise after the representation vote in the event of an emergency in the service territory of one bargaining unit, unionized employees represented in the other bargaining unit(s) will be considered eligible to respond to such emergency to supplement the response efforts before employees from other entities, assuming that by doing so a member in the bargaining unit of the emergency is not adversely affected.
Bargaining a Single Collective Agreement
Once the representation vote has been conducted and your representative union has been declared, arrangements for the negotiation of one new collective agreement covering all unionized employees of Alectra (the “Alectra Bargaining Unit”) from St. Catharines to Barrie will commence.
Until such time as a new collective agreement is ratified, all five existing collective agreements with the three unions will continue to apply to all five existing bargaining units.
Even though mergers can create new opportunities that can come with a much larger and growing company, there will also be hectic and sometimes stressful times for employees throughout Alectra as we go through this long process together. I assure you that the PWU will work tirelessly to make the end results the best possible for all Alectra employees.
The PWU will communicate any further developments as they arise.