TOWN OF MAGRATH
 COLLECTIVE BARGAINING NARRATIVE

[1]

The Town of Magrath has recently been unionized by Unifor, Local 4050 to represent some employees of the Town respecting certain terms and conditions of employment for those employees.  The Town and the Union are in negotiations for a first Collective Agreement that will cover those employees.

 

[2]

Town Council believes that it is important for stakeholders that may be affected by or have an interest in these negotiations to be informed of the events leading up to and during the collective bargaining process.  As a result, Town Council passed the following motion at its May 10, 2016 regular Council meeting:

 

                        Motion by Councillor Van Ee to proceed with setting up an area on the website for union negotiation information for transparency to keep key stakeholders up to date with what is happening. 

[CARRIED]

 

[3]

It is therefore, the intent of the Town to provide information to stakeholders, from time to time.  Following, is a chronology of events associated with the unionization process and the collective bargaining process.  Additional information will be added to the website by the Town.

 

[4]

On January 4, 2016, the Town of Magrath was notified by the Alberta Labour Relations Board (ALRB) regarding an application by Unifor, Local 4050 to unionize certain employees employed by the Town of Magrath (See Attachment 1).

 

[5]

On the same date, the ALRB also requested that information regarding the employees of the Town be provided to assist the Labour Relations Officer in their investigation (See Attachment 2).  The requested information was provided by the Town to the ALRB on January 5, 2016.

 

[6]

On January 12, 2016, the ALRB provided to the Town the report prepared by the Labour Relations Officer and set a scheduled hearing date of January 15, 2016 for the application of Unifor, Local 4050 (See Attachment 3).  Page 6 of the attachment is excluded as this page contains the names of all the employees of the Town associated with the Unifor, Local 4050 application.

 

[7]

On January 15, 2016, the ALRB provided to the Town the decision of the Board and directed that a representation vote be conducted to determine the wishes of the employees in the unit (See Attachment 4).  Page 4 of the attachment is excluded as this page contains the names of all the employees of the Town that would be eligible to vote on the decision to unionize, or not.

 

[8]

On January 21, 2016, the ALRB communicated to the Town the results of the representation vote conducted and, in addition, attached the appropriate certificate identifying Unifor, Local 4050 as the bargaining agent for those employees affected by the Union’s application (See Attachment 5).

 

[9]

On January 25, 2016, a Unifor National Representative served notice on the Town of the Union’s intent to start collective bargaining between the Town and the Union (See Attachment 6).

 

[10]

On the same date, the Unifor National Representative requested certain information from the Town to facilitate collective bargaining (See Attachment 7).  The requested information was provided to the Union on March 3, 2016.

 

[11]

On February 5, 2016, the Assistant to the National President notified the Town of the name of the Unifor representative that is assigned to service the Union’s new members (See Attachment 8).

 

[12]

Subsequently, the Town and the Union identified their respective bargaining committees as follows:

 

Representing the Town                                               Representing Unifor, Local 4050

 

Mac McDonald, Labour Relations Advisor               Jay Thompson, Service Representative

Russ Barnett, Mayor                                                   Don Boucher, Alberta Area Director

Brian Oliver, Councillor                                             Carson Morton, Town Employee

Richard Van Ee, Councillor                                       Kam Roe, Town Employee

Wade Alston, Chief Administrative Officer

Carolyn Law, Municipal Clerk

 

[13]

Guiding principles are established for the bargaining committee representing the Town for collective bargaining with the Union for a first collective agreement.  Those guiding principles are as follows:

 

 

The Employer currently provides to its employees a compensation package including wages, vacations, statutory holidays and certain health plan coverage with the interest to attract and retain staff to deliver the programs and services necessary for the stakeholders of the Town of Magrath.

The Employer however, must remain fiscally responsible and work within the funds available today and in the future for the delivery of programs and services necessary for the stakeholders of the Town Magrath.

The Employer, therefore, is desirous to bargain with the Union a compensation package for the employees covered by this first Collective Agreement that:

1.         Ensures the long term viability of the Employer to deliver programs and services for the affected stakeholders;

2.         Provides the required flexibility necessary for the Employer to manage its operations and facilities; and

3.         Is affordable now and remains financially sustainable for the Employer into the future.

 

 

[14]

The Town and the Union agreed to hold their first meeting to commence the collective bargaining process on April 4, 2016.  At that meeting the Town and the Union each tabled their respective opening proposals for the negotiation of a first collective agreement (See Attachment 9 – Town’s proposal and Attachments 10 & 12 – Union’s proposal).

 

[15]

Subsequent to the April 4, 2016 meeting, the Town and the Union agreed to meet to continue the collective bargaining process on Friday, June 3, 2016 from 4:00 to 10:00 pm and to resume negotiation on Saturday, June 4, 2016 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.

 

[16]

On June 3, 2016, the Town and Union representatives met to continue the collective bargaining process over the next two (2) days.  The Union made a change to their bargaining committee by removing Don Boucher and replacing him with Steve Kerr, National Representative.  Mr. Kerr was in attendance for these meetings.  The Town advised the Union of Town Council’s decision to keep stakeholders informed during the collective bargaining process.  A copy of the narrative document which will be placed on the Town’s website was provided to the Union representatives.  The Union indicated that they were seeking a legal opinion on the Town’s decision to be transparent and they hoped to have it by tomorrow.  The meeting this evening progressed well with the representatives discussing several of the items tabled by both parties.  The meeting concluded around 10:00 pm.

 

[17]

On Saturday, June 4th the Town and the Union resumed collective bargaining.  The Union began the meeting by responding to the Town’s transparency decision.  The Union asked that the Town delay posting collective bargaining information on their website until the Union had an opportunity to amend their proposal or add commentary to it before posting and that the Union be given time to communicate with its members before the information is posted.  The Union also provided a decision by the ALRB in support of their request (See Attachment 11).

 

[18]

The Town’s bargaining committee took time to consider the Union’s request and agreed to provide the Union with the time requested.  The Union undertook to respond back to the Town by the middle of next week (June 8, 2016).  For the balance of the day, the Town and the Union continued their review of their respective bargaining proposals.  At the end of the day, all agreed that future collective bargaining meetings would be determined once the Union has responded next week to the Town’s transparency decision.

 

[19]

On June 10, 2016, Unifor representative, Jay Thompson emailed Town Labour Relations Advisor, Mac McDonald, stating:

 

“I have done a draft of a cover letter and just waiting some feedback on my side. Hoping to have it to you by early next week.”

 

[20]

On June 17, 2016, the Town, having heard nothing further from Mr. Thompson, directed Mr. McDonald to communicate to Mr. Thompson that Town administration would be posting information associated with the collective bargaining process on its website on Monday, June 20, 2016.

 

[21]

In the afternoon of June 17th, Mr. Thompson provided a covering letter to be posted on the Town’s website along with Unifor’s bargaining proposal tabled on April 4, 2016 (See Attachment 12).

 

[22]

On September 23 and 24, 2016, negotiations resumed between representatives for the Town and Unifor (the Union).  The parties spent the two days in discussion of various aspects of their respective collective bargaining proposals for a first collective agreement.  Future meeting dates to continue negotiations at set for November 4 and 5, 2016.

 

[23] 

On November 4 and 5, 2016, negotiations resumed between representatives for the Town and Unifor (the Union).  The parties spent the two days in discussion of various aspects of their respective collective bargaining proposals for a first collective agreement.  Future meeting dates to continue negotiations at set for December 9 and 10, 2016

 

[24]

On November 24, 2016, the Town received notice from the Alberta Labour Relations Board (ALRB) that a group of employees had applied for revocation of the bargaining rights of Unifor, Local 4050. (See Attachment #13).  The correspondence from the ALRB also included a notice to Employer and Employees that the ALRB has set a hearing date of Friday, December 9, 2016 at 9:00 a.m. in Calgary to consider the application made by certain employees of the Town.

 

 [25]

Additionally, on November 24, 2016, the Town received a request from the ALRB to provide certain information from the Town to assist the ALRB in conducting its investigation into the revocation application (See Attachment #14).  The Town updated the information provided earlier to the ALRB in January 2016 and resubmitted it to the ALRB on November 24th.

[26] 

On December 5, 2016, the Town received the ALRB officer’s investigation report (See Attachment #15).

[27] 

On December 7, 2016, the Town received a letter from the group of employees making the revocation application to the ALRB wherein the group of employees responded to the questions/concerns posed in the ALRB officer’s investigation report (See Attachment #16).

            [28] 

On December 9, 2016, the ALRB held their hearing in Calgary into the revocation application.  The Town did not attend the hearing.  Later that day, the Town received verbal notice from the 

ALRB that the application for revocation was dismissed by the ALRB and that the official decision of the ALRB would be forthcoming. 

 [29]

In the evening of December 9, 2016, following the ALRB proceeding in Calgary, representatives of the Town and Unifor (the Union) met to resume negotiations that evening and the next day (December 10th).  At the start of the bargaining meeting, Unifor informed the Town that the Union wanted to cancel the two bargaining meetings (today and next day) until they can have a meeting with their members.  The Town agreed to the Union’s request.  Before departing, the Town and the Union agreed to resume bargaining on January 13 & 14, 2017.

[30] 

The Town received the written decision from the ALRB on December 20, 2016 (See Attachment #17). The decision dismissed the revocation application brought forward by a certain group of Town employees.  In dismissing the application, the ALRB noted that section 57 of the Alberta Labour Relations Code permits the same or substantially the same application after ninety (90) days from the date the application for revocation was dismissed by the ALRB on December 9, 2016.

 

[31

The Town and the Union representatives met on January 13 and 14, 2017 to continue negotiations of a first Collective Agreement.  The committees continued their discussions on several aspects of their respective collective bargaining proposals.  Agreement was reached to continue negotiations next Saturday, January 21st.  

[32]

 

On January 21, 2017 negotiations resumed between representatives for the Town and Unifor (the Union).  The parties spent the day in discussion of various aspects of their respective collective bargaining proposals for a first collective agreement.  Future meeting dates to continue negotiations are set for March 9 and 10, 2017.
   
   
   
   

 

THE TOWN OF MAGRATH WILL BE UPDATING THIS COLLECTIVE BARGAINING NARRATIVE AS MORE INFORMATION BECOMES AVAILABLE.

 

 

 

 

 

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