Questions and Answers……
I have fielded a number of questions over the last few months that have local wide implications so I thought I would share some of these with you. Do try to remember that the answers are my best judgements, but I think my record of accuracy over the last couple of years has been better than average. Here goes….
Q: I work for ServiceOntario. Will my job be privatized by the end of the year?
A: Although anything is possible, I’d say no. Here’s why. The purported reason for the privatization in the first place was to raise badly needed capital to purchase more modern technology. (technology current and past management failed to purchase in the past 10 years by the way). The way this is supposed to work is a vendor comes in and bids for the right to acquire the business lines. The winning vendor then gives a large upfront payment to the government in exchange for the right to manage the businesses for a period of time. (very simplified explanation). The budget of March, 2012 indicated an expected upfront amount of $100 million however its safe to say that a larger sized ServiceOntario would provide a larger upfront payment. I’d say it’s likely that Bob is carefully looking at various pieces of government business, assessing its fit and saleability and potentially crafting a larger ServiceOntario than the present model. We do know they have been looking at picking up lines of business from the municipalities as well. All this will take time.
Q: When the new vendor takes over my ServiceOntario job, will my pension follow me to the new employer?
A: What makes you think you’re going to have a pension with the new employer? No, really folks. Yes, successor rights will give you some protection until the next collective agreement expires. After that you’ll have to negotiate a first contract with the new employer. (again, simplified explanation) The bottom line is you have decent pension and benefits now because many of your coworkers, both present and former, walked the line in 1996 to get them solidified in your collective agreement. You will need to fight for them again. I won’t sugar coat that in any way.
Q: I don’t work for ServiceOntario. I guess my job is safe, right?
A: Firstly, I told everyone 18 months ago nobody’s position was safe. I meant it then and I mean it now. Secondly, re-read Question #1. Where do you think the new lines of business are coming from? Right……..
Q: With contract talks coming up can’t we just take a wage freeze and get on with life?
A: Ahhh yesss… the “wage freeze” spin. If any of you out there really think all this bargaining stuff is actually just about a wage freeze, go have a chat with one of your AMAPCEO co-workers. They will confirm to you that the employers agenda is indeed about a wagefreezebenefitandsicktimecutlessenedjobsecurityandpensionreduction. Read it a couple of times if you need to. It’s a cammyism.
Q: Who is running the local now?
A: Frank Wendling is the acting President of Local 468. I will be assisting Frank with a couple of things this week but as of now Frank is the guy until we have a new contract in place. I’m sure he will do a fine job and I’m sure he will have your support as we enter this uncertain time. I will likely post here from time to time but my focus will be strictly on successfully bargaining you folks a new contract. As indicated by the article below, Dalton is gunning for us. No problem my friend. Bring it. We’re there to negotiate.