As promised we are trying to keep you up to date on developments as they roll out.
Voting on CEP’s application to displace CULE as the bargaining agent for Regional Office Staff in Ontario began on May 6 with balloting in Toronto and London. Voting will continue in Sudbury, Thunder Bay, Kingston and Ottawa next week and will conclude on May 13. The ballots will be counted in Toronto on May 14.
So far virtually all current CULE members have been showing up to vote. In Toronto, Michelle Sweeney, attired in a CEP jacket with the words CEP Organizer, showed up with five “PSAC Organizers” who all requested ballots. These people were engaged in the Queens University campaign to organize the TAs into the PSAC – a campaign which ended with a board decision on April 13th. One wonders what these workers have been doing for the last three weeks.
The officer of the Ontario Labour Relations Board gave a ballot to each one and allowed them a vote. These ballots plus one other from a Brother whose substantive position remains outside Ontario were segregated in part because these “PSAC Organizers” do not appear on the Employer’s list nor that of CULE. Their eligibility to vote will no doubt be the subject of argument among the parties in front of the OLRB before the matter of who will ultimately represent Regional Office Staff goes forward.
It is anticipated that CEP will argue that these are true employees and therefore their ballots should be counted. If the Board accepts that argument the ballots are counted and if as a result CEP gains 50% plus one of the votes, it will mean that CULE will be displaced in part by persons who have been engaged solely to work on a particular campaign, have never been recognized by either the Employer nor CULE as being PSAC Staff within the meaning of our collective agreement, and whose last day of work is today.
Of course, we will be arguing the other side of the coin. At the end of the day, however, it will be the OLRB that will make the final decision. As a result, for those who believe that workers should have the democratic right to determine who best represents their interests, every vote by a current CULE member is critical.
Temporary workers who have no enduring relationship with the regional offices and, in fact, will not be working beyond the end of business today – May 7th – should not have say in which union will represent regional staff going forward.
If you are voting, make sure you keep your own interests at heart! For the rest of us, take note of the extent to which CEP is prepared to go to have its way.
Your CULE Executive