Scheduling as a weapon


Under the terms of our contract, BTS is required to “offer” RPT’S and SPT’S “equitable distribution of offered hours.” It means they need to give all BTS workers an equal opportunity to work any available hours within a team territory or common locality.

BTS is always looking for creative ways to take advantage of contract language, even if the spirit and intention of a clause is clear. Scheduling is no exception.

We can’t stop them from taking this approach. But we can prepare you to handle these attacks. Knowledge is power. The more we all know about the terms of our contract and the tactics of our employer, the stronger we are as a team. And the stronger we are as a team, the more likely we are to arrive at equal terms with our Employer and Bell Craft employees.

Our contract says that “scheduling” shifts guarantees you an 8 hour or 10 hour work day. These days are mandatory.

BTS is waiting until the same day to “offer” you work, and trying to get away with offering a 4-hour shift. These hours can be considered under “equitable distribution of hours.”

The Union’s interpretation of the collective agreement is that a “same day” shift is “offered hours” and the Union believes that the decision to work or not is for the member and not BTS to make. This has been the practice for 20 years. The Union will be grieving this issue, and proposing to BTS that the issue be sent to arbitration for a decision.

If you receive disciplinary notice of any kind, contact your union steward immediately so that we can we can engage the company and file a grievance on your behalf.

Most of us are after full work days. We want guaranteed hours, the small bit of room to plan ahead (pick up the kids? take care of a parent? Run an errand?), and the dignity of knowing what we’re doing the next day when we go to bed at night.
This kind of stability affects our quality of life. Bell doesn’t think our quality of life plays a role in their bottom line. They’re wrong about that, of course, and it would be nice to change their minds in the long run.
The Bell Craft RPT employees are not facing the same tactics and we all know who our “REAL” employer is, so why not treat us equally, and not as a second-class workforce.

federal elections

I%20will%20vote%20banner Federal Elections 2015

On October 19th, federal elections will be held. In accordance with the Canada Elections Act,  all employees are entitled to three (3) consecutive hours to cast their vote during voting hours on polling day, from 9:30AM to 9:30PM.


For this reason, by October 9, Workforce Management will adjust the schedule of regular full-time technicians to respect these arrangements. The release period will be coded POP and employees will be released for these hours only, without a pay reduction. The schedule of part-time employees will be set on DD-1.


Only these shifts need to be adjusted:


o    8AM to 7PM (a 30 minute release is necessary)

o    10AM to 7PM (a 30 minute release is necessary)

o    10AM to 9PM (a 2:30 release is necessary)


The following shifts do not need to be adjusted:


o    8AM to 5PM

o    9AM to 6PM

o    1PM to 9PM




Can an employee request a different shift modification than the one planned on his schedule? No, the planned schedules were made in consideration with business needs and the obligation for employees to have three (3) consecutive hours to cast their vote during voting hours on polling day. The time coded as POP cannot be changed nor postponed.


Am I going to be paid if my schedule is modified to go vote? Yes, even if you are released to go cast your vote, you will be paid for the entire shift, like any other day.


If an employee has questions, to whom should they ask them? The employee can address his questions to his manager.


If a manager has questions, to whom should they ask them? The manager can contact his Labour Relations consultant.


I have reviewed all information that I have received on behalf of the National President’s Office. The Committee on Constitutional Matters requested written correspondence from the Local Union and the appellants and has now completed its investigation into their request for Review of Decision of your election.

In addition, the Committee on Constitutional Matters contacted the Unifor Ottawa Office for information relative to the approval process of Local Union By-Law amendments prior to the creation of Unifor.

On September 30, 2014 I responded to a member of Local 1996-O by email who had copied me on a question to you regarding the nomination form available to members in your Local Union. He directly asked me for my input and a ruling on the attached form through email. By this time, two other members had also contacted me by email.

I subsequently responded to the member regarding the form just as I do any other members or Leadership who contact me. I provided an opinion as to whether or not the form and the intent behind the by-law are in fact constitutional according to the Unifor Constitution.

My response was as follows:

I have reviewed the attached document relative to elections that may be forthcoming within the Local Union. I would be more than happy to discuss this and any other concern that may originate prior to the elections taking place because as we all know, Unifor is an entirely new Union with different rules and procedures than existed in each of our predecessor Unions.

In reviewing the attached, I can say that it is my opinion that the provision to require a member to currently hold an elected Chief Steward position in order to seek an Executive Board Office such as those listed would be unconstitutional. I am not aware of what is contained in the Locals by-laws as a revised set has not been sent to me as of yet for approval but I can say if that requirement is contained within, it will not be approved.

As you can see from the above noted response, I indicated that the provision restricting Executive Officer positions to currently elected Chief Stewards would be considered unconstitutional and would not be approved by the National Executive Board. I did however say that I was not aware of what was contained in the Local’s existing by-laws as I did not have a copy when questioned.

I have since been provided with a copy and clearly that provision is contained within Article 13, Section 1 which reads;


Section 1- Nominations

a) Local Executive shall be nominated from the existing Chief Stewards in October every third year of term.

b) Chief Stewards shall be nominated from the existing Stewards, in April every third year of term. The nominee must be a currently existing Steward for a minimum of one year.

c) Stewards shall be nominated in March of every third year of term.

In addition, you have provided me with a copy of a letter from Brother Dave Coles approving the above noted by-law change in December of 2012.

Also, it was raised by the appellants that the by-law change didn’t follow the required procedure with the former CEP for approval although I did not find that to be the case. The letter dated December 10, 2012 from Brother Dave Coles clearly acknowledges receipt of letters from XXXXXXXXX, Recording Secretary of the Local dated November 26, 2012 and that those bylaw changes were approved in accordance with the procedure in the CEP Constitution at the time.

I thank the Local for recognizing at the December 14, 2014 General Membership meeting that the by-law as it exists today is too restrictive. In addition on February 26, 2015 you sent the National Union a summary to help clarify the sequence of events which included a statement as follows; “With the benefit of hindsight, and as explained in more detail below, we now feel that this provision is too restrictive and should be changed”. As previously stated the Local will have to amend that particular provision prior to sending revised by-laws to the National Executive Board for approval. Article 13, Section 1 a) is considered unconstitutional based on the Unifor Constitution.

Under the merger agreements between our former Unions, both CEP and CAW, Local Unions will be given up to three years to conform to the Unifor Constitution. There are approximately 760 Local Unions within Unifor who need to revise their by-laws. Many Locals have taken the approach that if they reach out for assistance or advice on a particular item contained in their by-laws, and find it to be in contradiction of the Unifor Constitution, they forego or ignore that particular provision. Your Local has chosen not to and wishes to rely on your approved by-laws and declare the election final with all Executive Officers elected by acclamation. The National Union intends to respect the merger agreements signed by our former Unions and therefore does not intend to compel the Local to hold new elections in accordance with the Unifor Constitution at this time.

Therefore, based on the foregoing, Local 1996-O elections will stand as final under the existing by-laws of the Local Union; however the term of office is being shortened so that a new election for the four Executive Officer positions must be completed by no later than July 31, 2016, which is prior to the next Unifor Constitutional Convention. Should a vacancy develop with regards to any of the current Executive positions, an election must take place in accordance with the Unifor Constitution.

I can be reached at 1.800.204.3121 Ext. 2224 if you have any questions.

In solidarity,


Rick Garant,
Director of Constitutional Matters

Shining the light on disability legislation in Canada


I had trouble doing squats the other day at the gym as a result of an old injury–it turns out I have a degree of osteoarthritis in my hip. I can work with it, but it could get worse one day.

Would an employer see me as diminished? Would an employer begin to build a case for dismissal because it became difficult for me to get up stairs? Would they manage me differently knowing I was physically challenged?

It’s a sad reality that employers routinely get rid of loyal, engaged, dependent employees instead of working with them through their challenges.

It’s also short-sighted. Our research shows that on the whole, helping people adjust to physical and mental health changes costs less than planning and executing tactics to abandon them. Many employers, focussed on quarters instead of careers, miss the chance to capitalize on the efforts of people who can often be accomodated for a few hundred dollars.

The unofficial practice is base; it aims to externalize the cost of addressing a team member’s challenge to the community at large; to our health care systems and other support services. People’s lives can easily spin out of control when they’re dismissed in their time of need, and this process plays a role in converting a contributing member of society to a dependent. It’s cold, crass, and no one wins except for a few shareholders, in the short term.

Not in Ontario. We’ve got the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (“AODA”).

The AODA is designed to remove the barriers that prevent or limit people with disabilities from participating in a variety of activities in Ontario – including employment, receipt of goods and services, transportation, the built environment and information and communication – through the enactment of legislated accessibility standards.

The AODA complements the requirements under the Human Rights Code and other laws that protect disabled people from discrimination or harassment. Its goal is to have organizations take proactive measures to address accessibility issues related to employees, customers and other members of the public.

It includes clear, progressive (perhaps obvious in hindsight) guidelines like:

  • All new buildings require affordances for accessibility.
  • All renovations are subject to the requirement of building these features.
  • All employers are required to have training in their workplaces.

In other words, Ontario has made it illegal to discriminate against people based on their physical or mental condition.

If it wasn’t embarrassing enough that these stigmas are institutionalized to the degree that we need laws to address them, consider the sad fact that Ontario is a progressive leader in this space; the other provinces have some catching up to do.

And we’re going to do everything in our power to help them.

The second in-person Canada Council meeting brought each of the elected “Workers with Disabilities” leaders together to introduce and discuss our “Shining the Light” campaign.

To increase the ability of employers to get people back to meaningful work, we’re starting by spreading the word about the foundation Ontario has set. We hope that our fellow provinces will seize best practices and adopt them.

We’ll share updates here, but feel free to ask about Shining the Light, the Canada Council for Workers with Disabilities or the AODA in the comments.


We need your involvement!


Local 1996-O wants your participation! To support the goals of our union and members we need to engage the members. We must build a strong solidarity and prepare for the future. It is a valuable time, and we need to be smart, strategic, so we can get our slice of the pie.

As a union, we need all of the members support in order to accomplish the ultimate goals. Engagement and education of the membership will be this Local’s priority moving forward.

How we structure our movement, our agenda, our goals, will be decided by you…..the membership!

That said,

I invite you to participate and join us at the following Local Membership meetings.


Tuesday Sept 15, 2015

Unifor Local 252

1343 Matheson Blvd. East

Miss, Ont



Sunday October 25, 2015

Grand Prix Kartways

75 Carl Hall Rd.

Toronto, Ontario



Tuesday Nov 24, 2015

Royal Canadian Legion

9 Dawes Rd.

Toronto, Ont


In Solidarity,

Sam Snyders
President, Local 1996-O
416 Health and Safety Co-Chair
Unifor Chairperson Workers with Disabilities
LRC Committee and JSDC Committee
Ont. Bargaining Rep
Telecommunications Industry Council Representative


Twitter    :