Workplace Bulletin – May 2016

Official title: Workplace Bulletin, Collective bargaining monthly update, May 2016

This issue provides an overview of majorFootnote 1 collective bargaining negotiations in the month of May (section A) innovative clauses in collective agreements (section B) and a literature scan (section C).

A. May overview

Key negotiation activities

In May, ongoing negotiations included the following:

  • Canada Post Inc. and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW):  The parties are negotiating the renewal of a collective agreement covering approximately 6,000 rural and suburban mail carriers, which expired on December 31, 2015.  After months of negotiations including a conciliation period, no agreement was reached.  Mediators from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service continue to assist the parties with their negotiations.  The main issues are job security, wages, pension and benefits.  If no agreement is reached, the parties will acquire the legal right to strike or lockout on July 2, 2016.
  • Telus and Telecommunications Workers Union (United Steelworkers Local 1944):  The collective agreement covering a unit of approximately 12,400 employees, including (but not limited to) technical, office and clerical employees across British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec, expired on December 31, 2015.  The parties have been negotiating and exchanging proposals since December 2015.  The main issues are work-life balance and compensation.  An agreement between the parties regarding the maintenance of activities in the event of a work stoppage was accepted by the Canadian Industrial Relations Board on February 9, 2016.

An updated monthly list of Key negotiations is available under the Resources tab on the Labour Program website.

Settlements reached

  • In May, eight major collective agreements were reached, five in the public sector (covering 46,440 employees) and three in the private sector (covering 2,170 employees).  Three agreements were reached through direct bargaining, three through mediation, one through conciliation, and one through arbitration.
  • Two agreements were settled in the federal-private sector: one between MTS Inc. and Telecommunications Employees Association of Manitoba (covering 960 employees), and one between Vittera Inc. and Grain and General Services Union (ILWU Canada) (covering 550 employees).
  • Among provincial jurisdictions, three agreements were reached in Ontario (covering 4,240 employees), two in British Columbia (covering 40,660 employees), and one in Prince Edward Island (covering 2,200 employees) (Chart 1).
  • The majority (89%) of employees who settled in May were in the education, health and social services (EHSS) industry (43,400 employees).  The second largest proportion was in the information and culture industry (3,210 employees), followed by transportation (1,340 employees) and the finance and professional services industry (660 employees).

Chart 1: Collective bargaining settlements, May 2016

Chart 1 (a) By jurisdiction: Collective bargaining settlements, May 2016

Text description
Chart 1 (a) By jurisdiction: Collective bargaining settlements, May 2016
Jurisdiction Number of Agreements
Public sector Private sector
Federal 2
Prince Edward Island 1
Ontario 3
British Columbia 1 1
Chart 1 (b) By industry: Collective bargaining settlements, May 2016

Text description
Chart 1 (b) By industry: Collective bargaining settlements, May 2016
Industry Number of Agreements
Public sector Private sector
Transportation 1 1
Information and culture 1 1
Finance and professional services 1
EHSS 3

The texts of collective agreements can be accessed through the Negotech, while the list of Ratified settlements can be accessed under the Resources tab on the Labour Program website.

Settlement outcomes

Wages

  • The average annual base-rateFootnote 2 wage adjustment (over the duration of their contracts) received by the 48,610 employees settling in May was 1.2%. This average wage increase was lower than the average wage increase from the previous round of negotiations between the same bargaining parties (1.5%) (Chart 2).
  • The average wage increase negotiated in the public sector (1.2%) was lower than in the private sector (1.7%).
  • The collective agreements concluded in the federal jurisdiction had an average wage increase of 1.9%.
  • Among provincial jurisdictions, Prince Edward Island had the highest wage adjustment (2.7%), negotiated between the Government of Prince Edward Island and Prince Edward Island Teachers' Federation. In contrast, the lowest (1.1%) was recorded in British Columbia, between the Health Employers Association of British Columbia and the British Columbia Nurses' Union.
  • By industry, transportation recorded the highest average wage gain (2.0%), while employees in EHSS received the lowest (1.2%).

Chart 2: Wage adjustments, May 2016*

Chart 2 (a) By jurisdiction: Wage adjustments, May 2016*

*The number of settled agreements per category is found in parenthesis

Text description
Chart 2 (a) By jurisdiction: Wage adjustments, May 2016*
Jurisdiction Wage adjustments (percentage)
British Columbia (2) 1.1%
All jurisdictions (8) 1.2%
Ontario (3) 1.5%
Federal (2) 1.9%
Prince Edward Island (1) 2.7%
Chart 2 (b) By industry: Wage adjustments, May 2016*

Text description
Chart 2 (b) By industry: Wage adjustments, May 2016*
Industry Wage adjustments (percentage)
Transportation (2) 2.0%
Information and culture (2) 1.4%
Finance and professional services (1) 1.3%
EHSS (3) 1.2%
All industries (8) 1.2%

More information on Wage settlements can be accessed under the Resources tab on the Labour Program website.

Duration of collective agreements

  • The average duration of agreements settled in May was 57 months. This was more than double the average duration reached in the previous round of negotiations between the same bargaining parties (27 months) (Chart 3).
  • The agreements concluded in the public sector (57 months) had a longer average duration than the agreements reached in the private sector (43 months).
  • The two contracts settled in the federal jurisdiction had a duration of 36 months.
  • The Health Employers Association of British Columbia and the British Columbia Nurses' Union negotiated the longest contract duration (60 months).
  • The shortest contract duration (24 months) was negotiated between University of Ottawa and the Association of Professors of the University of Ottawa (Academics & Librarians).

Chart 3: Duration of agreements, May 2016*

Chart 3 (a): By jurisdiction: Duration of agreements, May 2016*

*The number of settled agreements per category is found in parenthesis

Text description
Chart 3 (a): By jurisdiction: Duration of agreements, May 2016*
Jurisdiction Months
Federal (2) 36
Prince Edward Island (1) 36
Ontario (3) 41
All jurisdictions (8) 57
British Columbia (2) 60
Chart 3 (b): By industry: Duration of agreements, May 2016*

*The number of settled agreements per category is found in parenthesis

Text description
Chart 3 (b): By industry: Duration of agreements, May 2016*
Industry Months
Transportation (2) 43
Information and culture (2) 44
All industries (8) 57
EHSS (3) 58
Finance and professional services (1) 60

Major work stoppagesFootnote 3

  • No major work stoppages occurred in May, although May data for Quebec was not available at the time of publication.

More information on Work stoppages in Canada can be accessed under the Resources tab on the Labour Program website.

B. Innovative clauses in collective agreements

New clauses in collective agreements allow employers and unions to innovatively adapt to changing economic, working and social environments. The following clause was reported:

  • Council of Trustees’ Association and Elementary Teachers’ Federation Ontario:  The employer will fund a “Violence Prevention Training” module on “the prevention of violence for employees whose core duties require them to have continuous contact with students who may pose a safety risk.”

C. Literature scan

The following studies related to labour and industrial relations were recently published:

  • The International Labour Organization provides an analysis of labour markets and poverty trends over the past twenty years in more than 100 countries in a report titled World Employment Social Outlook: Transforming Jobs to End Poverty. The report finds that while the poverty rate has declined in many emerging and developing countries, the majority of developed countries had seen an increase in their poverty levels. The extent to which greater social protection and decent jobs can be expected to reduce poverty is analyzed.
  • The Ontario Institute for Work & Health’s At Work (Issue 82) publication discusses the results of a study on employer participation in the Certificate of Recognition (COR) program in British Columbia.  To receive a Certificate of Recognition under the program employers had to implement an occupational health and safety management system (OHSMS) and pass an audit of their health and safety practices.  The results show that from 2005 to 2012, companies that took part in the COR program had 12 to 17 per cent lower rates of serious time-loss injuries compared to those not participating in the program.  The largest drops in injury rates were found in forestry and construction, which are the most hazardous sectors.

Contact

For previous issues of the Workplace Bulletin or for more information, please contact the Workplace Information and Research Division or call 1-877-259-8828. Please use the above link to send us a copy of your collective agreement or memorandum of understanding or other documentation if you have a business unit that is either federally registered (with 100 or more employees) or provincially registered (with 500 or more employees).

Note: This bulletin is based on April 2015 data/information, which was collected up to May 16, 2016. Work stoppage data was collected up to May 24, 2016.

Footnotes

Footnote 1

All data reported in this bulletin relates to major collective agreements covering 500 or more employees across Canada.

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Footnote 2

The base-rate wage is the lowest paid classification used for qualified employees in the bargaining unit.

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Footnote 3

Major work stoppages involve 500 employees or more. Quebec data for month of May was not reported.

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