Dear Unifor Members of the Nursing Bargaining Unit at Copper Terrace,

We understand that there has been a displacement application filed for representation rights for your bargaining unit. That means a vote will be scheduled soon where you will have the right to choose which union represents you: Unifor or CLAC.      

Unifor fully respects your rights to choose your union, and in fact, you chose to join our union just a few years ago. But we want to be certain you have all the information you need to make an informed decision. 

Unifor is a national union representing 315,000 members across the country in 20 sectors of the economy, including 30,000 members who work directly in health care. The diversity in our membership is one of our sources of strength, as you would have seen from the October 3 protest rally in front of your nursing home where 200 members and retirees came to protest cuts in your nursing home.

At a national level, the health care sector is provided all of the resources required to support our sector. That includes:

  • Campaigns specific to our issues like 6minutechallenge
  • Regular outreach to media and government to advocate for health care (view an example here).
  • Quarterly health care newsletter The Pulse (view past issues here).
  • Intervention with the Equal Pay Coalition in the legal proceedings fighting for pay equity for nursing home workers (read the full story here).
  • A nursing home bargaining strategy meeting prior to each round of negotiations for over 100 nursing homes across the province, currently scheduled in Toronto for February. This meeting will also formulate a fight-back plan for staff shortages and the use of Plan A temp agency. 
  • Member-driven lobbies at Queen’s Park for a four-hour standard of care in our nursing homes.

The national union also assigns a Director of Health Care and one of the Assistants to the National President responsibilities for our sector, both of whom are nurses. 

You belong to Unifor Local 2458 and are a part of over 5,000 members in over 60 bargaining units, including 20 nursing home units. You have four full-time officers appointed to deal with day-to-day issues, two of whom come from the health care sector. In your region, your local belongs to the Guardian Board, a coalition of Unifor local unions who collectively represent over 20,000 members.

Not all of you were members at the time, but your first collective agreement was ratified by your membership at 100% on November 28, 2016. At that time, ratification – the members’ democratic authorization and approval of a contract – was a process that was completely unfamiliar, as former CLAC members. The agreement was negotiated by your elected bargaining committee with assistance from the local and national union.

Some of those gains included:

  • Bargaining the Nursing Home and Related Industries Pension Plan (NHRIPP) with credit for up to 7 years of past service at no cost to you. ONLY members of Unifor, SEIU, ONA and CUPE can participate in NHRIPP and leaving Unifor to rejoin CLAC will mean you lose this defined benefit pension plan.
  • Increases to wages (with bumps above the general increase), weekend premium, and benefits.
  • Improvements to sick pay language so that members do not need to suffer hardship if there are delays in EI benefits allowing members to have up to four weeks advanced by their employer.
  • Introduced language to report and deal with workload issues.
  • Workplace harassment language that requires the employer to do a joint investigation with the union.
  • Language to address abuse and threatening behaviour in the workplace, including from a resident.
  • Protection for women who are the victims of violence outside of the workplace.

Unifor values your membership and we dedicate time and resources to fighting alongside you for the respect and funding long-term care workers deserve. Our union is a leading voice on the national and provincial political stage advocating for workers and our public health care system; we believe this to be a strong asset to you as members of Unifor.

The upcoming vote is critical to the future of your work and we hope you carefully reflect on your options and ask us any questions that you may have. I urge you to contact National Union Representative Darlene Prouse at 519-981-9058 or myself at 519-254-8630.

In solidarity,

Tullio DiPonti, President Unifor Local 2458