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Bell Craft Bargaining

Red Unifor logo, with blue text beneath that reads Bell, it's time!

In this round of negotiations, 3520 Unifor members are united by their 24 local unions in Ontario and 8 in Quebec.

Bell Craft workers are working together to improve job security and respect at work. Bargaining updates are available from Locals, and will be posted here following internal distribution.

Campaign Update

Information Bulletin #9

2/18/2021 -

Sisters and Brothers,

This week we expected from the Employer a change of course in their positioning in regards to our main issues. However, the Employer clearly never intended to address our job security concerns and even tried to get concessions.  Faced with this impasse we have submitted a request for conciliation to the Employer.

Information meetings will be scheduled with your Delegates in order to review the situation and give them the necessary tools to be able to answer your questions.

At this point, solidarity and your continued support in this phase is paramount.

Your Committee will keep you informed of future developments.

In Solidarity,

Your Bargaining Committee

Information Bulletin #8

2/12/2021 -

Sisters and Brothers,

Negotiations continued this week with the Company and as previously communicated, we will continue to bargain until we reach an impasse.

This week we clearly stated to the Employer, that if the Company does not move their position significantly in regards to our priorities, we will be obliged to file a notice of dispute which will initiate a conciliation procedure provided for by the Canadian Labour Code.

Stay tuned for upcoming communications and let’s show solidarity.

In Solidarity,

Your Bargaining Committee

Information Bulletin #7

2/5/2021 -

Sisters and Brothers,

Your Bargaining Committee remains engaged in negotiations with the Company via Zoom and will remain at the bargaining table until we reach a tentative agreement or find ourselves at an impasse. If either of those events occur, your Local Bargaining Delegates will be advised and a communication sent out informing the bargaining unit of the positional change.

The Committee is given strength by your continued patience and support.

In Solidarity,

Your Bargaining Committee

Information Bulletin #6

1/22/2021 -

Sisters and Brothers,

Negotiations with the company have continued via Zoom for the past two weeks. Despite the challenges related to COVID, discussions are advancing at an adequate pace. We are working hard to reach a negotiated agreement. Thank you for your support, it is of the utmost importance. Your committee will keep you informed of future developments.

In Solidarity,

Your Bargaining Committee

Information Bulletin #5

1/8/2021 -

Sisters and Brothers,

Negotiations with the Company continued this week via Zoom. The Union and the Company have finished exchanging proposals and completed negotiations of the non-monetary demands. Due to the provincial lockdown we will continue to meet via Zoom next week and begin monetary discussions. The Committee will keep you updated as the process unfolds.

In Solidarity,

Your Bargaining Committee

Information Bulletin #4

12/10/2020 -

Sisters and Brothers,

Negotiations with the Company continued this week in Ottawa via Zoom. The Union and the Company have exchanged proposals and have started to work through the non-monetary demands.  We have engaged the Mobilization Committee, to distribute an educational document regarding the process of Federal Bargaining.  We will continue to keep you updated as the process unfolds.

In Solidarity,

Your Bargaining Committee

Information Bulletin #3

11/30/2020 -

Sisters and Brothers,

As previously communicated, due to current government restrictions in the Toronto area, we have been forced to find an alternative location to begin negotiations with the Company. For the next three weeks your Bargaining Committee will be together at the National office in Ottawa and will begin negotiations with the Company via Zoom.

The parties have agreed to exchange proposals on Tuesday December 1st and begin formal negotiations on Wednesday December 2nd. We will continue to meet via Zoom until December 18th, at which point we will break for a period of two weeks.

After the Christmas break, we will resume bargaining (in person), at the Holiday Inn Waterfront in Peterborough, ON.

We appreciate your support and understanding as we continue to work through these difficult and unprecedented times. We will be sure to provide you with updates when necessary.

In Solidarity,

Your Bell Craft and Services Bargaining Committee

Information Bulletin #2

11/24/2020 -

Sisters and Brothers,

This letter is to inform you that due to current government restrictions in the Toronto area, we have been forced to find an alternative location to begin negotiations with the Company.

Negotiations, which were scheduled to begin in Toronto this week, have been temporarily postponed. We are currently working through the logistics regarding a new location and COVID-19 protocols, with a tentative date to begin on Tuesday December 1, 2020.

Your Bargaining Committee is looking forward to starting negotiations and will be sure to provide you with updates when necessary.

We appreciate your support and understanding as we continue to work through these difficult and unprecedented times.

In Solidarity,

Your Bell Craft and Services Bargaining Committee

Bell Craft and Services – Bargaining Bulletin # 1

10/30/2020 -

Sisters and Brothers,

Caucus

As new restrictions are being put in place on a daily/weekly basis, and to enable the Committee to move forward with Bargaining this fall, the following structure has been discussed and approved by the delegates, to be utilized in lieu of Caucus;

A series of meetings will be scheduled for the Bell Craft and Service delegates in lieu of Caucus. The proceedings of these Regional meetings will be based upon the Recommendation Document. The National Representatives and the Bargaining Committee in collaboration with the Unifor officers have met in Ottawa this week and have prepared the Recommendation Document.

A compilation of the demands received from the membership through the local unions, will be compiled for reference of the Bargaining Committee. Regional meetings will provide each Delegate with an opportunity to review all Local demands, the recommendation document, as well as, the ability to vote on and discuss the top 10 demands. The Delegates, using a point system, will determine the final package.

The Regional meetings will be held next week in Hunstville, London, Mississauga, Kingston and Sherbrooke and will be conducted over the course of 4 days, beginning Monday November 2nd.   

Negotiations

Bargaining Dates and Location have been established as follows;

Location: Sheraton Centre - Toronto, ON

Dates: The parties will exchange proposals on November 24, 2020

Bargaining will then commence on November 25th and will continue each week Monday through Friday until the Christmas Break. We will then resume on January 4,2021.

Your committee is looking forward to starting negotiations and will continue to provide you with updates when necessary.

In Solidarity,

Your Bell Craft and Services Bargaining Committee

Information Bulletin #1

7/14/2020 -

Brothers and Sisters,

We are all going through an unprecedented period and we sincerely hope that you and your families are well. For several months now, since the start of the confinement period, your Negotiating Committee has been holding weekly calls with representatives of the Company. The purpose of these calls is to identify and try to resolve as many of the issues you’re experiencing as possible, in relation to Covid-19. Obviously on a few occasions, the parties have dealt with items which are typically general labour relations issues, however, nothing exhaustive since we have continued with our meetings of the joint labour relations committee, as per the collective agreement (4 per year).

It is important for us to update you on certain files, which are more problematic for us and which we deem necessary to share with you.

ORS PRODUCTS


It was in April 2020 that Bell Canada made the decision to stop selling PBX and electronic key system products to its customers. The existing contracts will be honoured and we will continue to do the work, however, this will not be extended. The Company's objective is to migrate its customers to Bell Total Connect products. Technician training has started and Bell has informed us that they will provide technician training as customer migration evolves on BTC products.

One of the problems we face, is that Bell is advising customers who want to continue with their ORS products, to refer to an external firm that will support this technology. We see this as a form of subcontracting, in the context where Bell tells its customers who to contact for support. The position of the Company is to the effect that it has decided to no longer sell the said product, and therefore this does not correspond to subcontracting. Please be aware that we are evaluating our options regarding this decision.

We also questioned the Company regarding the negative impact this decision may have on our jobs. Bell replied that it intends to migrate customers to the new BTC products and that the volume of work would always be present for our members, who are responsible for supporting these products. Any member in need, will receive the necessary training to support BTC products. We questioned the company as to whether they were considering a decrease or an increase in the volume of work related to this decision. Bell's answer is that the forecast for the BTC product is growing. Rest assured that we will be following this matter closely and that if any of you have information to share with us, please do not hesitate to speak to your respective delegates.

ADDITIONAL INTERNET CHARGES


As you can see, the various internet service providers in the country have made the decision to terminate the additional internet charges for all customers across the country. In general, this particular attention during the Covid period ended on June 30th. Once Bell made the announcement, we asked the Company if this would also apply to our members who currently work from home. Bell’s response was “yes” and that from now on, employees would have to assume the difference in cost. Obviously, the cost will vary from member to member, depending on their plan. Of course, most of you have unlimited plans, with enough bandwidth to support applications for your work. However, some of you may have had to modify your plans accordingly, or rather have seen your bandwidth data far beyond your normal usage. We believe that the onus is on the employer to pay these fees. We have provisions in our collective agreement which clearly indicate that the costs related to telework are reimbursed by the Company. Thus far, Bell refuses to honor these provisions, arguing that the few dollars of difference that some of you may have are minimal, compared to the transportation costs saved for those who are teleworking.

During our last meeting, we notified the Company of our position, which is that a Bell employee should not have to contribute out of their own pocket. We intend to file the necessary grievances, with the objective of changing our employer's decision. Any member affected by this change should get in touch with their respective shop steward.

NEW PRODUCT: AUTO INSTALLATION FOR RESIDENTIAL CUSTOMERS


As of July 14, 2020, Bell will offer its residential customers whose homes are connected to the Fiber Optic network the option of self-installation for Internet services. Our fear is quite simple, the negative impact it will have on the workload. It is difficult for us at the moment to quantify the impact that this will have on our members, however, Bell has estimated that out of the 18,000 or so connections expected by the end of December, that 4% of them would be done in auto installation mode. Of course, the technician will be responsible for configuring the receivers and the modem, but the installation will be carried out by the customer. As you can see, the real impact on our jobs can really only be a negative one. Once again, we will closely monitor the development of this file and its potential impact on our jobs.

RUMOURS SURROUNDING NEGOTIATIONS


It has been brought to our attention, some of your directors have raised the possibility that there may be an agreement with Unifor, to extend our collective agreement for a period of one year. It is important that you know this has not been tabled and/or discussed with us and that this information is an unfounded rumor.

Our collective agreement will expire on November 30th. Obviously Covid-19 and the containment period which followed, has affected our preparations for negotiations, however, we will be working diligently in the fall to catch up and in accordance with all health and safety guidelines and restrictions. Our timeline may be changed, but the information circulating on a one-year extension agreement rumor is unfounded.

JULY JLRC CANCELLATION


As indicated above, we have an agreement in place that the members of the Negotiating Committee (Company and Union) are to meet at least 4 times a year to raise various issues that arise in our workplaces, which cannot be resolved by way of grievance. These meetings allow us to resolve issues as quickly as possible rather than waiting for the upcoming negotiations.

Bell Canada refused to grant the necessary travel and accommodation permissions for your bargaining agents, mainly alleging the following:

• Travel ban except in critical business situations;

• Prohibition to allow more than 3 people to meet in the same conference room.

The Negotiation Committee is 8 people for Unifor. The provincial authorities of Quebec and Ontario authorize a larger number for meetings. In Quebec, we can be up to a maximum of 50 people. In Ontario it's a maximum of 10 people outside of the Greater Toronto Area. The sanitary rules of our provincial authorities allow us to hold these meetings while respecting preventive measures. Bell Canada's position prevents us from defending your rights. Alternatively, videoconferencing tools combined with simultaneous translation services have been tried without much success. They are certainly practical for current meetings, but the nature of our meetings means that discussions require fluidity and an ability to consult, which these tools do not offer. Throughout this difficult period, the employees and representatives of the union greatly collaborated in maintaining the activities of this company. But when opportunities / suggestions to resolve our problems arise, Bell Canada outright rejects access to these important tools for our daily challenges. In other words, when it is good or makes sense for the Company, everything possible is done, however, when it is time to work for its employees, it is no longer possible. We are disappointed with the Company’s position. For unionized workers in our certification unit, JLRC meetings are critical to the business. We will challenge this decision by way of grievance and we will continue to ensure that Bell Canada takes the Health and safety of our members seriously, while making the appropriate and/or necessary changes to our everyday working conditions. Since the beginning of this period, you have all demonstrated strength and shown exactly how resilient you can be and it’s time Bell provides you with the recognition you deserve.

Dear Sisters and Brothers, we work for you. Your support is directly linked to our ability to influence Bell Canada's decisions. Thank you for your unwavering and continued support.

In Solidarity,

Your Bargaining Committee