WRHA admits it will have authority to reassign workers

MGEU - a strong voice for health care support workers

Jan 29, 2019

Last week, MGEU raised the alarm about the government’s real objectives in forcing a merger of the home care and facility-based health care aide workforces. Employers want the ability to assert management rights to reassign workers between facilities and between home care and facilities.

Today, the WRHA commented on the MGEU’s concerns, but failed to provide any meaningful reassurance to health care workers that this is not their true goal.

The WRHA said they do not intend to reassign workers against their will, but they also acknowledged that employers will have the authority to reassign qualified workers if they want to.

The WRHA also said the rules governing how workers would be reassigned will be up for negotiation after the health care representation votes.

“In effect, the WRHA is conceding they have the authority to do this, but that health care workers should just trust them,” said MGEU Director of Negotiations Sheila Gordon. “This is exactly what MGEU said last week – that the new merged and expanded bargaining unit will make it possible for employers to reassign health care workers between facilities and home care, and that health care unions will need to bargain hard for provisions that would guarantee workers a choice about where they work.

No current collective agreement in health care provides a guarantee against this kind of mobility, and the new merged and expanded bargaining unit will make this a much greater risk. Any union that says they can guarantee such provisions is not being straight with members.

“MGEU will bargain hard for protections that would give workers a choice about where they work in the future, but the first step to winning such protections is to recognize the threat and to be straight with members about the risk,” said Gordon.

The MGEU backed up its concerns by releasing to the media slides from a presentation made by the Provincial Health Labour Relations Secretariat. This presentation was intended to provide the employers’ rationale for wanting to merge the home care and facility-based health care aide bargaining unit. The new merged bargaining unit was presented as a solution to:

“escalating need for staff to transition between community and facility”

“issues of bargaining unit work when home care provides services within the facilities”

“vacancy rates within the home care program”

In their presentation, employer representatives did not hide their true objectives in merging these bargaining units. They told all unions it was about eliminating barriers to mobility between home care and facilities.

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