Employer Offers Misleading Information to GOLICO Members
Nov 10, 2014
The MGEU posted a bargaining update to GOLICO members about the status of collective bargaining with the employer on October 27th. Very strong language was used, but it was factual and it encouraged all members to come out to the ratification vote meetings to find out exactly what the employer was offering and why the offer needed to be refused.
So far the GOLICO Bargaining Committee, including their lead negotiator and pension and benefits specialist, have held five ratification meetings across Winnipeg and meetings continue in all rural areas across the province. At each meeting the committee walked members through the final offer step-by-step and explained in detail what they actually stand to lose.
GOLICO members have been overwhelmingly strong in their rejection of the employer’s final offer. They have not been distracted by the employer’s inter-office memo circulated October 31st, passing off partial information in an attempt to sway the vote in their favour. By all indications, when the final votes are counted on November 17th, the GOLICO Bargaining Committee will be advising the employer that their final offer has been REJECTED.
The MGEU’s goal is to get back to the bargaining table to get improvements we can recommend and the members can accept.
The MGEU will be taking the appropriate actions at the Labour Board for the distribution of that memorandum. While the memo claims not to take any position on how members vote on the issue, the employer did think it was acceptable to offer information that would appear generous if you did not know what the current agreement already provided. There is nothing generous in a 1% wage increase after two years of 0% increases.
What this newly merged organization has done is save themselves over $35 million by amalgamating, and they will continue to save year after year as a result. They will also see approximately $26.5 million in savings of pension liability. Given all those savings and the fact that profits are rising, you’d think the employer would want to bargain fairly. However, that has not been the case.
Bargaining should be simple. The priorities from the members for this round of bargaining were exactly that. Negotiate a reasonable wage increase, get some improvements to the benefits and don’t let the employer chip away at an agreement that has taken decades to build. The biggest membership demand was NO CONCESSIONS.
The GOLICO collective agreement has many things that are not in the agreements of the other unions that represent employees at Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries. The GOLICO agreement has stronger language around several issues including hours of work, but primarily on things such as sick days, vacation, the retirement allowance, and retiree health spending account. This is not a slam against these other unions. It is merely a reminder that the employer will always choose to engage union members in a race to the bottom and there is no need for that. It should not be a race to get what the others don’t have – it has to be about helping and rallying with other unions to achieve what GOLICO has.
What the employer wants is to implement a benefit package at the cost of all good things in the agreement – things the GOLICO Bargaining Committee believe the members hold near and dear. The employer wants to take away sick days and replace them with something that is more difficult to accrue and use, and is valued at 66% less than what the members currently have. They want to dismantle the current benefit plan with one that will save them even more and make members think that it is a better deal if they’re not prepared to take the time to read the fine print.
And speaking of fine print, the employer can’t offer any on the proposed new benefit plan, because it doesn’t exist. They want to remove current articles and memorandums in the agreement but have given nothing in writing to replace this. They want the membership to trust them and take them at their word that sometime in 2016 they will provide benefit plan text and everyone will be fine with it.
GOLICO members already have benefits that they have paid for. If there is no language in the final offer about benefits, then there is no protection for the members - plain and simple. Benefits should be bargained for benefits, not benefits for concessions.
GOLICO members with questions or concerns should contact their GOLICO Bargaining Committee through the MGEU Resource Centre at 1-866-982-6438.