There are two overriding objectives to keep in mind when negotiating benefits:

  1. To ensure that the wording prevents the employer from reducing benefits (especially important in the present climate).
  2. To make the employer, rather than the insurance company, responsible for the provision of benefits. In this way, the union can grieve through the grievance/ arbitration procedure of the collective agreement if benefits are changed during the term of the agreement, or if an employee is denied benefits. If their claims are denied, members do not have to “go it alone” against big insurance companies.

Both of these objectives can be achieved by either negotiating a clause that sets out the specific benefits that will be provided or by incorporating the master policy into the collective agreement.

Too many CUPE collective agreements only include language on the share of premium to be paid by the employer. Very few contain language addressing actual benefit coverage, which means that benefit coverage cannot be grieved and the employer can make changes without advising the union.

Find out what should be included in collective agreement language governing benefits. Download the fact sheet.