Toronto— “Stress, uncertainty and insecurity in the workplace are, unfortunately, the detrimental impacts on workers as a result of forced municipal and school board amalgamations. Like thousands of other public sector workers, Hamilton library worker Usha Rangachari, a member of CUPE Local 932, is now caught in the turmoil that has ensued under the Tory government forced amalgamations,” says Sid Ryan, the Ontario president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).
Ryan is commenting on recent media stories that have incorrectly implied that Rangachari will lose her job because of a management reshuffling of bargaining unit jobs. In fact, Ms. Rangachari is not losing her job. But because she and another worker have exactly the same level of seniority, there has to be a fair and equitable way of determining who is senior.
Under the collective agreement, ratified by both management and the union more than ten years ago, the fair method used to break the seniority tie is a coin toss.
“There are many ways that ties in seniority are decided, from random numbers given to workers at the time of employment, to tossing a coin. These are all fair and impartial ways of reaching a conclusion in what is for most workers a stressful situation.
“The real story is that amalgamation restructuring under Bill 136 will force perhaps as many as half of the 300 workers at the library in Hamilton to move to other positions. Ultimately it is the strength of the union’s committee and the good job security language in this collective agreement that also applies to Ms. Rangachari. It is this protection that has saved many jobs. But still, at the end of the process there may well be workers with low seniority who will be laid off,” says Ryan.
CUPE Local 932 has 300 members - full and part-time who work as librarians, library technicians, library clerks, and maintenance, systems, public relations, and business office staff.
For more information please contact:
Sid Ryan, President CUPE Ontario