On December 13, 2018, the Union met with the employer to consult on the 2018 shift bid. At this meeting, the Corporation proposed the movement of a considerable number of assignments from sections such as S/L Manual, VES, PLU and the Annex to the Parcels/Packets section. The Corporation based its reasoning for doing so on the requirement to refocus or reallocate resources due to the increase in parcel business and decrease in letter mail.
As a result of the Corporation’s proposal, one of the notable changes to the 2018 shift bid is around how to properly incorporate the duty to accommodate.
Law regarding the duty to accommodate is constantly changing with new case law coming out monthly (sometimes more often). The parties must ensure that they are up to date on current case law and incorporate it into the duty to accommodate process while adhering to article 54 of the Collective Agreement. In other words, there is a balance that must be struck with regards to the current case law, Human Rights legislation and Article 54, and this balance must be maintained throughout the process.
In the bulletin dated November 28, 2017, the Union indicated that there was some discussion with the employer around Article 54 and the duty to accommodate and that there appeared to be some willingness by the corporation to follow the language of 54.01 which states:
Article 54.01 Duty to Accommodate
The parties recognize that the Corporation, its employees, the Union and the employee who is permanently-disabled or temporarily disabled must work together to attain the objectives set out in the Canadian Human Rights Act.
(a) Where an employee has become permanently or temporarily disabled, and the need for accommodation is supported by a medical certificate issued by a qualified medical doctor, he or she may submit a written request for accommodation to the Corporation.
(f) The parties may agree to designate and reserve certain assignments for employees requiring accommodation.
Through our discussions on December 13, 2018, the parties were able to agree to a shift bid process which would be in line with article 54 and the duty to accommodate.
The agreement acknowledged that in accordance with article 54, the parties recognize that the Corporation, its employees, the Union, and disabled employees must work together to attain the objectives set out in the Canadian Human Rights Act, and that the Corporation has the primary responsibility for the accommodation employees and has the duty to involve the Union. For the 2018 annual shift bid, the parties agreed to designate and reserve assignments at the PPC in accordance with article 54.01 (f). Following the shift bid, the parties shall enter into meaningful consultations concerning the appropriate accommodation measures for employees who are disabled and were unable to obtain assignments based on seniority that they are capable of performing. Additionally, the Corporation will engage in meaningful assessments of reasonable alternatives to accommodate employees who are disabled and the parties shall continue to engage in meaningful consultations in consideration of alternative accommodation arrangements that may be made on an individualized basis.
Put another way, the parties agreed that certain assignments in certain sections would be “designated and reserved” for the purpose of accommodation. For example, if there were ten (10) assignments in a section and two (2) of them had been “designated and reserved” for the purpose of accommodation, the two people in the section with the least seniority may not be able to secure an assignment in that section. Those who are unable to secure an assignment will be backfilled into an assignment in another section, and will be required to secure an assignment through a monthly bid. Those who require accommodations may be able to self-accommodate, may be accommodated into one of the assignments that has been designated and reserved, or may be accommodated through the article 54 consultation process.
The Union requested that the bid sheets clearly indicate that certain assignments were designated and reserved for the purposes of accommodation. We also requested that the employer go to the work floor and conduct a floor meeting, with a representative from the Union, in order to provide consistent messaging to all the affected sections.
If you require further clarification, please contact your shop steward.