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Children's Aid Society / La Société d'aide à l'enfance Nipissing Parry Sound

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Frequently Asked Questions - January 23, 2017

Jan 23, 2017

  • What is Caseload vs. Workload?
  • Will implementing a Caseload Cap reduce the amount of workload for an employee?
  • How does an employee address their workload concerns?
  • Why were workers “locked out” on December 23, 2016?
  • Why did the Employer have no other option but to lock out employees on December 23, 2016?

Definitions:

Caseload: The number of qualifying cases (children or families) assigned to an individual worker in a given time period. Please see our Caseload Volumes that outlines the caseloads for workers at the Nipissing Parry Sound CAS.

Workload: The amount of work required to successfully manage and resolve assigned cases. Workload reflects the average time it takes a worker to (1) do the work required for each assigned case and (2) complete other non-casework responsibilities. Please see our Service Data Trends that outlines the workload for workers at the Nipissing Parry Sound CAS.

 

Will implementing a Caseload Cap reduce the amount of workload for an employee?

No. Caseload does not necessarily reflect workload. For example, a difficult and complex case may require a worker to focus only on that one case. Another worker may have five lower risk cases and be able to take on more. If and when workload issues arise, a long-established process is in place to flag and address any concern that may not have been addressed by a worker’s supervisor, regardless of the worker’s position in the organization. This process is intended to ensure that high quality service is always provided to all children and families.

 

How does an employee address their workload concerns?

CAS procedures call for employees to advise their supervisor of any concerns with their workload. Based on past experience, this process succeeds in most cases. As an additional resource to our employees, a process is in place to escalate issues to senior management if a supervisor is unable to resolve workload concerns. In 2012, employees and management jointly created a Workload Review Process that allows employees to identify any concerns with the volume of their workload. In the past four years, this process has been activated in three cases, all of which were successfully resolved at step 1. The CAS has proposed that this process be attached to the new Collective Agreement as a Letter of Understanding. Additionally, we have committed in writing to joint monthly meetings to review service volumes and trends in order to proactively resolve any potential workload concerns. Please see our Service Trends Data Sheet, which outlines volumes for a number of our services.

 

Why were workers “locked out” on December 23, 2016?

The CAS made the difficult decision to lock out workers based on strong evidence that, had this action not been taken, we would face a serious risk of disruption to the services we provide to children and families. In the days leading up to the lockout, it became necessary to implement a contingency plan that involved the lockout of workers on December 23, 2016. The series of events that led up to this decision is outlined below.

Important dates:

April 12 & 13, 2016 Negotiations between Employer and the Union CUPE 2049.

June 23 & 24, 2016 Negotiations between Employer and the Union CUPE 2049.

July 26, 2016 Employer applies for Conciliation. It is very common practice to request the assistance of a 3rd party when challenging issues are being negotiated and the parties have reached an impasse.

November 25, 2016 Prior to the November 30, 2016 scheduled Conciliation, we met with the Union and assured them that should talks break down and should we choose to request a "No Board Report", we would not do so any earlier that December 15th, guaranteeing that there would be no lock out/strike until January 2, 2017.

November 30, 2016 Conciliation. The role of the Conciliator is to facilitate discussions between the parties. Unfortunately, talks broke down.
** Under the provisions of the Ontario Labour Relations Act, if Conciliation fails, either party may request a "No Board Report" from the Conciliator which essentially means that the parties will be in a legal strike/lock out position 17 days after the "No Board Report" is issued.

December 6, 2016 Conciliator issues the "No Board Report" as requested by the Union. The Union's decision to request the "No Board Report" at this time results in a December 23rd strike/lock out date.

December 23, 2016 Strike / lock out date.

 

Why did the Employer have no other option but to lock out employees on December 23, 2016?

The Employer had every reason to expect that the Union would strike either on or anytime after the December 23rd deadline based on the following:

  • In March 2016, over a month before negotiations began, the Union requested the Employer garnishee wages from employees for the purposes of a "Strike Defense Fund"
  • The Union had established a strong "mandate vote" (no concessions) prior to the commencement of negotiations in April 2016
  • An all weekend training focused on "how to make picket signs and how to behave in a picket line" was posted in CAS buildings and this training was held the weekend of June 23rd (negotiations took place June 22,23)
  • Employees began a "work to rule" following the issuance of the "No Board Report" and were stating that they were going on strike on December 23rd
  • December 13, 2016 employees rejected the Employer's Final Offer by an overwhelming 96%
  • With the threat of a strike 2 days before Christmas, the Employer had no choice but to implement its Contingency Plan in order to ensure that there was no disruption to service and to ensure that the Society's mandate to protect children was not compromised.