CUPE Local 4848

estoppel letter

Sisters and brothers of local 4848.

There has been a lot of questions around the estoppel and how it affected us as a union. In April, 1252 requested a meeting with the board, as they were hearing rumors of some kind of job action that was going to be taken by 4848. In that meeting it was advised to us that we should send a estoppel letter to ANB, advising them that all past practices and unsigned agreements will no longer be followed. At that time Kim asked the representatives of 1252 if she could send it, or did it have to come from them. We were told Kim, as our rep could send it, keeping in mind that ANB did not have to honour it at this time because both parties were in negotiations and therefore a stat freeze of the contract was in effect, meaning either side could not change anything. Once the new contract was signed the estoppel letter would then take affect. An example of the estoppel letter is this… in the past we never took our 15 min breaks as we are entitled to in the contract. By doing this it was looked upon by the company as job action and became a labor board issue. By serving the estoppel letter, this gives us the right to get back to the contract and stop all unsigned deals good or bad. We then sit down with ANB and have all these agreements in a document signed by both parties for you, the membership to see. I’m told there is upward of 100 agreements. This does not stop any signed agreements, example being our MOAs. Only unsigned agreements and past practices that wasn’t being followed in the contract.

The board was asked by 1252 to withdraw the estoppel letter Wednesday June 7. We were told that our MOA could not be signed with it in play. There are three agreements in our MOA: lay off and recall (which is also in the contract), modified hours of work (which means working a 12 hour day), and our meal agreement (the 10:50 if your meal period is missed). At that time, we would not withdraw the estoppel letter We had heard nothing on the sliding scale negotiations.

A meeting was arranged for Friday morning June 9 with the board and 1252 negotiating team. At that meeting we were told that there was no movement on the sliding scale. The government would not negotiate. When we asked about the estoppel letter we were told that it will not affect the signing of the MOA or negotiations in any way.

Later that day we were asked again to withdraw the estoppel letter. There was a lot of debate of the pros and cons, my opinion being it was a good bargaining chip. A vote was called and the letter was withdrawn. Reflecting back later, I realized a vote should never have been called at that time. There were two members absent. We had quorum, but a vote like that should have the entire executive.  We needed to regroup, let the dust settle and carefully think this through. After receiving the news on the sliding scale and the miss information of how the estoppel letter works, frustrations and emotions were running high. As your President, I take full responsibility for this. The board and myself learned some valuable lessons over the course of these events. We can now use to help us move forward as a union.

The executive met last Friday with our CUPE lawyer. As it was our intention to resubmit the estoppel letter. The board had regrouped and felt it was in our best interest to have a new one sent in. We were informed at that time that the board could not send in an estoppel letter. That the first one we sent in was not legal. The letter had to come from 1252, not 4848. So again, we were misinformed. The estoppel letter to go forward now, must be sent by 1252. We will be having this conversation with them. At the end of the day it will be this local, and only this local that will try and forge through the bureaucracy that we are so much a part of.

I have been asked by some members for a special meeting to deal with the estoppel letter. It’s everybody’s right to be heard, as your President I will never deny this. It is structured in our bylaws how to call for a special   meeting, and if one is called, it will happen. I hope my explanation on the estoppel letter was clear.

I have asked the board for a motion in regard to the CUPE National Convention this year. I felt it was in the local’s best interest to not attend so we can try and get our finances back in order. It is also our 10th anniversary this year for our AGC and extra cost maybe involved.

Where do we go from here? We are not done sisters and brothers! I had told you we would not stop until the sliding scale was stricken from ANB’s language plan.  At the labor boards directive, where we could take it no farther, government still will not deal with this issue. On that point alone I will be voting “NO” for the upcoming contract. Everybody please look at this contract hard. Lets send a message to government that “Enough is Enough”. We all must vote!

Talk to ya soon.

Gregory McConaghy

CUPE local 4848
Section locale 4848 du SCFP
(506) 575-4245
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