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2010-01-19 at 16:23

Health-care protest

By Jodi Lundmark,
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A small group of health-care workers rallied in front of the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre Tuesday morning to catch the attention of hospital administration.

With 450 members at the regional hospital, the Service Employees International Union Local 1 represents workers in various departments from dietary, nursing and housekeeping. Less than 10 made it to the rally.

"We’re very disappointed regarding the turnout and what we heard just before we got here was that the employer in one of the biggest departments – the housekeeping department – scheduled a staff meeting at the last minute at exactly the same time as our rally and we think that certainly had an effect on the turnout," said union representative Barb Rankin.

The collective agreement covering SEIU members expired in October 2009 and Rankin said they were at the table early with the Ontario Hospital Association, but they have since walked away from the bargaining table.

One of the key issues of contention is a competitive clause in the job posting language.

"It actually sets up a competitive between our members," said Rankin. "So when we have to go to an arbitration hearing to dispute a decision the employer has made, we have to actually pit those two members against each other, so we have to prove the more senior candidate that we are representing in an arbitration hearing is relatively equal to or superior to the applicant the employer has selected and it’s a terrible process. You’re sitting in a room and those people are having to put their whole lives on the table."

Rankin said they want to get rid of the competitive process and replace it with a threshold clause so the most senior applicant able to meet normal requirements of the job is the successful applicant.

About 200 union members at the health sciences centre signed postcards supporting the job posting issue and Rankin said they’d be delivered to hospital CEO Ron Saddington.

"We want to make sure the CEOs realize the members feel very strongly about these issues and in turn we expect the CEOs of the hospitals across the province to put some pressure on the Ontario Hospital Association to get back to the table," Rankin said.

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advocate says:
Must be horrible when the SUPERIOR candidate gets selected for a position over some who is not as good and has seniority...

I wonder why only 10 people showed up. Maybe because everyone else is sick and tired of getting passed up for things by someone who does not work as hard as them. Get back to your members and ask them what they want, instead of forcing old school union product on them.
1/19/2010 5:16:29 PM
SomeGuy says:
So If I am reading this correctly, these people don't want the most qualified person to get the job, just the one who has been there the longest?

This clause they don't want sounds like it could help, maybe force people to get better at there jobs instead of promoting mediocrity and throwing professional development out the window.
1/19/2010 9:07:43 PM
eddylives says:
Its not a superior issue here advocate.
It is an issue of a senior member that has earned the right to be promoted being passed over when they are just as capable.
This is the type of crap that unions protect workers from.
Unfair treatment by employers...
Employers that:
hire family without the experience
hire/promote friends/family over experience
and endless other scenario's where those that deserve the position are passed over due to the employers own agenda.
I for one have seen what happens to the quality of work or product when this type of thing goes on.
It can lead to a real mess.....
1/19/2010 10:40:31 PM
advocate says:
eddylives, we all know what tends to happen. We have seen it a million times. Seniority is rewarded over superiority. The article (and maybe the way it is written), seems like the two people are not equal. That the senior person has to prove they are better, which the better person should win out.

I have worked in a union that came within hours of going on strike. I have worked for management with a union that did go on strike. I have seen the best people loss out to less effective people with seniority. I have also saw in both cases the union NOT listen to their union members and cause a lot of grief.

Unions are important. But it is important for them to listen to their membership. But I found that the union actions representing the little people were always sacrificed for the larger union groups.

Anyways, thank god that I do not work in a unionized environment anymore. I can achieve my own success on hard work versus losing it to someone who has been there longer and does not work as hard. I also have a lot more freedom.
1/19/2010 11:36:25 PM
Steven says:
Eddie are you insane? You are really arguing that the person who has been there the longest is automatically deserving of all promotions? That whole idea is corrupt! The promotion should go to the person who is the best at the job; not the person who has been there the longest. If I was passed up for promotion for this reason I would sue! Stupid corrupt unions trying to argue that a process that is so blatently unfair is somehow the fair way of doing things.
1/20/2010 12:48:01 AM
Dave says:
What's next with this union? Perhaps they will argue the positions should go to their member who is best at knitting scarves. It's just as illogical as giving it to the person who has been filling space the longest. Down with anti-progressive corrupt lazy unions wasting our tax dollars
1/20/2010 1:05:29 AM
eddylives says:
It seems to me that some of you need to open your eyes and read.
The dispute here is between people that are equally qualified for the position.
And senior employees should not be passed over due to the ajenda of the employer that is kept private.
If both candidates are qualified then the senior one should have the right to advance if they choose to move positions.They have proved themselves allready by becoming senior members.
And on the flip side senior or not , if you are not qualified , you do not get the job.

Unions brought us 40 hr work weeks , job security , decent pay , and protection from unfair treatment by employers.......Thank you
1/20/2010 7:42:06 AM
Steven says:
I just woke up this morning after commenting last night, re-read the story, and was re-outraged!

"It actually sets up a competitive between our members,"
I'm sorry, am I missing something here? These idiots are concerned that they might actually have to be the best person for the job to get the job?

If this union sticks to their guns and gets this corrupt language in their contract, I hope all the hardworking junior employees who are better at what they do than some of the senior employees SUE THE UNION for artificially helping some members while screwing over those that actually deserve these positions.

This whole thing just makes me sick; union corruption at its best, and we as taxpayers pay for it by having a dumber, less progressive public service.
1/20/2010 9:31:55 AM
Dave says:
Eddy, you are obviously a union booster and simply ignore facts and reason.

Management has only 1 job: Getting work done as effectively as possible. They will promote whoever will get the job done best. Its that simple.

Anything else, like worrying about whether or not someone is a 'senior union member' is simply corrupt.

As for the spouting about how much unions have done for us Eddy, I agree! They fought hard to get things which are now ingrained in our working world here in Canada. But i'll bet that those original union members who fought hard for workers rights are rolling over in their graves watching the unions of today.

The article states the union wants: "a threshold clause so the most senior applicant able to meet normal requirements of the job is the successful applicant." This means you could have a 10 year employee who does the absolute bare minimum to get by, and complains constantly about everything vs. a 5 year employee who is positive, a hard worker and an innovative thinker who takes initiative. On paper, they both meet "the requirements of the job" but one is OBVIOUSLY much better than the other. Yet if the union gets its way, the 10 year lazy employee would automatically get the job.

So Eddy, before telling me I need to open my eyes, perhaps you should read to the end of the article. These people are not always equally qualified just because they can both fufill the basic requirements of the job. I applaud management for taking a stand against this archaic union practice of almost automatic promotion for longer-serving employees.

1/20/2010 10:59:38 AM
eddylives says:
Just let the employers have the final word on everything and see what type of working enviroment you end up with?
No way , I have worked for some of these employers in the past and they treat you very poorly.
We need to stay united for the sake of our own way of life or suffer the effects.
And the effects go far beyond qualifications and hiring practices.......

"Live Well , Work Union"
1/20/2010 11:15:28 AM
Steven says:
Nobody wants the employer to have the final say on everything EDDY.... You are being alarmist.
For this, the employer must have the final say. If for nothing else, then for the good employees who are passed over for promotion because someone else has been there longer. Its not fair! And I thought thats what unions were meant to be about? Being fair and equitable?

"Live Well, Work Union" ?

How about "Overcharge the taxpayer, and work as slowly as possible. Work union"
1/20/2010 11:52:06 AM
baybrewer says:
@ eddylives:

My wife has been passed up for jobs at the Regional because she does nto rank as high in senority as others. But if what she tells me is the truth, she's normally one of the most qualified people there. She does more than what is expected, rarely takes a day off and covers for people on many floors when staffing calls. So how is it fair that a hard working person will get passed by just because someone has just been there longer. That surely doesn't reward her hard work and effort adn her going beyond what is required of her position. Sooner or later she to will jsut do the bare minimum and progress will slow in her position...which impacts others and the snow ball just gets bigger.
1/20/2010 11:58:53 AM
Outsidelookingin says:
Go EddieLives!

The rest of you need to open your eyes. Dave rightfully understands that Unions fought hard to get the benefits that the lucky people enjoy these days. Do you really think that employers would just keep giving their employees pay raises, dental benefits, drug benefits, etc. NO! The response would be "sorry there is a recession, we need to cut back". Then when the recession is over the answer would be "sorry we're still recovering from the resession". The reasons for slashing benefits and pay are endless.

So you may think "get rid of the Unions, the Employment Standards Act will cover us". Good luck with that barebones piece of old legislation. And when a new political party with an agenda gets in hold on to your hat!

Unions do so much more than help "Senior members get jobs they don't deserve". They provide backing for harrasment cases of all kinds, bullying (which I suspect a couple of you might be), missed pay, vacation time... If you have a nice boss consider yourself lucky. Many are out to work you to the bone with hard labour, long hours, poor pay practices and little holidays. I'll bet there are many people out there who are forced to work overtime at there jobs with no extra pay and still have the same amount of holidays they had 20 years ago. It's simply understood that you do the work in order to keep your job. (just good business practices right? Got to watch the bottom line!)

Finally, the point at hand - promotion from within. All good employers provide employees with a job guide - what your job entails. These duties will require a certian set of skills & knowledge. If 2 people meet these qualifications, whether or not one is more qualified than the other (these are the duties the job is supposed to do), it is FAIR that the person that has put more time and effort through the years into the company should get the job. If this wasn't the case then employers would be constantly just hiring the newest young whipper-snapper off the street that can do the job. That new person will
- be paid less (since they haven't been in the company as long),
- they'll probably cost less in healthcare costs since they haven't had to punish there body over the years like the current employee, They may not have a family an kids to support either
- they won't stand up to harassment and other bad supervisor tricks that "get the most" out of an employee
- they may have more current training since they just came out of college or university. This also means that the employer doesn't need to spend money on training existing employees because they can just let the old ones goes and hire new ones that have necessary training.

The list goes one, employers come up with new and creative ways of screwing employees all the time... it's their job!

Definition of a Union: "An organization of workers formed to protect the rights and advance the interests of its members concerning wages, benefits and working conditions."

One last thing, if the Union is "Corrupt" then it is the members themselves who are to blame. Unions report to their members, period.

Anyone belong to a Credit Union?? :)

Baybrewer: Your wife is robbing herself of precious time-off with you and your family by not taking all of her time. One day she'll realize she has done nothing but work your entire life.
1/20/2010 12:53:40 PM
baybrewer says:
@ Outsidelookingin:

I wouldn't say she's robbing herself of time. By working at the hospital she's helping a lot of other families be it patients or the other workers. Thats thinking big picture to me. But the notion of my point was that it's sad that hard work goes unrewarded when things are bases on seniority only.

She is working hard now in hopes of getting us further ahead. Apparently she needs the "seniority" before she can move up, so thats what she's trying to accomplish.
1/20/2010 2:00:46 PM
Steven says:
Outside and Eddy....You guys love unions! We get it!

I don't completely hate them either.....but this example is blatant. Things need to change in the union mentality.

As for the whole "spend time with your family" thing, Outside, you are demonstrating a big problem with some unions: the idea that sick time etc. MUST be taken because it is earned and is a right.

Sick time is there in case you are SICK. Thats how it should be. Again, founding union members from times long ago are rolling over in their graves hearing you talk like that.

I applaud Baybrewer's wife for taking pride in her work, which is so uncommon among many of the union folk at the hospital. I also applaud her for not just giving up in the face of such idiocy by the union, preventing her from getting promotions even though she deserves them.

Last but not least, I would ask that in this discussion that we not KNEE JERK anymore. We mention even the slightest change in how things are done, and Outside and Eddy are asking whether we think the company should be able to just do whatever it wants, and whether we want to get rid of all unions etc.

NO! That is not what I think everyone is suggesting. We are suggesting that being passed up for jobs because of seignority, is CORRUPT! It is something that is so ingrained in union mentality, but it is unfair to the workers, and it needs to be changed.
1/20/2010 2:24:53 PM
pbfwood says:
I tried to be quiet on this one but it's another case of the unions screwing over hard working employees.

It should be the person most deserving of the job who gets it, regardless if they have been there 20 years or 2 years. I would want someone who goes above and beyond what they should, works those extra hours and proves that they deserve to get a promotion rather than the employee who just does the bare minimum. If I got passed up because someone under me earned the job over me, then it would be my fault - they would deserve it.

Unions have their good points and bad. This would be one of their very bad things if they get this put in. My husband worked for a company that was unionized and all the union did whenever he needed them is screw him over and walk away. Unions are in it for themselves - they tell the people how to vote and make them do what they want. Unions do have to understand we are going through a recession and not ask for so much when going to the table right now as well. Explain to the people that getting alot of extra money and costly things. Raises and all are fine but we aren't in a stable time where they can be take take take, like they seem to always want to do. Protect the job, protect the pay people have and their benefits but don't be greedy when times are tough and push for more.
1/20/2010 3:42:15 PM
eddylives says:
Thank you for putting it into words.....
Bravo , well said....
1/20/2010 6:50:53 PM
advocate says:
Naive union opinions. I am young and have already seen three cases where the much better candidate was passed up by an inferior person with seniority. I have seen managers in fear when a position comes up, because they know a certain bad employee with seniority may go for it.

One case told to me today is from a lady who accidentally hired someone with less seniority. Over the next few months, the more qualified candidate worked her tail off to get a new computer system into works. She got her additional overtime for her well deserved work. Then, on the last possible day, someone filed a grievance over the position based on seniority. They not only were forced to let the one person go and replace her with the person with seniority, but the new person received ALL of the overtime that the original person produced. When the person with seniority was asked how she could take that money she did not earn, she argued that she would have earned it in that position (which was doubtful to the manager).

Seniority does not always = less efficient, but it does not always = more efficient. And the article is clear that these are not cases where the two candidates are equal.
1/20/2010 7:34:41 PM
crockett says:
Naive union bashing whiners. I am a journeyman electrician and belonged the Electricians union all my working career. I have found that anyone that whines and complains about how unfair unions are have done something wrong and the union wasnt able to protect him, so he or she developes a hate toward the union. Then there are the non-union workers hate, my opinion is they are probably jealous they have to pay for the benefits union workers have. Guess what you whiners those projects you want that our Boonedoggle of a Mayor Council have approved are being built by Union Workers
1/20/2010 11:07:12 PM
panzerIV says:
crockett that booneddoggle sound like she keeping you employed so why are you complaining?
1/21/2010 12:34:58 AM
outsidelookingin says:
Steven, I agree that sick time is for medical use. But vacation time must be used, I consider it a health & safety issue. I have seen people not take there vacation time and just work, work, work they think they are doing the employer a favour. What your employer should be promoting is a healthy happy "you". People need a break from the daily stesses of work even if they love their job. I went years working part time jobs with no vacation time. Once I finally got a full time job and took that long overdue vacation to just sit at home with my family I could feel the stesses melt away, it took 3 or 4 days in a row for that to happen :) Bravo to you wife for being someone who others can turn to for a fill in shift, etc... just saying to her "don't forget yourself!" :)
1/21/2010 7:14:19 AM
Toodleoo Caribou says:
Quote: 'Rankin said they want to get rid of the competitive process and replace it with a threshold clause so the most senior applicant able to meet normal requirements of the job is the successful applicant.'

Ladies, Gents and Children: that in a single sentence tells you everything you ever need to know about a Union.
1/21/2010 9:23:05 AM
Steven says:
We're on the same page for that , outside. Vacation time should be taken. :-)

Crockett, your assumptions make me laugh. You don't seem to understand that not everyone likes unions, and its not just because we've been screwed by them, or that we are jealous. There really are some bad points to unions, and thats not just rhetoric. Even you, a union member, should be able to open your eyes and see them.

As for the Mayor and her projects being built by union members, frankly I don't care who builds them. I just want these things done now that we are being told they are happening regardless; I just hope we end up with some cooperative unions. If not, watch as costs go through the roof, and the projects don't get done on time.
1/21/2010 9:45:38 AM
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