Part time recreation workers are the face of the City of Toronto. They enrich the city. They keep people active, healthy and happy. They are the smiling faces and trusted hands that guide, teach, and guard thousands of participants and patrons, young and old each day. The Kaplan arbitration award harmonizing wages and classifications is an insult to these dedicated employees. In grossly undervalues their worth and their contributions to this city. It has already resulted in cancelled programming as employees are forced to look elsewhere for jobs to pay for living expenses. The award assumes that part-time recreation employees are transient workers, who rarely ever work for a year. As a result of this assumption, it cut wages, made experience and qualifications meaningless, and essentially ensures what it assumed. Staff will not be able to continue working for the City and the citizens of Toronto will lose these valuable employees and the priceless contributions they make to their communities.
Show part time recreation workers you care as much as they do
Dear CUPE Local 79 and City of Toronto bargaining committee,
Part-time recreation workers represent 43 per cent of CUPE Local 79’s 23,000 members, and yet these 10,000 employees, who are the face of the City, who are the face of CUPE 79 in its “Taking care of our city” public engagement campaigns are ignored by both their union and their employer.
The Kaplan arbitration award was released quietly on December 21, 2011. A memorandum for distribution to the part-time staff affected by the award was not prepared by City management until January 31, 2012. This provided staff with less than two weeks to prepare for implantation of the award on February 13, 2012. This single-paged memorandum explained nothing about how the award was determined. It made no mention of the 10 to 50 per cent wage cuts that many staff would be receiving. The City Manager’s office did not even deem the award worth mentioning in strategic communications. It is like these thousands of workers do not exist in the eyes of management.
The Union did no better. First, it failed to ensure that the nature of recreation employees was communicated to the arbitrator. As a result, we were portrayed as transient (meaning few ever work for a year in total), which allowed the arbitrator to eliminate progressive wage grades making experience and qualifications worthless. Most importantly, the Union failed to ensure that there was a provision for errors and omissions as they did for full-time staff leaving staff with no recourse for the numerous errors and omissions made by arbitrator Kaplan. There was no forewarning and no communication about the details of the award to members. Concerned staff have been directed to call the Job Evaluation office only to be told there was nothing that could be done and that their concerns would be monitored. Receiving no information, staff hang up even more demoralized than when they dialed.
We the undersigned are asking the CUPE Local 79 executive committee and the City of Toronto management to acknowledge our importance and our worth as dedicated employees that enrich this city and represent the City.
As contract negotiations continue, we, the undersigned, ask the CUPE Local 79 and City of Toronto bargaining committee to address the errors and inconsistencies of the Kaplan arbitration award and that you work on behalf of part time recreation employees to ensure that:
Ratings reflect job function:
• Factor levels were determined based on job profiles that were inaccurate.
• Too many classifications were harmonized resulting in job profiles and ratings that reflected the lowest common denominator in harmonized profiles rather than the core functions of each.
Pay scales reflect job function:
• The pay scales set by arbitrator Kaplan were set arbitrarily failing to reflect market wages and wages across divisions.
• Numerous part time recreation classifications involve job functions identical to those of classifications in other divisions, but recreation employees receive wages that are 50 per cent lower in some cases than those of their counterparts in other divisions.