CUPE Local 2875 v. Queensway Carlton Hospital (Attendance Management) Award Dated September 2, 2016
This was a policy grievance relating to the Hospital's "Attendance Support Program" (ASP). The Union had a number of concerns related to the number of employees on the program, the length of time they were spending on the program and the inconsistencies between the program and Article 3.02 of the Collective Agreement (Attendance Management).
The Board of Arbitration, chaired by William Kaplan, made a number of orders that addressed the Union's concerns.
First, with respect to the number of employees on the ASP and the length of time spent on the program, the Board amended the ASP to include an "annual reconciliation" method for exiting the program. The method allowed employees whose absences fall short of an annual attendance threshold to exit from or move to a lower stage of the program.
Second, with respect to the discrepancies between the ASP and Article 3.02, the Board made it clear that absences for any reason listed in Article 3.02 shall not count for any purpose under the ASP. (Article 3.02 prohibits hospitals from counting certain types of absences for attendance management purposes, including absences arising out of a medically-established serious chronic condition, an ongoing treatment, a catastrophic event, medically necessary surgical interventions, a confirmed communicable disease requiring the employee to be absent under the hospital or public health authority protocol, absences for which WSIB benefits are payable or leaves covered by the Employment Standards Act or Article 12 of the Collective Agreement.)
The Board also ordered the Hospital to provide the Union with information necessary to monitor the Hospital's compliance with its orders, including data related to the program and to the movement of employees within the program. For its part, the employees were reminded of their obligation to advise management if an absence is related to the listed grounds in Article 3.02 and to provide medical documentation upon request.
This is the first award addressing Article 3.02, a provision first negotiated in the 2014- 2017 central collective agreement. It confirms that absences for the reasons listed in that section cannot be counted for the purposes of attendance management programs. The case has already had a significant impact on the affected bargaining unit. Prior to the award, approximately half the bargaining unit had been placed on the ASP. Since the award, over half of these employees have been taken off the program.
HOSPITAL DISCRIMINATES AGAINST DISABLED EMPLOYEES: ARBITRATOR Major win by Local 1623 in Sudbury will affect all employees in Hospitals of Ontario Disability Insurance Plan (HOODIP)
CUPE won an important decision for all health care employees covered by the Hospitals of Ontario Disability Income Program (“HOODIP”).
Under HOODIP, employees returning to work on accommodation or an approved modified work program, are not considered to be “actively at work”. Rather, these employees are deducted sick leave while working with accommodations.
CUPE, Local 1623, challenged the practice on the basis that excluding employees performing modified work as not being “actively at work” was inherently discriminatory and perpetuates the stereotype that work performed by employees with disabilities is not real or valuable.
Arbitrator Trachuk agreed with CUPE, and in her award, issued on February 21, 2017, confirmed that “treating an employee with a disability as being not “actively at work” when they are actually actively at work is prima facie discriminatory.” She added “it is discriminatory because that person is working but is being treated differently because their disability requires modifications for them to work.” The Arbitrator concluded that “[e]mployees on modified duties are entitled to be treated like other employees […] and not having to use up their sick benefits while working.”
CUPE, Local 1623, is a proud member of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (“OCHU”) and is proud to advance health care workers’ rights across the province.
What we do
The Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU) is the hospital wing of the Canadian Union of Public Employees. Our 34.000 members in 70 local unions at 120 facilities bargain a central collective agreeement with the Ontario Hospital Association and co-ordinate bargaining across the hospital and long term care sectors. OCHU is actively involved in patient and resident advocacy in many communities.