Sunday, September 9, 2007

Issues - Scheduling Auxilliary Employees

NOTE: I am writing from the perspective of a CUPE 15 member and can not make any comments on Library CUPE 391 issues.

It is interesting that CUPE 15 writes:
  • It is unfortunate that the City has chosen to call this "seniority over merit", (sic) because that is not at all what CUPE 15 has proposed. Rather, the union would like to see auxiliary workers, many of whom, remain auxiliary for ten or twenty years, be "entitled to use their accumulated seniority for the purpose of assignment of hours."
Why is someone in an auxiliary position for 10 - 20 years especially given the current labour market?

The Richmond agreement does have an "Auxiliary Seniority Pool" which states:
  • a) As soon as an Auxiliary Employee has worked 1200 hours within two consecutive calendar years, such employee will gain entry onto the Auxiliary Seniority List in their section (Bold added by Blogger) and will be deemed to possess seniority.
The phrase "in their section" is critical. It means, to use the example of one submitted comment, a ditch digger can not become a lifeguard. Outside of specific categories, however, the word "section" is nebulous within the context of Park Board. Recreation is a section except as noted for lifeguards.

The City of Vancouver contends:

The existing CUPE Local 15 collective agreement includes many provisions for auxiliary employees including the following:
  • Recognition of Seniority
    • after reaching 913 hours (the equivalent of 6 months service) an auxiliary employee acquires seniority which can be used when competing for regular or long term temporary employment (Bold added by Blogger)
  • Pay Increments
    • eligible for advancement to a higher level of pay (increments) based on the time they have worked
  • Benefits
    • due to the varying hours of work and periods of no employment, auxiliary employees are paid an additional 12% or 16% (depending on their length of service) of regular earnings instead of benefits
  • Pension
    • eligible for coverage under the Municipal Pension Plan
  • Overtime
    • eligible after 40 years of straight time worked
No seniority pool would be established. Merit would take precedent over seniority.

The City agrees with CUPE
  • to review the hours of work of all auxiliary employees with a view to converting their status to regular part time or regular full time status as appropriate.
I disagree with an auxiliary seniority pool. The very nature or the term auxiliary -additional; supplementary; reserve - does not equate to a seniority pool. Auxiliary positions should be entry level jobs, summer employment, or fall backs for sick or vacationing staff.

Opportunity to advance is available. Auxiliary jobs in Vancouver should be designed to be stepping stones and not an end unto themselves.

If 40% of jobs in the City, under CUPE 15, are in fact auxiliary then the City must not simply review but convert those positions which qualify into Regular Part Time or Regular Full Time positions. The current situation greatly stretches the definition of auxiliary.

A seniority auxiliary pool, however, would reduce opportunity for university students and young adults hoping to get their foot in the door.

Performance and skills must trump seniority with auxiliaries.

1 comment:

QBert said...

"Merit" is merely a smokescreen that the employer uses to avoid giving shifts to staff who have accumulated enough hours to earn higher-than-entry-level pay grades. Why pay someone $17/hr when you can give the shift to a new hire for $15/hr?

Seniority is a system that is implemented to counter this tendency. Ideally, we would have no pay grades at all.