We want to update Hotel Dieu Shaver (HDS) members of the SEIU Healthcare clerical and service bargaining units about the status of pay equity at Niagara Health (NH) for SEIU Healthcare clerical and service bargaining unit members.
As you know, the pay equity process at HDS is linked to NH’s process as these two hospitals were once joined. As such, HDS cannot begin their pay equity process until NH’s process is complete as NH’s job evaluation ratings will form the basis for the ratings at HDS.
We are updating HDS members now as we are optimistic that a recent signing of a formal binding Dispute Resolution Process between SEIU and NH will move their stalled process towards completion and allow work to commence at HDS after that.
After many previous attempts to negotiate a fair process to address past and current pay equity issues, SEIU Healthcare filed an Application at the Pay Equity Hearings Tribunal in late 2019, requesting their intervention to assist SEIU Healthcare and Niagara Health.
As a result of the filing to the Tribunal, the parties agreed to develop a formal dispute resolution process (DRP) that would be binding and resolve outstanding rating disputes and to assist the parties towards completing a pay equity plan.
The DRP sets out a process whereby consultants from SEIU Healthcare and Niagara Health will meet in September and October 2020, to attempt to reduce the number of rating disputes and present their recommendations to both parties. If their recommendations are not adopted, the next stage would involve mediation and lastly a binding arbitration process, if necessary. We believe this will be the fairest and most efficient process to overcome the disputes and finalize the pay equity plan.
In 2008, SEIU Healthcare and Hotel Dieu Shaver, along with Niagara Health, Brant Community Health Care, and Bluewater Health established an evaluation tool to evaluate SEIU bargaining unit jobs to develop pay equity at the separate hospitals.
Hotel Dieu Shaver employees and Niagara Health employees were asked to complete information about their jobs in the form of a job questionnaire. For Hotel Dieu Shaver employees, the job questionnaire reflected their jobs as of August 2005 just before their transfer from Niagara Health to Hotel Dieu Shaver. For Niagara Health employees, the job questionnaires reflected their jobs as of March 2009.
In 2010, a disagreement between Niagara Health and SEIU Healthcare arose, and the assistance of the Pay Equity Hearings Tribunal was required. The joint SEIU Healthcare-Niagara Health job evaluation committee ceased to meet during this time.
Since 2012, the parties have been involved in the hearing at the Tribunal, and a settlement was reached in 2013. In 2014, a clarifying decision from the Tribunal was provided, and the parties resumed meeting in July 2015 to plan how to move forward.
In 2016, the joint SEIU Healthcare – Niagara Health job evaluation committee met and outlined next steps towards completing the pay equity process. It soon became apparent that the joint SEIU Healthcare – Niagara Health job evaluation committee was not effective in agreeing on the unfinished job evaluation ratings. There was difficulty arriving at a consensus for many disputed ratings.
A joint decision was then made by the joint SEIU Healthcare – Niagara Health job evaluation committee to work on the job evaluations separately with SEIU Healthcare working with the rating committee members and Niagara Health working with their committee.
SEIU Healthcare provided Niagara Health with a complete job evaluation ratings package in April 2017. Niagara Health responded with a counter-proposal in March 2018.
Since receiving the counter-proposal from Niagara Health, both Niagara Health and SEIU Healthcare have utilized consultants to assist in the process as well as attempt to seek a resolution at the leadership level from both organizations. These efforts failed, and the parties were not any closer together in achieving a pay equity plan and continued to face significant challenges in all aspects of the pay equity process.
The impasse leads to SEIU Healthcare submitting an Application at the Pay Equity Hearings Tribunal and the development of the DRP. We now have a clear process with deadlines to help move the parties forward.
Impact on Hotel Dieu Shaver Pay Equity Process
The rating dispute at Niagara Health directly affects the members at Hotel Dieu Shaver as the Niagara Health ratings will form the basis of the job evaluation ratings at Hotel Dieu Shaver. Once the ratings disputes have been resolved, the agreed upon ratings from Niagara Health will form the basis for the Hotel Dieu Shaver job classes that existed in 2005. Thus, Hotel Dieu Shaver members are unable to begin the pay equity process until the Niagara Health process is complete.
As there has been significant delay over the years, we have reason to be optimistic that the Tribunal, as well as the explicit timelines set out to involve experienced mediators and arbitrators can finally bring this process to a resolution.
We thank you for your continued patience and will provide updates on a continued basis.
If you have any further questions, please reach out to Lisa Wong at firstname.lastname@example.org.