What is article 15?

Article 15 specifies the processes for layoff, recall, and bumping of full-time workers in the collective agreement.

Who isn’t covered by article 15?

Certain positions aren’t covered by article 15, even if they work full-time hours.

  • Initiatives/Opportunities (IO) positions. These positions are created with a pre-determined end date (page 99).
  • Appendix D (temporary employee) positions. These are often used to temporarily cover for an absent full-time worker (appendix d, page 109).
  • Employees who have not completed their probation period (15.4.1).
  • Part-time employees. Article 18 of the Part-Time Collective Agreement discusses the part-time layoff process.

What’s the Employment Stability Committee?

When the college is considering laying off a full-time worker (or workers), it will provide the Local Union president with no less than 14 days’ notice. The college must also provide the union with all of the data that the college used to determine that layoffs are needed (15.2).

The Employment Stability Committee (ESC) must meet within 5 days of the college giving written notice to the union (15.3.1). The committee must “consider the matter of worker layoff and make recommendations to the college President to prevent or minimize dislocation of workers.” (15.3.3)

Important: Confidentiality is extremely strict when the article 15 process is ongoing. All representatives on the committee are forbidden from discussing proceedings, even after the process has concluded. 

The ESC committee consists of 6 people:

  • 3 representatives of the college (the employer).
  • 3 representatives of the Local Union. This can include members of the Local Executive Committee (president, VP, stewards) and members within the local.

What happens when the ESC meets?

First, the ESC will meet and discuss the data being used to justify the decision. Recommendations and strategies will be pitched that could avoid or minimize the use of bumping.

Article 15.3 gives examples of some strategies that could be used, such as:

  • Creating vacancies that might be filled by affected workers, such as positions that do large amounts of overtime
  • Using retirements, voluntary leaves, or transfers
  • Improving a worker’s employment potential by providing training, retraining opportunities, and/or job counselling
  • Looking at possible alternative job opportunities that might exist for affected workers inside and outside of the College, or at another Ontario college
  • Temporarily assigning a displaced worker into a position that’s vacant due to a leave of absence

New ideas can be created and discussed too! All possibilities can be considered at this point in the process. We welcome and encourage our members to share their ideas with us.

The Employment Stability Fund

Article 14.6.3 describes the Employment Stability Fund. On September 1 of each year, the college must deposit $50 per full-time member (as counted on August 1st of that year).

Funds continue to be added every September 1 until it accrues an amount greater than or equal to $500 per full-time member. This account is in a separate joint trust and the ESC can inspect its records at any time.

The Employment Stability Fund can be used to support the strategies described above. If no agreement can be made on the use of the fund, an arbitrator can be asked to decide for them.

The Layoff Process

To start, article 15.4.1 says that workers on probation are simply released. They do not have recall rights but are entitled to severance.

Article 15.4.2 specifies that seniority is the first determining factor when working through the processes of Article 15.

Bumping (15.4.3)

Bumping is a prescribed, almost mathematical, procedure where the affected worker is placed into a position that is vacant or bumps out a worker with less seniority. They may not have the exact qualifications but should be capable of success after a reasonable familiarization period (15.4.6). There is no “cherry-picking”.

The Bumping Procedure

Step one: The list of affected workers is sorted into groups by payband, with the highest seniority person at the top of their payband.

The highest seniority person in the highest payband will be the first to go through the bumping process. In our examples below, Jones is the highest seniority person in the first group.

Step two: For the first pass through step two, we look at Jones’ payband. Jones is in payband G.

Are there any vacant positions in payband G?

  • Yes: There’s a vacant position. Can Jones satisfactorily do the duties of that vacant position?
    • Yes: Jones can do this vacant position’s duties. Jones is placed into the vacant position and is out of the bumping process.
    • No: Jones can’t do the job’s duties. Repeat this for all vacant positions in payband G.
    • If no more vacant positions exist in payband G, go to step three.
  • No: There are no vacant positions in payband G. Go to step three.

Step three: On Jones’ first pass through step three, we use the seniority list. It starts from the bottom with the lowest seniority (most junior) person’s position in the same payband as Jones (payband G). To bump someone from a position that is already filled, Jones must have more seniority than them AND be able to do the duties of the job. Jones won’t be compared for a job when the person in it has higher seniority than Jones. A person with lower seniority can never bump someone with higher seniority.

Does Jones have more seniority than the person in this position?

  • Yes: Can Jones fulfill the duties of this junior position?
    • Yes: Jones can do the job’s duties. Jones is placed into the position.
      • The lower-seniority person is bumped. The bumped person is placed into the list based on their seniority.
  • No: Jones can’t do these duties.
    • Repeat for the next junior position up the seniority list in payband G.
  • No: Jones doesn’t have more seniority than the person currently in the position. Jones cannot go any further in Payband G.

What if no position is found in my payband?

The process starts over at step two using the next payband down (15.4.3). In our example, when Jones is taken through the process again, the lowest seniority (most junior) person’s position in payband F will be the starting point.

What if I’m placed in a position at a lower payband?

You’ll be grandfathered to your original higher payband for 90 days (15.4.7).

What if they can’t find a position after looking at all the paybands?

If a position isn’t found after working through all of the paybands, you are laid off and placed on the recall list (15.4.3).

What if I’m the person bumped out by someone with higher seniority?

If you are bumped out, you are placed in the list based on your payband and seniority and will go through the bumping process yourself.

The bumping process can’t go on forever. The fourth employee to be bumped out is laid off, regardless of how much seniority they have (15.4.5.2). Reaching the fourth bump is rare because each bump reduces the number of lower-seniority employees in a payband.

What if I don’t want the position I’ve been reassigned to?

If you decline your reassignment, you’ll be laid off and placed on the recall list. You must decline within 5 business days of receiving your reassignment notice. The date you received the initial reassignment notice will be considered your layoff date (15.4.4.1).

Layoff Notice Period

No employee shall be laid off without receiving ninety (90) calendar days written notification from the College except in circumstances beyond the reasonable control of the College (15.3.5.2)

Notice is given during a joint meeting with managers. During the meeting when notice is given, a union steward will be present to assist members with their rights and to help them navigate the process.

Severance and Waiving Your Rights

Within 21 calendar days of receiving your layoff notice, you can choose to remove yourself from the recall list and get a severance payment instead. If you choose a severance payment, your recall rights are eliminated. You are released. You cannot undo the acceptance of severance and return to the recall list. (15.5.1)

  • For service of fewer than 5 years, you will receive 1 week of pay for each completed year of service up to a total of 26 weeks (6 months) of pay.
  • For service of more than 5, you will receive 1 week of pay for each completed year and (1 week of pay divided by 12) for each month of an incomplete year up to a total of 26 weeks (6 months) of pay.

If you choose severance, you’re still entitled to the provisions of article 15.7 for retraining and tuition discounts for three years. Employment Stability Funds could be contributed to your retraining and other employment assistance.

Recalling Laid-Off Workers

The clock for the recall period starts from the date of your layoff.

  • For less than 2 years of continuous service, the recall period is 12 months.
  • For more than 2 years of continuous service, the recall period is 18 months.

Recalls are done by seniority (highest seniority first) to available positions where the payband is equal to (or lower than) their former payband and they can perform the core duties of the job.

Anyone on the recall list also counts as an internal applicant for any posted position.

What if I don’t want the position I’m being recalled to?

If you decline your recalled position, you are released. Your recall rights end and you are paid severance according to 15.5.1.

Questions?

Please send questions regarding this article to ftunitsteward@opseu241.ca.