To date, we have had two rounds of negotiations with Altia in the last six weeks over the “paid leave” issue.
You might wonder: what is this “paid leave” issue, and how were Altia breaking the law?
Basically, a company must allow you to use paid leave whenever you wish. However, even a properly elected workers’ representative can sign away everyone’s rights, even if the majority do not agree.
In our opinion, if a company want this, they should give clear compensation/benefits in exchange so that the majority can agree with the decision. Altia has been breaking the law by setting holidays without an agreement for many years.
Case-in-point: the recent elections at Altia are clearly illegal.
The company organized the elections – this is not allowed. Elections must be organized by workers and not by management. At least one – if not two – of the representatives are working in some capacity as management. Management cannot be elected. None of the three elected representatives have the legal right to sign an agreement, as none of them have a majority of employees voting for them.
All of this was discussed in our official collective bargaining process with the company.
If we cannot come to an agreement, we will look to take legal action to have the elections rendered null and void.
Non-members could do this on their own if they wished to, right now; but, as a union, we are waiting to see if agreement can be persuaded to reach some kind of settlement over how Altia were initially breaking the law.
Were people aggrieved by this?
Yes – there are two clear ways that people were hurt by Altia Central’s ostensibly rigged elections.
The first group of people who have been hurt by these actions are those who needed to take time off for medical and family issues, etc. They were told that they had no leave to use, and so had money deducted from their salaries. In at least one case, this was a very large sum of money.
The other group of people are those who were bullied and lied to about trying to take leave. Some of these may also have suffered financial losses.
May 20th was the most recent important date for us, as Altia Central had until then to respond (in writing) in regards to our last negotiations.
When we’ve fully looked over what they’ve had to say for themselves, we will then decide if it will be possible to continue talks with them, or if it will be time to break off negotiations and begin legal steps.