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Tom B.
Tom B., Barrister & Solicitor
Category: Canada Law
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Experience:  23 years in practice
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Which date supersedes the other in our current collective agreement?

Resolved Question:

Which date supersedes the other in our current collective agreement? Please see below.
Also If we sign a collective agreement once signed is there a cooling off period. Do we have the absolute right to cancel (for any reason) within a certain time?

1.on page 30 of the CBA it states under:

article 23- DURATION OF AGREEMENT

23.01 This agreement shall become effective on the 1st day of November 2010 and shall remain in effect until 31st day of October 2013 and shall continue to force from year to year thereafter, unless either party shall furnish the other with notice of termination or proposed revision of the agreement within ninety (90) days before the 31st day of October 2013, in a like period in any year thereafter.

The above is a stickered paragraphed placed over some original writing in our current CBA?

2. on page 50 of the CBA it states under:

LETTER OF UNDERSTANDING NO.1

WHEREAS: OPDC and the employer have entered into a collective agreement effective to December 31, 2013 ("Premiere Agreement") pursuant to a Memorandum of Agreement dated November 24,2010.

Thanks
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Canada Law
Expert:  Tom B. replied 11 months ago.

Tom B. :

Dear Sir/Madam:

Tom B. :

I need a bit more information.

Tom B. :

What do you mean by a "sticker" placed over original writing??

Tom B. :

I am concerned the agreement sounds like it has been poorly prepared.

Customer:

looks like someone glued that paragraph in over the original. Yes I believe it has been poorly prepared.

Tom B. :

Are there initials beside this strange change?

Customer:

No not beside but below ..............IN WITNESS WHEREOF the party First Part and the Party of the Second Part have caused their proper officers to affix ther signare....then they signed..

Customer:

but the letter of understanding signed as well...but a later date it seems

Customer:

so April 10.22 that pg was signed (pg 30) where article 23 is...............and then the letter of understanding was signed june 14.2012...

Tom B. :

A union agreement is like any other commercial contract. It must have terms that are certain such as how long the contract is for and how it can be terminated. Cooling off periods (where even available at all) are usually for contracts where there is no hope of proper negotiation such as buying a vacuum from a door to door salesperson. Your agreement should be clear on its face as to what FUNDAMENTAL terms are such as the length of the contract. More...

Tom B. :

Sometimes an agreement can be amended by striking out original language and writing in new words. That is not the best practice but if it is done, the amendment should be signed or initialed in the margins by those executing. More..

Tom B. :

On such an important contract, I would have assumed a new fresh copy would have been printed out and signed. A letter of agreement is only a first step and is seldom enforceable. You need a properly written agreement especially if the the other words can still be seen and there are no initials. The union should have a lawyer. I find what you describe rather unprofessional. Other than that, what are your concerns?

Tom B. :

It is fine in a written agreement to chose any dates even if the effective date is before the contract is signed.

Customer:

My concerns are that our contract is up apparently as of October 31st. but then it says it is up in Dec 31st. which date are they suppose to go by? also if we are negotiating and we accept can we go back a day or two later and withdraw from the offer? It doesn't state if we can or not but i thought maybe ontario law might stat if we could or not like consumers law...the 10day cooling period.

Tom B. :

To create context, are you a member? What result is desired?

Customer:

I am a member and was voted into the negotiations

Tom B. :

Do you not have the support of your union lawyer?

Customer:

We the membership are going to turn the offer the employer is going to propose to us down. We just want to know if we could have had more time.

Customer:

yes but to be honest they don't seem like they know very much....

Customer:

this agreement was copied and pasted

Tom B. :

Apparently not :)

Customer:

and I am not impressed and would like to direct and help the membership

Tom B. :

Good on you. But, I assume you want the collective agreement to be valid now. If the first date has gone with no termination and the second date is ahead, termination on your part would remove all power. More...

Tom B. :

I cannot see the entire document. We give general advice here. If you wanted the collective agreement gone then that would be one thing if you want the agreement still in place, that is totally another. But, if you want to refuse an offer, then you want there to be a solid collective agreement that is valid. Otherwise, each of you make your own deals individually. Lawyers have to be able to argue both sides because you never know which side you will be on. From the limited information I have, I think you are governed by the dates on the main agreement and not the letter of agreement. More

Tom B. :

If you want to get out of the agreement, I am sure with such a shoddy job writing it that there could be an argument that the letter of understanding might have some effect.

Tom B. :

Do you want to abandon the union and this agreement? What strategic value do you see regarding these dates?

Customer:

No I believe the membership wants to keep the union in...we are just concerned about how it was written and if we might have more time then what date they are using. We have a vote on Monday Nov.18.13 and most if not all of us will be turning down the offer but we would like more time to negotiate. The "no board" was issued and a strike vote would have to happen before Nov.21.13 as that is the date we can strike. So people just want more time I guess and want to know why there were to different dates...

Tom B. :

More time is a matter of negotiation. It has nothing to do about this rather strange contract. It is either on or off and off is not good for you. If you want to dissolve the union then that contract may be important in my opinion. But, the contract has nothing to do with how much time you get to negotiate. That is part of the negotiations and your remedy is to agree upon extensions or strike and the employer can agree to an extension or lock out. I have two suggestions.....

Customer:

ok

Tom B. :

First, you can contact an employment lawyer in your area and consult for free to get a second opinion. You would contact the lawyer referral service who will give you a couple of names of lawyer who have agreed to do so. If you chose this option, make sure you state that you want a list of lawyers who ONLY represent employees. This area of law is really divided and the last thing you want to do is consult with an employer's lawyer. Here is the link.....

Customer:

ok

Tom B. :

http://www.lsuc.on.ca/faq.aspx?id=2147486372

Customer:

ok thanks and your second suggestion?

Tom B. :

The second is to Contact the Ontario Federation of Labour. Your Union may be a member or not but they have business agents that can assist you. Indeed, there may be counselors regarding negotiation techniques. I am sure they would be interested in seeing how the contract was worded. Here is their link...

Tom B. :

http://ofl.ca/index.php/contact/

Tom B. :

If your union is not supporting you properly, they may have some advice on which union may be best for you.

Customer:

ok great thanks for your help!

Tom B. :

I would also contact your current union business agent with your concerns. Any union has a legal duty to represent you well and it sounds like stuff is not happening

Tom B. :

I am pleased to hear that you take this task seriously. There are huge resources. By law, the Union has to do something to help you.

Customer:

Well thank you so much for your help! It is greatly appreciated.

Tom B. :

If there are no further questions, please rate my answer well.

Tom B. :

I would be pleased to serve you again if necessary.

Tom B. :

My Best,

Tom B. :

Tom

Customer:

thanks Tom!

Customer:

Will do have a great night.

Tom B. :

Cheers mate.

Tom B., Barrister & Solicitor
Category: Canada Law
Satisfied Customers: 2138
Experience: 23 years in practice
Tom B. and 2 other Canada Law Specialists are ready to help you

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