Society Of Energy Professionals Opg Collective Agreement

The collective agreement between Hydro One Inc. and the company has approximately 1500 employees in critical engineering, oversight and management functions. « The Society of United Professionals is proud to work with employers to negotiate collective agreements that are fair to all, » said Scott Travers, President of the Society. « I am very pleased that our members voted in favour of this agreement. » Management counsel argued that the agreement was limited to OPG`s specific circumstances at the time of the conclusion of the contract and that, in any event, it applied only to MSPs that were working at the time the contract was concluded. OPG argued that the words « without prejudice or precedent » argue in favour of the limited scope of the agreement. About the Society of United Professionals: The Society of United Professionals was founded more than 70 years ago by engineers who wanted better working conditions. Today, the company represents 8,000 professionals across Ontario in the public, private and non-profit sectors. Members of the society include engineers, lawyers and supervisors among many other professions. Learn more about and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

The company argued that the words « without bias or precedent » were added to limit the application of the agreement to OPG`s operations in the East and to prevent the agreement from creating a provincial standard. The rate should not limit the binding nature of the agreement itself. The company also argued that the collective agreement itself preceded such agreements between the parties and that management – not the Union – had the burden of conceding that such agreements are not enforceable vis-à-vis the employer. The case is remarkable because the burden was imposed directly on management to show that agreements of this type are not applicable on a go-forward basis. The arbitrator also accepted that the words « without prejudice or precedent » restrict the geographical scope of the agreement, not its current application. The arbitrator also accepted that the reason OPG executed the agreement was to improve its relationship with the company and not in response to a change in the business climate. If the purpose of the agreement was only to meet specific commercial requirements on that date, OPG could have unilaterally imposed alternative working hours on PSM without recourse to such an agreement (through the exercise of its management rights). The fact that the agreement had been concluded strongly indicated that it should mark a binding agreement between the parties.

Arbitrator Davie upheld the Corporation of Energy Professionals` complaint against Ontario Power Generation (OPG) to enforce an agreement between the parties outside of the collective bargaining process until the parties explicitly renegotiate the agreement. The arbitrator rejected OPG`s assertion that « management rights » could be invoked on a whim to deny an agreement that had been voluntarily reached by both parties and respected for many years. In finding that the agreement is still enforceable, Arbitrator Davie pointed out, first, that the agreement did not have an expiry date or time-limited language and that the agreement was not limited to the MSPs employed at the time of the agreement. The facts were simple. A few years ago, following OPG`s desire to improve its relationship with the company, the parties reached an agreement ensuring that project managers (PSMs) would work 40 hours per week (compared to 35) in OPG`s eastern companies. The agreement began with the words « without bias or precedent » and was signed by OPG`s Vice President of Hydro Operations. . . .

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