What happens if bargaining stalls?

Answer

Strike Vote

If the parties have not yet reached an agreement, the CAAT-A bargaining team can call for a strike vote. This can happen either before or after the CA expires. A vote ‘yes’ to strike does not necessarily mean there will be a strike; however, a ‘yes’ vote increases the pressure on the employer to negotiate a fair settlement.

Conciliation

Conciliation is a process by which a trade union or an employer can ask the Ontario Ministry of Labour for help in resolving their differences so that they can reach a collective agreement. Either party may apply to the ministry. If parties are in negotiations, they must use the government's conciliation services before they can get into a position to engage in a strike or lock-out. The conciliation officer informs the Ontario Minister of Labour that a collective agreement was unable to be effected. The Minister would then generally issue a notice informing the union and the employer that he or she "does not consider it advisable to appoint a conciliation board" [section 21(b) of the Labour Relations Act-LRA]. This notice is known colloquially as the "no board" report.

Final Offer Vote

The Council may, no earlier than 15 days before the expiry of a collective agreement, make a request in writing to the Ontario Labour Relations Board that a vote of the employees be taken to accept or reject the offer of the Council last received by the employee organization in respect of all matters remaining in dispute between the parties to the collective agreement.  [CCBA-2008, c. 15, s. 17 (2)]

Only one request may be made under subsection (2). [CCBA-2008, c. 15, s. 17 (3)] The earliest it can happen is 15 days before the expiry of the CA, which would be September 15, 2017.

Where a request is made by the Council, a vote by secret ballot by the members of the bargaining unit shall be conducted under the supervision of and in the manner determined by the Ontario Labour Relations Board. [CCBA-2008, c. 15, s. 17 (4)]

The union cannot call a formal offer vote (only a ratification or strike vote as noted above).

Imposed Terms and Conditions

The CCBA allows the employer to impose terms and conditions of work where the CA has expired, where there has been a "no board" report filed by the Conciliator to the Minister of Labour, and where a minimum of 16 days have passed since the filing of the report. The terms could include anything. This action bypasses the bargaining table.