The Council would like to acknowledge that we have received several complaints regarding the disrespectful treatment of our members by the new short term disability contractor, Manulife.
Some of those complaints include inappropriate comments, lack of compassion to a member’s medical condition, threats of pay being withheld and even unauthorized release of confidential medical information.
What is also distressing is the denial of union representation when requested by our members for meetings with Manulife. This is not acceptable treatment for any member, especially those who are currently dealing with a serious medical situation.
We have advised the company we wish to have a joint meeting to discuss the handling of SDB cases with Manulife. This meeting will hopefully take place early fall. Nothing is more important than the well-being and respectful treatment of our members, especially those who are experiencing a period of illness, and require a timely and effective response to their medical claim situation.
Bell has recently informed the Unifor ACL Council that they will be enforcing their attendance policy with great “rigor” in the Customer Care business unit. This Bell attendance policy will have the effect of pressuring members to attend work when they are sick causing added stress and putting the rest of their co-workers at risk of infectious diseases. It also will have the effect of “clogging” up the already burdened medical system in Atlantic Canada, assuming a union member can even get an appointment with their family doctor.
Since this announcement Council has seen heavy handed measures such as requesting a doctor's note for one or even a half day’s absence.
This was not the intent of Article 28.08 of the Collective Agreement and Council had agreement with the Bell Aliant Labour Relations team at previous BAJC meetings, that this language would not be enforced in such a “draconian” manner. Not only is this outside the intent of the language but Bell is applying their own policy unequally across their various business units.
Therefore, we ask that if you have experienced any issues when dealing with Manulife, or the Bell Absenteeism Policy, that you please contact any member of the Council or your workplace shop steward to share your experience as soon as they occur.
Unifor ACL Council