Church House staff approve new model

Published September 1, 1998

Employees at Church House have voted in favour of a staff association model that will give them a unified voice for the first time.

The model was developed and proposed by a volunteer committee.

Sixty-two people out of an eligible 100 returned their ballots and of those, 82 per cent voted in favour, 13 per cent were opposed and 5 per cent of the ballots were spoiled.

Membership costs nothing, is automatic for all Church House staff but anyone who doesn’t want to participate doesn’t have to.

The next step, says church assistant librarian Caese Levo, a member of the volunteer committee, is for staff to elect 11 members of a steering committee to replace the volunteers.

“We want it to be staff-led,” she said of the association, in order to reflect employees’ concerns and interests. “We want it to focus on the good things too. It’s a very good place to work. Church House is a very good employer.”

The association idea emerged after staff voted not to join the Service Employees International Union last year. After that vote, a volunteer committee met informally with various staff who touched on a variety of concerns, including problems related to salaries and benefits, morale, inter-personal conflict, hiring inconsistencies and lack of recognition for work done.

Task forces will be set up to develop the mandate of the three committees: one on salaries and benefits, a second to address grievances and a third to deal with staff development and training.

The association will provide a venue for staff to get together and hear each others’ concerns for the first time, says Theresa Zyp, also a volunteer committee member who works in the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund.

“It’s only going to be as good as the staff make it,” she said.

The church’s general secretary, Jim Boyles, said, “The management team has held regular discussions with the planners and is prepared to work with the staff association in developing our common interests in improving the workplace.

“I personally support the creation of the association.”


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