Guiding Principles and Practices of the Union of Taxation Employees

During its history, UTE has adopted a number of principles, practices and procedures that have guided our union and representatives in the conduct of our business. Many of these decisions are recorded in different formats and in various fora and are often difficult to locate easily. Moreover, the compilation of these decisions will serve to again bring them to the forefront as a reminder to our representatives.  The intent of this document, along with Appendix A attached (Resolutions of Record), is to assist in providing a summary of these numerous decisions made over time.

COMMUNICATIONS PROTOCOL

Communications within UTE

Where members contact an RVP or the National Office directly, the member should be referred back to their Local for assistance. Should the Local be unable to answer or address the issue, the matter should be elevated to the RVP. Should the RVP be unable to deal with the matter, the RVP would then contact the National Office or have the Local contact the National Office. Similarly, where members and/or Locals contact the National Office directly without being advised to do so by the RVP, the National Office should refer the Local back to their RVP. Notwithstanding this, we recognize that in extreme or urgent situations, it may be necessary from time to time to circumvent this protocol. In those situations, however, the Local and/or the RVP should be apprised at the earliest possible opportunity.

Communications Protocol for Communications From / To the CRA

Where a new matter arises that has not been previously assigned to an individual or UTE Committee by the UTE National President, initial communications from the CRA should be directed to the National President, with copies sent to the 1st National VP, the Senior LRO and the Executive Assistant to the National President. Upon receipt, the National President shall cause the communication to be actioned where necessary or refer it to the Senior Labour Relations Officer, the Executive Assistant to the National President, an Executive Council member or the appropriate Committee for action. If the National President refers the matter to a Committee, the communication shall be forwarded by the National President to the Committee Chairperson, with a copy to the LRO assigned to the specific committee. The Chairperson of the Committee shall decide the manner of communication with other Committee members.

Where a matter has previously been assigned by the National President to an individual or to a UTE Committee or where a matter is the subject of ongoing consultation between an individual or UTE Committee and representatives of the CRA, communications from the CRA should  be sent directly to the individual or Chairperson of the specific UTE Committee, with copies sent to the Labour Relations Officer (LRO)  assigned to the specific Committee, the National President, the 1st National VP, the Senior LRO and the Executive Assistant to the National President.

Where the communication has been directed to the Chairperson of a Committee, the Chairperson shall determine the manner of communication with Committee members. Committee Chairpersons shall determine authorities and methods of communication for dealings with representatives of the CRA on behalf of the Committee.

CONVENTION DELEGATES - LATE REGISTRATION  

Whereas the UTE is of the belief that ample and adequate time is afforded participants to register for any and all conventions in a timely and efficient manner, we advocate that we will not support the late registration of delegates to any conventions. If a vote is taken to accept late registrants, UTE delegates will vote in opposition.

EMPLOYEE ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (EAP) – REFERRAL AGENTS

The issue of UTE union representatives becoming Referral Agents has been considered and debated on numerous occasions. UTE’s position has been and continues to be that our union representatives shall not be Referral Agents.  To this, our position has been stated as follows:

“We feel that the role of a Referral Agent is very different than that of a Union Representative. We do not believe that Union Representatives should be or could be Referral Agents. Union representatives are trained to give advice, to guide, to resolve situations, to speak on behalf of our members, to represent, to intervene etc. Referral Agents are not mandated to do any of these roles. It would be very difficult to listen to someone and not to offer help to resolve his/her situation.”

We believe that it is not possible to balance these two roles and to have to decide which role is appropriate for a given situation. Therefore, a UTE Union Representative cannot act as a Referral Agent. Should a Union Representative wish to become a Referral Agent, he/she will be asked to resign from his/her union position.

EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES COMMITTEE DESIGNATED EQUITY GROUP MEMBERS SELECTION

The members representing each of the designated equity groups are to be selected by a committee consisting of the two national officers and the member elected by Local Presidents for ratification by the Executive Council. The selection shall be done utilizing an input call requesting the curriculum vitae (CV) of interested members.

The term of office of the designated equity group members shall be three (3) years, commencing upon ratification by Executive Council at its December meeting following Convention.

EXECUTIVE COUNCIL PROTOCOL

All Executive Council members shall fully support all resolutions adopted by the   Executive Council or referred by Executive Council to the UTE Triennial Convention. Moreover, no Executive Council member shall speak against or advocate against any such resolution.

Should an Executive Council member have grave personal difficulties with any resolution forwarded to Convention, they may abstain or absent themselves during any such vote, and shall not speak against, vote against or advocate against any such resolution.

EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES - LOCAL AND REGIONAL COMMITTEES

It is our position that if, in your local workplace or in your Region, the employer develops and implements an Employment Equity Action Plan, there should be consultation and collaboration with the bargaining agent and the most effective way to do so would be to have in place a local/regional Employment Equity/Diversity Committee. In 2004, we received from the Canadian Human Rights Commission, clarification on section 15 of the Employment Equity Act concerning the level at which consultation must take place with union representatives. The CHRC stated: “Where a plan involves national plans incorporating regional or sub plans we would expect the bargaining agents to be consulted on all levels of the plan.”

LOCAL ARRANGEMENTS WITH MANAGEMENT

The long-standing position of UTE is that no local is authorized to enter into any arrangement with local management where said arrangement would be found to be inconsistent with any provision of the collective agreement or any policy, directive or procedure of the CRA where UTE has engaged in meaningful consultation. While there are certain provisions providing for local consultation, this consultation is for fact finding purposes only, but ultimate authority rests with the National Office of UTE. It is well-established legal jurisprudence that no body may contract out collective agreement rights of an individual.  All proposed agreements with local management shall be reported to the RVP and to the National Office for approval and all proposed agreements with regional management shall be reported to the National Office for approval.     

MEMBERSHIP ASSIGNMENT TO LOCALS

The UTE assigns members to locals based on their physical work location. For greater certainty, physical work location is the office where the member performs their work or would normally perform their work if not teleworking and not the office or Branch to whom they report.

Where a member is temporarily assigned to an alternate work location for a period of no greater than six months, there shall not normally be a reassignment of locals, except with the expressed consent of the National President. 

National Courses

UTE has developed training courses in order to educate our activists to assist them in carrying out their duties.

The President, in consultation with the Executive Council and the Senior Labour Relations Officer will decide which course will be delivered in a given year and the timing as to when the course will be held.

National Courses will normally be held in Ottawa.

National Courses will be scheduled in both Official Languages.

The maximum number of participants per course in each official language shall be 25 members.

OFFICIAL LANGUAGES

Official Languages Monitors (CRA Secret Shoppers)

The Union of Taxation Employees’ National Office has been advised that the CRA is recruiting volunteers to act as Official Languages monitors. These monitors will be tasked with verifying that front-line employees are providing service to the public equally in their official language of choice. The UTE is opposed to members volunteering as monitors primarily because your statement of duties does not include the functions of an Official Languages monitor, but more importantly, spying on your co-workers is totally unacceptable. It should be noted that the Union of Taxation Employees does not oppose the right of taxpayers to receive services in the Official Language of their choice or for members to work in the Official Language of their choice.

SELECTION BOARDS - PARTICIPATION OF UNION REPRESENTATIVES

It is UTE’s position that members not volunteer or agree to sit on selection boards unless they are required to do so as part of their job.  While UTE understands the reasons members would want to experience such selection board roles, be it career aspirations, competencies or self-learning, UTE cannot support its members’ involvement unless the participation is within their work descriptions.

We maintain that members should work within their work descriptions. While we cannot enforce this upon the membership at large, it is our policy that local executive members and stewards shall not sit as selection board members if it is not part of their work description.  Members not selected for positions/promotions may seek recourse and representation by UTE. Sitting as a selection board member could place the local executive member or steward in a compromised position or a conflict of interest. 

THIRD LANGUAGE DIRECTORY

The CRA solicits employees to volunteer to work in languages other than the two official languages (English and French). Members who occupy a bilingual position are compensated with a bilingual bonus, albeit a small one. If we are to make any headway at the bargaining table to have other languages recognized and compensated, our members will have to stop volunteering to do it for free. It is UTE’s belief that the employer will not pay for this skill when the members are providing it for free.

We suggest that if members have their names on a local third language directory, they should ask to have them removed. We further suggest that if members have the ability to speak a third language, then they should be compensated for their skills.

UNION OF TAXATION EMPLOYEES LOGO-PROPRIETARY RIGHTS 

UTE went through some detailed work and expense to trademark our logo several years ago.  UTE’s policy is that all locals, regions or individuals must seek prior approval from the National President for the use of the UTE Logo.  However, through this policy, prior approval is hereby granted for use of the UTE logo on local or regional meeting minutes, agendas, meeting notices, By-laws and Regulations and any promotional items that have no other verbal or pictorial items included other than the name and/or number of a local, region, union position or personal name.

UNION MANAGEMENT CONSULTATION (UMC)

The policy of UTE is that we will not engage in joint consultation with the employer at any level where another bargaining agent is present, save and except Occupational Safety and Health Committee and any other fora that is regulated or legislated.

UNIONIZED PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

UTE has a long-standing practice of using unionized hotels, convention centres, airlines, taxis, and third-party suppliers, including technicians, printers, clothing, merchandise, products and services to the fullest extent possible. Concurrently, we endorse buying Canadian and North American products. These fundamental Union philosophies cannot be compromised. All UTE members attending union events and buying union products are expected to support unionized labour, wherever possible. Alternatively, it is not always possible to secure unionized products and services or Canadian or North American products. As a result, from time to time, we contract with charities and non-profit organizations to provide these products. Moreover, if we cannot deal with Canadian or North American companies, we will make every effort not to enter into business with companies or countries that hold an anti-union animus.

As a proud member of the house of labour, UTE supports unionized workers and services and encourages all their members to do the same.

WEBSITES AND SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS

UTE’s protocol for websites and social media accounts is that any member, Local, or Region who wishes to use the name of the Union of Taxation Employees in whole or in part on any site they create must have prior approval of the UTE National President. “Sites” includes any website, blog, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, etc. All sites should bear the name of the Local, City or Region before the name Union of Taxation Employees. This is to differentiate all sites from the official national site. All sites should include a link to the official site of the Union of Taxation Employees. The UTE National President will assign the UTE Web/Communications Officer to consult on the individual sites before they are published in order to ensure conformity and accuracy.  As well, the UTE Web/Communications Officer should have access to the content of the individual sites at all times.