The role of the Union

The role of the Union

Service to the membership is the UTE’s prime reason to exist.  Our union provides a wide range of services, available to each and every member, wherever they may work.


The Standing Bargaining Committee is responsible for calling for and collecting bargaining demands from the locals and the UTE Labour Relations Officers.  The Committee must compile the bargaining demands and propose a program of demands, which is submitted to the PSAC. This program is submitted to the National Bargaining Committee.

The National Bargaining Committee selects, modifies, writes or composes bargaining demands using the demands obtained from the Standing Bargaining Committee / locals and the UTE Labour Relations Officers.  The Committee prioritizes all bargaining demands and submits them to the PSAC Collective Bargaining Branch within the established time frame.  These bargaining demands are the UTE’s official demands. 
Members of the UTE bargaining team, jointly with the PSAC, represent and defend UTE members’ interests at bargaining meetings with employer representatives.

The National President and 2nd National Vice-president sit on the National Strategy Committee with several key people from the PSAC to synchronize all strategies, actions and support that the bargaining team needs for achieving the bargaining objectives.

Bargaining is a long, arduous process, yet the UTE is in favour of meetings that continue until there is agreement.  Bargaining objectives include salary increases in addition to important interests such as job security and improving and/or maintaining working conditions previously gained in the collective agreement.

Day to Day Activities

There are fourteen (14) standing committees: Bargaining, By-laws, Staffing, Technological Change, Health and Safety, Equal Opportunities, Employees Assistance Program, Finance, Honours and Awards, Workforce Adjustment, Harassment, Communications, Political Action and Call Centre.  They deal with issues of ongoing importance to UTE members.  Members of these committees attend meetings with the employer, monitor compliance with our contract, and support the training and education of our members.

Grievance Representation

The collective agreement, or contract, negotiated between the union and the employer, along with other legislation, sets out the terms and conditions of work.  Whenever a member believes that his or her workplace rights have been violated, the UTE works with that member to try and resolve the problem informally.  If that effort fails, the union will assist the member in filing a formal written “grievance” to management.

Unless management accepts the member’s grievance and acts to remedy the problem, depending on the type of grievance, it may be processed through five distinct levels.

The UTE Local representatives in the specific workplace where the problem occurred normally handle first and/or second level grievances.  Third level grievances are generally submitted to the Agency’s Assistant Commissioners. These grievances are put forward and argued by UTE RVPs.  The UTE Labour Relations Officers, working out of our national headquarters, handle final level grievances.

Should the issue still not be resolved to the member’s satisfaction, the PSAC can decide on the merits of the case whether to take the grievance to a quasi-legal forum called “adjudication”, if applicable.

Agency Staffing Recourse/ Appeals Representation

Since the proclamation of the CCRA on November 1, 1999, the CRA staffing is no longer governed by the Public Service Employment Act and appointments under the CRA’s new staffing directives may no longer be appealed. We still, however, continue to represent our members under the Agency’s Staffing Recourse system.

With the change in recourse brought about through the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency Act and the subsequent CRA Directives on Staffing and Recourse, we continue to represent our members under these new initiatives, especially during the Independent Third Party Review (ITPR) process. The National Office of UTE provides representation at ITPRs. As well, direction, advice and training on this new system of recourse are provided to representatives and members as principles, decisions and jurisprudence evolves.

Education Programs

The UTE has developed its own education courses in “Grievance Representation”, “Staffing and Recourse”, Harassment, “Local Officers Training” and “Developing Membership Activism” – five practical areas of everyday use to Local activists. Given several times a year throughout the various regions on an “as needed” basis, these courses provide Local officers and stewards with the knowledge and skills to effectively represent their members.  Other training courses are developed as needs are identified. A National Course is usually held annually in Ottawa, again determined on an “as needed” basis.

As a PSAC “component union”, the UTE is able to offer its members the full and impressive scope of Alliance education courses.  These range from a single day’s seminar to a full week’s residential school.  Topics are as varied as steward’s training, health and safety, human rights and political action.

Membership Communication

An informed membership is an empowered membership.  That’s why the UTE makes every effort to keep its membership up-to-date on the major issues of the day.  Bulletins are sent to all UTE Locals for distribution to their members.  Three times a year a UTE newsletter is mailed directly to each member’s home.

UTE headquarters sends out information packages to our Executive Council members and to each Local in a timely fashion.  These contain bulletins, publications and information from a wide range of sources, including the UTE, the PSAC, the Canadian Labour Congress, Canada Revenue Agency, Treasury Board and the media.

The UTE has a web site ( that has all of our bulletins, minutes of national meetings, a contact page that lists all of the Executive Council’s email addresses and other up to date information. Members can secure timely access to any and all Ottawa National Office staff, from the National President on down.  We use all our resources and make every effort to deal with your concerns.