Alternate Regional Vice-Presidents
RE: Overview and update on our 2010 bargaining process
Dear Sisters and Brothers:
The table is set: our 2010 bargaining process is under way. The “face-to-face” bargaining period will start on July 1, 2010. A preparatory meeting with the employer and the PSAC/UTE will be held on April 30, 2010 for setting the dates and locations for these “face-to-face” meetings.
a) Program of Demands:
The “Program of Demands and Input Call” was sent to the locals electronically on March 5, 2010. Each local could submit up to a maximum of ten (10) bargaining demands.
This program informed the locals about the overall bargaining objectives, provided directions on drafting the demands, and presented internal bargaining demands drafted by UTE labour relations officers that address members’ specific problems.
b) Official Demand Collection Process:
After the program of demands was sent out, the locals had until March 31, 2010 to send up to ten (10) additional demands to the UTE. The UTE received over one hundred and fifty (150) demands.
c) Ongoing Demand Collection Process:
This process, started March 6, 2008 and ended on March 12, 2010, enabled the rank-and-file union members to send over one hundred and fifty (150) demands to the National Office.
d) Demand Compilation
All demands, a little over three hundred (300), are sorted, ordered and translated into both official languages. A workbook is then prepared to enable the National Bargaining Committee to successfully carry out their work.
e) Bargaining Demand Selection:
The UTE National Bargaining Committee consists of four (4) members from the Standing Bargaining Committee and the chairs of the following national committees: Staffing Committee, Technological Change Committee, Workforce Adjustment Committee, Health and Safety Committee and Equal Opportunities Committee. The UTE President is an ex-officio member of the National Bargaining Committee.
This committee will meet from May 6 to 8, 2010 to select, amend and draft or compose demands that may include several demands. This work will be done from all the demands received (a little over three hundred (300) and from the program of demands.
The demands selected will be prioritized, and a report will be sent to the PSAC the week after the National Bargaining Committee’s meeting. This report will constitute our official position.
At this meeting, the National Bargaining Team will be selected.
f) Follow-up to the locals
Something new has been added to our process. As soon as possible (we foresee by the end of May 2010), the UTE National Office will send an individual report to the locals, briefly explaining the reasons why their demands were not selected.
a) Notice to Bargain:
The PSAC will send the official Notice to Bargain to the CRA on July 1, 2010, which is four (4) months before the expiration of the current collective agreement, as provided for in the Public Service Staff Relations Act (PSSRA). The PSAC/UTE and CRA bargaining teams will meet in order to exchange official bargaining demands and agree on the dates and how the “face-to-face” meetings are to run.
b) Bargaining Periods:
The bargaining will proceed through intensive bargaining periods starting in July.
The UTE will again attempt to have a signed contract within a reasonable timeframe and, if possible, before the end of the current collective agreement, namely October 31, 2010. Of course, the key objective is to try meeting the members’ bargaining demands and expectations.
During the bargaining, regular information bulletins will be posted on our site. You can register to receive these bulletins automatically, by going to the UTE website (www.ute-sei.org) and using the “Subscribe” feature located at the top right of your screen.
3) ADDITIONAL INFORMATION IN THE EVENT OF NEGOTIATIONS BREAK DOWN
a) Request for Conciliation and the Conduct of the Strike Vote:
In the event of a break down, the dispute resolution method shall be conciliation with the right to strike. We need to remember that under the PSSRA, if the parties are unable to reach an agreement, a request for conciliation is presented and a Public Interest Commission (PIC) is established. If the PIC’s recommendations do not help to achieve a resolution, the PSSRA provides for the holding of a secret strike vote by all bargaining unit employees.
There has been an important change regarding the strike vote. If a majority of members vote in favour of strike action, said action must commence within sixty (60) days following the vote. If the strike vote is not exercised within this period, and the bargaining agent determines that it is important to obtain a second strike mandate, a new strike vote will be held.
b) Tentative Agreement:
If there is a tentative agreement, this implies that members of the PSAC/UTE Bargaining Team are of the opinion that they would not be able to obtain more even with a strike. Consequently, a tentative agreement is presented to the members. This agreement must be approved by vote, as set out in the UTE Policy.
c) Right to Strike:
The PSLRA requires that the following conditions be met before we can legally take strike action:
- Essential Service Agreements must be signed off and in place for thirty (30) clear days.
- The Public Interest Commission must have reported, and seven (7) clear days must have elapsed since the report was sent (cooling off period).
- The commencement of strike action must take place within sixty (60) clear days of the strike vote.
What does our next bargaining process hold in store for us? Nobody knows, especially since we are starting with a salary freeze of up to 1.5%, but salaries are not the only thing. The indicators of economic conditions, cost of living, agreements signed in other departments or agencies in late 2009, early 2010, do not necessarily pave the way for our next process. It’s important to remain confident and particularly to show solidarity to ensure we receive most out of this process. Rest assured there will be excellence in the preparations and presentation by your bargaining team. One thing is for sure: the employer will not be able to claim that the demands are the union’s wishes, but definitely the needs and expectations of its workers. Workers who continue to perform their services as expected.
Beyond a shadow of a doubt, the members of the bargaining team will be ready to meet with the employer “face to face” at the bargaining table in July. We will have all the rationale and supporting evidence required to effectively represent you. We can’t say it enough: bargaining is everyone’s business, including our members, who are the union. Your participation in the ongoing bargaining demand collection process and your demonstrations in response to the failure to comply with the collective agreement, show that you will be there in solidarity when your bargaining team is at the table.
Bargaining is a way of recognizing the work done by its workers ….
Bargaining is everyone’s business. Stay informed, stay involved!
On behalf of the Bargaining Committee Members