Speech October 26, 2007
First, I would like to thank you for allowing me to take your time during your Equal Opportunities Conference, but the members of your bargaining team want to take advantage of your attendance here to give a bargaining update, since today is the final day scheduled for this bargaining process. Also, this week you didn’t have an update with the bargaining info bulletins.
I would like to introduce the members of your bargaining team, Gaby Lévesque, Angel Gaby, our researcher Seth Sazant, Paméla Abbot RVP Pacific, Chrys Aylward RVP National Capital Region, Shawn Bergeron RVP Prairies, Jean-Pierre Fraser President of Local 10005 Shawinigan representing presidents for the Tax Centres, Dave Miller President of Local 20026 Penticton representing Tax Services Offices, Nick Stein RVP Southwest Ontario region, and myself your humble servant.
In this room, I recognize Local presidents, members of the Local executive councils and others who are certainly committed, active members at their workplaces for representing the UTE. We, the bargaining team, are certain that you all have at some point participated in demonstration activities in support of the bargaining team even if you weren’t sure of being able to obtain what you need. This is what’s called demonstrating your solidarity to the employer.
It can never be said enough that bargaining is important for all workers who hope to keep their job and improve their working conditions. At a minimum, these workers hope to hold on to previous gains included in their collective agreement. Bargaining is there to try to fulfill these expectations and needs and even more, to ensure workers’ rights are respected. Sometimes we win, sometimes we have the feeling that we didn’t really win and even that we lost because we are dissatisfied with the final outcome.
However, I assure you that, for having participated in all the bargaining processes since our employer has been an agency, you cannot and must not have any doubt about the commitment and effort put forth by the members of your bargaining team in order to have an agreement that is beneficial for absolutely every member of our PSAC UTE union.
Even that is not a guarantee of success because the outcome of any bargaining process turns on the commitment and demonstration of solidarity by the UTE National Executive Council, Local presidents and the members of their executive councils, and finally the rank and file members.
We must also convince the employer that all workers deserve to be heard and represented by your union at the bargaining table. The employer must demonstrate its recognition of this and improve its treatments through the bargaining process. Unfortunately it can take several years of work to put together everything required for achieving these objectives.
You know that the primary goal of bargaining is to represent UTE members to the employer in order to improve the collective agreement and to ensure the well-being and respect of UTE members. Since the coming of the agency, we have also had another goal, which is to have an agreement before the expiry of the current collective agreement. This goal, although important because if it were achieved, would go down as a page in the history of the PSAC UTE, even in the history of the public service because it would be the first time it would have happened.
This morning I can say that you, who are here at this conference, you are part of this page in history because I am officially announcing to you that the PSAC UTE bargaining teams and the CRA have signed a tentative agreement. This agreement is, of course, conditional on acceptance by all UTE members during the ratification vote. Your bargaining team unanimously recommends accepting this tentative agreement.
You will understand that we will not provide any details here and we hope that all UTE members will derive benefit from it. The details of this agreement will be available on the PSAC web site over the course of the day.
I would be remiss if I finished without offering my sincerest thanks to the PSAC, Sister Bannon, the members of the UTE Executive Council, all of you here today and all the rank and file UTE members. But special thanks go to all bargaining team members as well as their families; they never hesitated to give of their time and of themselves in order to make the best decisions for concluding this tentative agreement.
Enjoy the Equal Opportunity Conference.