Message from the National President - Questions and Answers

May 17, 2016

To all the members of UTE:

As we enter the voting process in regards to the offer on our collective agreement, I would like to remind everyone that we are all in this together. There are many different views and opinions on the offer, the union, the bargaining team, etc.  All I ask is that we treat each other with respect. Some of the views and comments that I have seen on social media are personal attacks and profanity. These are coming from both the yes and no side, and are uncalled for. Please deal with the subject matter in a professional manner and express your views respectfully.

There have many questions and we have tried to answer them but they keep popping up, so below you will find the most asked questions:

Q: What does "me- too" mean?

A: The 'Me-too" provision provides for a base economic increase FROM 0.5% TO AN AMOUNT IDENTICAL to that provided to the core public administration Program and Administrative Services (PA) Group for the respective fiscal years.

As the increases are for 2014 and 2015, you would receive 0.5% for each of those years.  Later on, when the PA group negotiates for those years, you would get either a) nothing, if they negotiate 0.5% or less or b) the difference between what you have already received (0.5%) and what they negotiate.

Q: At what level is the severance going to be paid out and when if the contract offer is accepted?

A: The current contract states that severance is paid out at your certificate of appointment level. The proposed offer will pay out all severance or stop accumulating severance at your substantive level (not at any acting levels).  The severance would accumulate until October 31st 2016 and then management would start to process the payments. It will likely be early 2017 before the first payments are made.

Q: Will employees in an acting position be paid severance at their acting rate of pay if they retire before October 31 but after the collective agreement is signed?

A: Yes. If the settlement is ratified, the current provisions, including the rate at which the benefit is calculated will remain in effect until October 31, 2016. An employee retiring between now and then, regardless of whether or not the collective agreement is signed, would have entitlement to severance pay as it is currently provided. Effective October 31, 2016, the severance termination payment (clause 63.04) would come into effect. Payments made under that provision would be based on the substantive rate of pay. 

When an employee ceases employment involuntarily after October 31, 2016, and there is a provision for a severance payment (e.g. lay-off, incapacity), the severance benefit would still be based on the certificate of appointment on the date of termination; that provision in 63.01 would not change. So if an employee is acting, the acting rate would be used as it is today.

Q: If I vote against this offer does that mean I will then be on strike?

A: No.  A no vote means you are giving the union a strike mandate that they can use if required. There will be an immediate attempt to get back to the table to negotiate a better deal or there could be a work-to-rule campaign, rotating strikes, strategic strikes, up to and including a full general strike. A strike mandate would be used to show the employer that the members want to be treated with respect and they are not willing to give up something from their contract for something of a lesser value.

In Solidarity,

Robert Campbell, UTE National President