Today, I would like to talk to you about a subject that is not always popular but is still very important: your union dues.
As you know, the Phoenix payroll system has created and still creates a lot of problems for many of you. Since April 2016, when the CRA was forced to join this payroll system, your union has focused on helping its members resolve problematic situations as quickly as possible.
Although the CRA is the largest federal government department, it is where there have been the fewest cases related to the Phoenix payroll system. One reason is that the Union of Taxation Employees and the Canada Revenue Agency have agreed on a Memorandum of Understanding to expedite the processing of the most sensitive files. In addition, the fact that the CRA has retained its own compensation advisors who are UTE members, and that they use the CAS system, in conjunction with the Phoenix system, has reduced the number of cases of payroll problems.
Let's be clear! Although the situation is not as bad at the CRA as it is in most other federal departments, this situation is unacceptable! This is why the Union of Taxation Employees launched a campaign to convince the federal government to replace the Phoenix payroll system at CRA, with the CAS system. For your information, we continue to put pressure on the government on this issue.
Now, let's get back to your union dues!
Since its introduction, the Phoenix payroll system has been unable to correctly read the monthly database that the PSAC provides to all federal departments regarding changes to the amount of union dues to be paid by its members. The PSAC has been providing this database to the government for decades without encountering major problems. This was until the advent of Phoenix!
For the past year and a half, the PSAC has been trying to make adjustments so that the Phoenix system can finally read this information in order to apply the correct amount of union dues deductions from your pay. The union and the Department of Public Services and Procurement Canada were ready to move forward in November 2017 when Treasury Board, for unknown reasons, stopped everything!
As you probably know, the PSAC has finally obtained authorization to put in place the necessary corrective measures to correct this situation. As of the November 14th pay, many of you have noticed that the amount you paid in union dues has been adjusted. In fact, because of the problems with the Phoenix system, the amount of contributions you have paid since the spring of 2016 has been wrong.
We are aware that this situation may cause you inconveniences and that it's not your fault. Please remember that this situation is caused by your employer, the Government of Canada, and not by your union.
Some of you have paid too much in dues and are therefore entitled to a refund. If this is the case, the amount due to you should be repaid in one or two instalments.
For those who have not paid enough dues, you must pay the amount due and additional deductions will be made on your pay.
As per its policy, PSAC collects a maximum of the equivalent of one year's worth of dues, but this will not be done all at once, unless it is less than the normal monthly dues. The recovery will be spread over several pay periods and will be equivalent to the amount of the normal monthly dues. For example, if you are supposed to pay $75 per month in union dues, you will pay this amount plus an additional $75 per month in arrears. The majority of members owe us less than $300; for them, recovery should not take more than two or three months.
On its website, the PSAC addresses this and many other issues in a section entitled: "PSAC Membership Dues Corrections: Frequently Asked Questions”. I invite you to consult this information, which can answer most of your questions.
For those of you who are affected by the situation, you should have received or will soon receive a letter from the PSAC indicating the amount due or to be received. In an ideal world, you should have received a statement of account before any changes were made to your payroll. For various reasons, including the current strike affecting Canada Post services, this was not possible.
If you have any questions about the changes to the amount of union dues deducted from your pay, you need to complete the online request for information form. For example, you can request a breakdown of the amount you owe. If the reimbursement of your union dues causes you financial hardship, you need to also complete this form. PSAC will consider your situation and may grant you additional time to make your payment.
Of course, you can discuss your situation with one of your local union representatives who will do everything possible to help you.
In closing, we understand that this situation can be frustrating for many of you and we share your frustration, but we have no choice. Union dues need to be adjusted to ensure that your union receives the money it needs and expects so that we can continue to defend your rights by fulfilling our many missions such as collective bargaining, representation, education and mobilization.
Thank you for your patience and understanding and also for your support of your union.