Sisters, Brothers and Friends,
By now, you should be aware that the Union of Taxation Employees-PSAC (UTE) and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) reached a tentative agreement late last night after eighteen months of negotiations between the parties. Highlights of the terms of the tentative agreement were provided in communications from UTE in the early hours of this morning.
This has been one of the most difficult rounds of bargaining in recent years mainly due to Treasury Board’s interference and control over the CRA during this period of bargaining and their delays and refusal in providing the CRA with a fulsome mandate to negotiate a fair collective agreement for our members (and their employees). Treasury Board’s actions were evidence that the government’s and the employer’s words of appreciation to you concerning your efforts in delivering emergency services and other government programs during the pandemic were shallow and insincere.
In fact, this was reflected in its mandate to the CRA to offer our Bargaining Team far less than what they offered and agreed to in negotiations with other groups represented by the PSAC. Moreover, it was infuriating that Treasury Board allowed us no alternative but to continue our strike after other bargaining units returned to work, in order to force the employer to seriously address our bargaining proposals and to consider at a minimum, what was agreed to at the other bargaining tables.
When the CRA became a separate agency in 1999, it was given the legislative authority to negotiate directly with your Union and we successfully concluded two successive collective agreements in record time. With a subsequent amendment to section 58 of the Canada Revenue Agency Act, this authority was removed from the CRA and put back in the hands of Treasury Board. UTE has long protested this amendment to no avail, but this round of negotiations clearly demonstrated the inefficiency and ineffectiveness to the CRA, the Union and to all Canadians as a result of this transfer of control back to Treasury Board. Accordingly, I can assure you that your Union, the Union of Taxation Employees, will launch a campaign in the near future to lobby for a further amendment to the CRA Act to transfer the authority for bargaining back to the CRA.
I want to personally thank each and every one of one for your loyalty, support and activism during the period of the strike. Without you and your strong support and commitment, it would not have been possible to move Treasury Board and the CRA from its intransigent position. You, our members, remained strong and unified and showed the necessary resolve for us to collectively prevail. Our sense of solidarity and unity has never been stronger. The employer’s actions have awoken a sleeping giant and we will continue to work together to achieve further improvements to our terms and conditions of employment.
I would like to commend the tireless efforts and dedication of our Bargaining Team members and thank them on behalf of our UTE members for the sacrifices they have made during this round of bargaining in enduring long days and sleepless nights of negotiations and extended absences from their families and loved ones. I am confident that considering the circumstances that faced them and having to continue bargaining after other bargaining tables had settled, your Bargaining Team achieved all that they could in terms of improvements to compensation and working conditions for you. Accordingly, your Bargaining Team has recommended acceptance of this tentative agreement and I support them in their recommendation.
In the near future, you will be provided with further specific details concerning the tentative agreement. You will also be provided with an opportunity to raise concerns or ask questions and cast your vote in favour or in opposition to the tentative agreement during ratification meetings.
Of course, the final decision on whether or not to accept the tentative agreement rests with you, our members, and we will respect that decision, whichever it is.
Further information will be provided as soon as possible.
As we return to the workplace, let us not forget how the lack of respect from the employer during this round of bargaining and how little your work is truly valued. We will demand the respect we deserve, and we will expect recognition in more than hollow words.
Union of Taxation Employees