In regards to the message from CRA

May 12, 2016

In regards to the message from CRA.

By now, you would have likely seen the message from the Commissioner of the CRA concerning the Memorandum of Settlement with respect to your collective agreement. Once again, the Commissioner has used the CRA email system to disseminate selective information on our bargaining to all employees. This is the second time in the last year that the employer has done this in an attempt to manipulate the bargaining process.

While the employer has a right to interpret the offer and present its views to employees, it chooses to use its email system to communicate with all employees, but refuses to allow the Union access to this same system so that both parties may present their positions to allow affected members to make an informed decision. In fact, the employer is attempting to limit the Union’s ability to communicate with our members as, immediately after we advised the employer that we would be recommending non-acceptance of the offer, it informed us that we cannot distribute any information concerning bargaining on the employer’s premises or on their email system, save and except meeting times (as allowed under our collective agreement). As a result, in order to communicate necessary information to our members, our Local representatives must resort to plant gates or emails to members’ home addresses. We submit that this is not a level playing field and a deliberate strategy by the employer to attempt to influence the vote.

In the Commissioner’s message, he attempts to entice members to accept the offer by dangling significant sums of money and implies that these payments would be made immediately. It is noteworthy, however, that he does not say when these payments would be made. It is likely that even if the offer were accepted, no payments would be made until 2017 as severance would continue to accumulate until October 2016 and then calculations for all employees would have to be undertaken and approved.  He also fails to mention that a significant amount of tax would have to be deducted and paid on these lump sumps and that it is likely that members would find themselves in a higher tax bracket in the year of receipt of their severance.

The Commissioner also conveniently fails to mention that severance pay would only be paid at your substantive rate of pay instead of at your certificate of appointment as currently required under your collective agreement. As a result, this would be a significant and substantial loss for those occupying positions in an acting capacity.  Moreover, the amount of money that you are giving up in the future on severance in many cases out shadows the gain.

Finally, in terms of wage increases, the 0.5% offered in the third and fourth years is less than the inflation rate and so again we are losing ground.

We again remind you that the Union of Taxation Employees is recommending rejection of the offer and respectfully requests that you vote NO so that we may send a strong message back to the Commissioner that we do not feel valued by this offer. But the choice is up to you, Stand Up, Give Up, but take responsibility for your decision and please think of all members and future members.

In Solidarity,

Bob Campbell, UTE National President