Dear Sisters, Brothers and Friends,
At the outset, please allow me to thank each and every one of you who stood strong and demonstrated an unprecedented show of solidarity in our efforts to achieve a fair and reasonable tentative agreement for all members of the Union of Taxation Employees (UTE).
As you are likely aware, before taking strike action, our bargaining team was faced with attempting to negotiate with the employer, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), with no real mandate to bargain from Treasury Board (TB) and with constant interference and delays by Treasury Board. Despite the tireless efforts of our bargaining team, we were unable to achieve any real progress without your support and activism in responding in massive numbers to our call for strike action to force both the CRA and TB to seriously address the significant issues advanced by our members and advocated by your bargaining team.
Even when the other bargaining tables had reached a tentative agreement and returned to work, our bargaining team was again frustrated by having to deal with an employer still with no mandate and who, with direction from Treasury Board, chose to offer our members far less than what was offered to members in the other occupational groups who had reached a tentative agreement. Again, you showed an unending strength and support in remaining on the picket lines for three (3) additional days before the employer recognized your resilience and unwavering support and moved to address our substantive bargaining proposals.
We now have a tentative agreement that will be presented to you for ratification.
Is it perfect? No, it’s not. But I can assure that your bargaining team made every effort possible and were successful in achieving significant improvements to your terms and conditions of employment and working conditions during this round of bargaining despite the intransigent position of the CRA and Treasury Board, along with the current government.
Unfortunately, we were confronted with the issue of non-essential members attempting to cross or actually crossing picket lines or performing work voluntarily for the employer while the vast majority of you actively participated in the strike. It is unacceptable that these members chose not to respect picket lines and also chose to disrespect you who actively supported the strike, and that ultimately, they will still reap the benefits that you worked so hard to achieve. This is especially difficult to accept considering the fact that the PSAC provided a strike pay in the amount of $75 per day, and that UTE also provided a top-up of $50 per day, and some Locals also provided an additional top-up for their members. In addition, at the beginning of the strike, a hardship fund was established aimed at providing financial assistance for those members experiencing financial distress.
Rest assured, however, that UTE will not allow these actions by a small minority of our members to go unnoticed. UTE is currently in the process of collecting the names of non-essential individuals who crossed picket lines or voluntarily performed work for the employer during the strike and disciplinary investigations will be conducted, leading to the possible suspensions or expulsions from membership and the imposition of fines upon those individuals who are found to have breached the provisions of the UTE By-Laws and Regulations and/or the PSAC Constitution and Regulations as a result of their conduct during the strike.
In closing, however, let not the actions of some inconsiderate and disrespectful individuals spoil your efforts in bringing our negotiations to a satisfactory conclusion despite the difficult circumstances we were facing. Be proud of your strength and the strong stance you took in forcing the employer into addressing the issues affecting your terms and conditions of employment and treating you with the respect that you so richly deserve. Let us build upon our efforts and continue to remind the CRA, the Treasury Board and the Government of Canada that we are proud, loyal and professional employees and strong members of our Union, the Union of Taxation Employees!
Union of Taxation Employees