Virtual Work Arrangement grievances and Joint Panel

Sisters, Brothers and Friends,

Further to our message issued yesterday (May 15, 2024), although the Union of Taxation Employees (UTE) has advised the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) that we saw no further purpose at this time in continuing consultations at the Joint Consultation Committee (JCC) on the review of the Directive on Virtual Work Arrangements, we also reflected on our participation with respect to the Joint Panel that will be responsible for dealing with disputes relating to the revised telework policy, as provided for in the Letter of Agreement concluded by the parties during the last round of bargaining. After careful and thorough deliberations, UTE has decided that our continued participation in the Panel would best serve our members in making recommendations and influencing the employer’s decisions at the final level of the grievance procedure for those members who grieve the employer’s denial of a request for a Virtual Work Arrangement (VWA)

Pursuant to the Terms of Reference agreed to by the parties, the Panel will be empowered to review all grievances referred to the Panel and make a determination as to whether or not an employee was treated within the intent of the Directive on Virtual Work Arrangements and make recommendations, if applicable, before the Assistant Commissioner of Human Resources issues a final level response to the grievance.

Further information and instructions will be provided in due course as to the operation of the Panel and the procedures for referring a grievance to the Panel for consideration.

While UTE continued to accept grievances from members wishing to grieve management’s denial of a VWA under the CRA’s Rollout of On-site Presence (ROOP) in existence at the time, we advised members to hold off on new grievances until such time as the JCC concluded its review of CRA’s Directive on Virtual Work Arrangements and finalized our discussions at the JCC concerning remote/virtual work. The Commissioner’s recent arbitrary and unilateral decision, without proper and meaningful consultation with UTE, to comply with the Treasury Board Direction of an increase to an average of three days per week regarding the Rollout of On-site Presence (ROOP), effectively eliminated any attempts by UTE to advance the interests of our members and closed the door to meaningful consultation.

Accordingly, UTE strongly encourages members who require more flexibility in their telework arrangements more tailored to their needs to submit a revised/new VWA to their respective supervisor for approval and if denied, to grieve said denial. Your Local union representatives are available to assist you in filing this grievance.

Rest assured that UTE will continue to aggressively pursue this ill-conceived decision of the CRA Commissioner and will consider all available avenues of recourse in this matter. As stated in our previous message, in the very near future, you will receive further communications from UTE suggesting campaigns and activities in which you, the members, will be strongly encouraged to participate to decry this unilateral and unjust decision of the Commissioner and to challenge this decision.

In Solidarity,

Marc Brière's signature

Marc Brière
National President
Union of Taxation Employees

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