Bargaining Committee

Statement of Principle on Bargaining

2005

The committee divided the document into two sections.The first section deals with the history and was non-concurrence.The second section deals with our expectations and was concurrence as amended.

Recorded as opposed: Madonna Gardiner, Barry Melanson, Wayne Little and Doug Gaetz.

The committee changed the title of the document from “POLICY PAPER ON BARGAINING” to “STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLE ON BARGAINING” to eliminate any confusion with the word “policy”.  There was no change to the title in the French document.

FIRST SECTION

INTRODUCTION

When the UTE Executive Committee met in June 2004, it finalized its analysis of the UTE Membership Questionnaire and submitted a recommendation for preparing a policy paper on bargaining to present at the Convention.

The members of the Standing Bargaining Committee met to prepare this policy paper on bargaining. To do so, they issued several statements based on wishes, facts and what is desirable.  This document is a study paper and will hopefully contribute one or more improvements to the bargaining process. 

WHAT WE KNOW

Process length

The bargaining process is too long. The ultimate goal would be to have the bargaining process completed before the Collective Agreement expires. We start bargaining 90 days before the Collective Agreement expires.
The most recent process lasted 14 months; the teams met face to face for approximately 37 hours, excluding periods with the Conciliator and the Conciliation Board.

It is obvious that the employer deliberately prolongs the process to ensure that we do not reach our goal of obtaining our legal right to strike during the tax program. One of the employer’s favourite methods of unduly prolonging the process is not including a representative on its team who can make decisions. The employer prefers to use delaying tactics such as mandating its negotiator to prolong the bargaining process.

Bargaining team

During the bargaining process, we changed PSAC negotiators three times and PSAC researchers twice. Although we acknowledged the professionalism and competence of these people, the changes and lack of continuity impacted the team members. We also believe that this benefits the employer. 

Demands

The UTE believes that demands must come from members. Even though the PSAC provides a book of demands, it still must plan on consulting members because it is an excellent way of sounding members out. Member involvement ensures we have their support and commitment. However, we must not lose sight of the fact that if we want a shorter bargaining process, an excessive number of demands would not help our cause. The UTE must be the organization that decides on the number of demands to bring to the bargaining table.

Pressure tactics and strike actions / strategy

Pressure tactics and strike actions are important for showing the employer the members’ commitment to and desire for their bargaining process. However, it can be difficult, even impossible, to achieve country-wide unanimity on strategies and pressure tactics. Different cultures and philosophies of the communities in which Locals operate influence strategies and pressure tactics. The UTE believes that the initiatives of the Locals utilized because this has a destabilizing effect on the employer.

The UTE also recognizes that the strike vote is important because it is currently the one of the best tactics we have for making ourselves heard by the employer. We must be sure that members understand, accept and want the goals we wish to achieve through striking. 

Voting processes

The UTE wants the ratification process shortened. Several members and Locals have argued that the time currently required for the ratification process cools members’ commitment and reduces interest because the time between the employer’s offer and the ratification vote period is long.
Members make comparisons with unions in their regions and do not understand why there is a difference between the ratification process of the unions in their regions and our ratification process. This makes members think that the union deliberately draws out this time to change their opinion.

The UTE believes that the information sessions prior to the vote processes (strike and ratification votes) must continue and even be improved. These sessions are needed to ensure consistent and adequate understanding of the why, the how, and the objectives of these vote processes. They ensure we have strong member support and commitment.

Designated employees

The UTE supports the 25% contribution required from designated members during strike periods and must determine with the PSAC where the payment is to be made.

Scabs

The UTE supports disciplinary action and financial penalties against scabs. The UTE believes that it should even be prepared to go to court to end this practice and collect the fines.

Communication

Since the establishment of the Agency, the UTE has emphasized communication for reaching as many members as possible. To do so, the UTE required that the PSAC develop a system for disseminating daily bulletins or news releases when necessary. The information is also available to members in auto-send electronic format. Members should subscribe to the PSAC on line web for this feature. The UTE believes that it should continue to enhance communication to reach even more members.

Bill C25

The UTE recognizes that the advent of Bill C25 will have a major impact on the bargaining processes. We do not yet know what all the impacts will be.

Feedback and process evaluation

We feel it is important to be able to evaluate the recently ended bargaining process. Soliciting feedback should be used to make any necessary changes or adjustments. 


SECOND SECTION

INTRODUCTION

The Union of Taxation Employees Executive Committee, at its meeting in June 2004, recommended a Policy Paper on Bargaining be prepared and prepared to Convention.

The members of the Standing Committee prepared this document as a study paper that will hopefully be a foundation for the development of improvements to the bargaining process.

WHAT WE WANT AND/OR WILL DO

Process length

Given that we start bargaining 90 days prior to the expiry of the collective agreement, it is achievable to meet our objective of getting a tentative agreement before the expiry of the current contract. To achieve it, however, the employer must agree to set intensive, continuous, contiguous bargaining periods. The employer will have to appoint to its bargaining team a responsible person who has the authority to make decisions. The teams should stay at the table until there is a tentative agreement or an impasse. These issues must be discussed and written agreements drawn up between the bargaining agent, our union and the employer.

Bargaining team

The UTE must ensure that the PSAC schedules their negotiators and researchers’ schedule so that the same negotiator and researcher are assigned to our bargaining team for the entire bargaining process.

Demands

Locals should be mandated to solicit their members for their demands during their annual general meetings or special meetings. In the 12 months proceeding the Notice‑to-Bargain year, the UTE will remind Locals to do this prior to the beginning of the bargaining process.

The UTE is in favour of establishing a bargaining committee in each Local. These committees could be responsible for ensuring that all aspects of bargaining in the Local run smoothly.

These committees would oversee the demands process with members.

Some of the duties of the committee would be to:

  • ensure that membership lists for the phone lines are up to date,
  • maintain interest in and contacts for the strike structure; and
  • develop the communication aspect for bargaining.

Pressure tactics and strike actions / strategy

The UTE Standing Bargaining Committee will have to improve the strike/communication structure organization chart to ensure prompt, effective communication. This will enable Locals and regions to make their desires and needs known regarding pressure tactics and strike strategy.

It is difficult, if not impossible to achieve countrywide unanimity on specific activities, however it is paramount to ensure the philosophies and strategies are implemented and maintained. If this local or regional pressure tactics principle is accepted, the UTE will have to ensure that the PSAC provides the financial and technical support required.

The UTE recognizes that political action targeting MPs is a good pressure tactic, and would mandate Locals to participate when requested.

Vote processes

The UTE believes that, with existing technology, it is possible to reduce the ratification process, including results, to 30 days. The UTE submitted a resolution asking the PSAC to amend the vote process accordingly.

Designated employees

The UTE will amend its designated employees regulation and their 25% participation to be consistent with the PSAC Constitution. 

Scabs

The UTE supports the creation of anti-scab legislation and encourages participation in any such campaign to ensure that the anti-scab legislation before the House of Commons is passed. The UTE would like to benefit from anti-scab legislation like British Columbia and Quebec.

Communication

To continue enhancing communication, the UTE will ask the PSAC to develop a system for providing greater visibility in the regional media that would be tailored to each region. Press releases could be geared to the regions and could identify local contact people. 

Bill C25

The UTE is urging the PSAC and their representatives to have the force and effect of this bill explained to us so we can adapt to and deal with these changes. Information sessions will be held and briefs or bulletins should be circulated to inform as many members as possible.
 

Feedback and process evaluation

The UTE will propose that the PSAC request interaction in the form of meetings with or questionnaires for bargaining team members, union executives from all levels and rank and file members. The UTE Standing Bargaining Committee will share the information and exert pressure to have changes made if necessary.

Conclusion

All desires to improve the bargaining process that require employer representation or agreement are and will be part of the representations of our elected national officers to the employer through its representative, the Commissioner. These desires must be continually discussed with the employer. We must try to get written commitments from the CRA to make real progress.

RESPECTFULLY SUBMITTED

Denis Lalancette
For the Standing Bargaining Committee

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