Rideau Carleton Raceway members get a collective agreement

The latest Local to join the Union of National Employees now has a collective agreement! Last June, we reported that employees at the Rideau Carleton Raceway, a racetrack and slots facility in Ottawa, became members of the UNE.

The new collective agreement is currently being proofread and awaiting signature, but the good news is that it’s already in effect.

Members of Local 71201 will receive a one-time signing bonus of $800. The collective agreement also gives them a grievance process for the first time, which means that they now have a way to address issues in the workplace.

On a day-to-day level, employees will now be able to select their shifts based on seniority. As for part-time employees, they now benefit from up to three paid lieu days, which they can use to leave work early or as vacation time – much in the same way that full-time employees use their lieu days.

The employees at Rideau Carleton Raceway have also been concerned with the future of their workplace ever since the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation announced plans to ‘modernize’ its activities. Luckily, the Local’s first collective agreement protects them in the event that their slots facility is purchased by another casino; the terms and conditions are guaranteed until the expiry of the collective agreement.

“We’re extremely happy that these members now have a collective agreement,” said National Executive Vice-President Eddie Kennedy, who has been acting as president this week. “At the end of the day, we’re talking about something that will really help us protect these members’ rights,” added Kennedy.

“The bargaining team should be especially proud of their hard work.”

United for a fair deal – TC bargaining

A demonstration was held in downtown Ottawa yesterday, to support the technical services bargaining team. Bargaining with Treasury Board broke down earlier this year, so the team is appearing before the Public Interest Commission this week. The union hopes the commission’s recommendations will result in a fair tentative agreement to present to the membership.

“We’re here today to tell them what you do and why you need to be treated with dignity and respect,” said PSAC President Robyn Benson during the demonstration.

Members of the technical services table include accident inspectors, chemical decontamination technologists, grain-handling regulators, ship and train safety inspectors, and more. At the Union of National Employees, our technical services members include labour affairs officers at Human Resources and Skills Development Canada and inspectors at Measurement Canada.

These members’ collective agreement expired in June 2011.

“Our members provide services that are valuable to Canadians – and the employer needs to recognize that,” said Amy Campbell, President of Local 00258 and a UNE member on the bargaining team.

Campbell hopes that Treasury Board gets the message. “It’s clear that we have the support of the membership,” she added.

For more information and bargaining updates, please consult the technical services bargaining section of the PSAC website.

For pictures of yesterday’s rally, come visit us on Flickr!

SSO Bargaining Team Declares Impasse

“They informed us that they weren’t budging on their position,” said Réjean Amyotte, Assistant Regional Vice-President for Ontario and a member of the Statistical Survey Operations Regional Office Bargaining Team.

Last week, after the employer indicated that they would not move on some key demands, the bargaining team decided to declare an impasse and seek arbitration.

Amyotte says that the employer was not receptive to the bargaining team’s proposals regarding scheduling and wage parity with other federal public servants.

Based on the present collective agreement, the employer has complete latitude on scheduling hours of work. “There are times when people with more years of experience are working fewer hours in a month than people who were hired six months ago,” says Amyotte. The bargaining team is working to ensure that seniority is recognized when assigning work.

“For years, this bargaining team has wanted and attempted to reach parity with comparable workplaces,” says Amyotte. The union believes that interviewers should be paid at the CR3 level and senior interviewers at the CR5 level. The bargaining team also wants to ensure that Statistics Canada accurately records pensionable hours.

Despite having filed for arbitration, the bargaining team is still open to meet and negotiate should the employer decide to address our members’ concerns.

SSO Regional Office employees work for Statistics Canada in offices across the country. They collect vital information for national surveys, mostly through telephone interviews.

For more information on this round of bargaining, please consult this PSAC update. For the most up-to-date information, please consult the SSO Bargaining section of the PSAC website.

Bargaining continues for interviewers at SSO

The bargaining team for Statistical Survey Operations Regional Office was hard at work last week during three consecutive days of negotiation. Members of this group work as regional office interviewers in Statistics Canada offices around the country.

“We spent the greater part of the three days talking about seniority,” said Réjean Amyotte, a UNE member on the bargaining team and an Assistant Regional Vice-President for our union’s Ontario region.

Brother Amyotte explained that seniority was the overall theme of this round of negotiations. The bargaining team’s proposals regarding scheduling and increased job security are mostly centred on seniority rights.

“I would say that I’m more than cautiously optimistic that we can reach a negotiated settlement,” said Amyotte.

The bargaining team is scheduled to resume negotiations on July 11 in Ottawa, where they will present their wage demands.

To find out more, consult the SSO Bargaining section of the PSAC website.

PSAC at Statistical Survey Operations – United in support of our rights

PSAC at Statistical Survey Operations - United in support of our rights

It seems like Stats Canada is abandoning its “no layoff policy” because of the possible budget cuts courtesy of Mr. Harper. Policy or not, our collective agreement requires the employer to look to attrition to accomplish any reduction in workforce. Stats Canada has to make every effort to avoid laying off PSAC members working as Interviewers and Senior Interviewers in regional offices.

These protections are in our collective agreement; we will enforce them!

For more information, download this bilingual poster from the PSAC. Better yet, print some off and share them with your members!

SSO Bargaining

SSO Bargaining

The PSAC has prepared bargaining packages; Statistics Canada has 20 days to respond.

This past Thursday, November 24, the PSAC bargaining teams for the Regional Office and Field Interviewer bargaining units served Statistics Canada with official notices to start negotiations. They have 20 days to respond.

Recently, the PSAC has made great strides in terms of winning rights and protections for part-time, seasonal and other workers that have not traditionally been guaranteed hours of work.

Now it’s our turn. Together, we can make Statistical Survey Operations a better place to work.

If you have any questions, please speak with your Union Representative or a member of our
bargaining teams, or go to www.psac.com.

pdf Download and print this bilingual flyer – share it with other members!

Message from the National President – Tentative Agreements with Treasury Board

Daniel KinsellaDear Brothers and Sisters,

Your bargaining teams have recently reached tentative agreements for the EB, PA and SV groups. Many of you have undoubtedly read about the changes that would be adopted under these tentative agreements. Some changes are straightforward; the bargaining teams were able to secure wage increases, enhanced severance pay for layoff situations, better protection for term employees and more flexibility in times of bereavement or to attend to family-related responsibilities. That being said, a proposed change to voluntary severance pay on retirement and resignation is slightly more complex. As a member, you will soon have the opportunity to vote on your group’s tentative agreement. Therefore, in order to make an informed decision, we highly encourage you to familiarize yourself with what’s in your tentative agreement.

In addition to getting informed, members should ask themselves the following question: given the current economic and political climate, not to mention Prime Minister Harper’s “I make the rules” approach to governing, can we do better by waiting until next year for our regular bargaining?

As President of the National Component and a member of the National Board of Directors, I fully support the ratification of these tentative agreements. A number of factors were taken into account during the negotiations. However, first and foremost, the membership’s best interest was always our prime consideration.

The process by which these tentative agreements were reached was a result of exploratory talks between the PSAC and the Treasury Board. Late last summer, the Treasury Board approached the Union to engage in talks in advance of the regular collective bargaining process. The PSAC agreed, believing that we had an obligation to attempt to defend and further our members’ interests. PSAC President John Gordon remarked that this process would “provide economic certainty and improve working conditions for our members in this difficult economic climate.” The bargaining teams from the last round of collective bargaining were called back to the table to serve our members’ interests during this expedited process. While wage increases were a focus of negotiations, the teams were equally focused on addressing long-standing issues of concern to the membership at each table.

We are aware that the changes to severance pay have garnered much attention and debate in the media, in the labour movement and among you and your coworkers. Let me be clear on this: the bargaining teams would not have agreed to – nor would they have supported – a tentative agreement that would not be in the best interest of the membership, both in the short term and in the long term. Taking into account the current economic and political environment, the union leadership concluded that larger gains could be secured in exchange for severance. It is important to note that severance pay will continue to accumulate for employees forced to leave the public service due to layoffs, death, termination on probation, incapacity or incompetence. Given the complex nature of this topic, I highly suggest carefully reading the Questions and Answers on Severance web page on the PSAC website.

While at first glance, the changes in severance pay seem like a huge a concession, the truth is that upon a more thorough analysis of the tentative agreement, many members will actually gain more in the short term and in the long term. Most importantly, the wage increases will provide members with greater financial security in this difficult economic period and more than offset the changes in severance. For example, an employee making a $52,000 salary would receive an increase of $2,777 by the end of the three year wage increase period, an amount that would continue to be paid year after year. This increase is substantially more than the $1000 that would have been accumulated in severance. Moreover, this wage increase has the additional benefit of increasing overtime pay and translates to higher pensionable earnings.

In closing, I wish to reaffirm my support, as well as the union leadership and the bargaining teams’ support, for the ratification of these tentative agreements. Given the government’s pressure to balance budgets, the general feeling of global economic uncertainty and countless austerity measures being put in place across the world as we speak, the union leadership feels that these tentative agreements offer better provisions than could be reached at a later date. If we factor in Mr. Harper’s growing habit of imposing his will on Canadians, I feel these provisions offer a better choice than the alternatives we may be forced to accept during regular bargaining.

In solidarity,

Daniel Kinsella
National President
National Component (PSAC)

For more information on the tentative agreements and upcoming voting dates and locations, please consult the following sections of the PSAC website:

Vote on Treasury Board dates and locations
What’s in the tentative agreements: overview
Questions and answers on severance
Questions and answers on the tentative agreements
EB – PSAC Reaches Tentative Agreement for EB
PA – PSAC reaches tentative agreement for PA
SV – PSAC Reaches Tentative Agreement for SV

Three tentative agreements reached with Treasury Board

As a result of the early exploratory talks initiated by the Treasury Board, the PSAC has reached three tentative agreements. As an opportunity to vote on these is fast approaching, the National Component wishes to encourage its members to get informed about the proposed changes.

The National Component strongly supports the bargaining teams’ recommendation to ratify these tentative agreements.

The PSAC’s website features comprehensive details of the tentative agreements reached for the three groups affected: EB, PA and SV. As the exploratory talks did not yield tentative agreements for the FB and TC groups, regular bargaining will take place in 2011.

For greater clarity, we also recommend that members peruse the Questions and answers on severanceand Questions and answers on the tentative agreements sections found on the PSAC website.

Important PSAC links:
Treasury Board bargaining
What’s in the tentative agreements: overview
Questions and answers on severance
Questions and answers on the tentative agreements

EB – PSAC Reaches Tentative Agreement for EB
PA – PSAC reaches tentative agreement for PA
SV – PSAC Reaches Tentative Agreement for SV

FB – An Open Letter to CBSA Workers from the PSAC FB Bargaining Team
TC – Message to TC Members from your Bargaining Team