Category Archives: négos

Phoenix damages, wage increases key to PA deal says Public Interest Commission

Bargaining

The government will need to offer PSAC members more Phoenix compensation and higher wage increases if they hope to reach a deal, recommends the Public Interest Commission (PIC) report on Treasury Board common issues and the PA group bargaining unit.

Despite this obvious conclusion, we know this government won’t budge unless we make them. That’s why we’ll need to continue ramping up our workplace action, up to and including a strike, until PSAC members get the Phoenix compensation and fair working conditions they deserve.

Strike votes are already underway for our members at CRA and in the coming weeks PSAC will announce when it intends to begin holding strike votes for the PA group and other bargaining units.

While the PIC’s recommendations aren’t binding, key findings from the report include:

Proper Phoenix compensation 

The PIC agreed with PSAC that reaching a fair Phoenix damages deal could be the “ultimate antidote” that paves the way to a deal. The PIC acknowledged that while other unions have set a pattern for compensation that includes five days of paid leave, as the largest bargaining agent, PSAC has the leverage to demand more.

Every PSAC member has suffered stress and anxiety because of Phoenix, even the small few that haven’t had pay issues. Many members have had to put their lives on hold; canceling parental leave, refusing new jobs, promotions or acting assignments and even delaying their retirement for fear of being Phoenixed.

That’s why we continue to demand equal, cash compensation for all PSAC members. When cashed-in, five days of  leave disproportionately rewards higher wage-earners at the expense of those who make less. That’s not fair, and you deserve better.

Fair wage increases  

The PIC recognizes our position that as the largest federal public sector union, PSAC has the bargaining power to negotiate a better wage settlement for our members.

The PA group alone has more members than all other federal public sector  unions combined, and the PIC noted that PSAC has historically not been tied down to the deals reached by those other unions.

Wage adjustments 

Because of the diverse membership of the PA group, the PIC recommended that Treasury Board should provide allowances for specializations within the PA bargaining unit that have been identified by PSAC.

Two sides still far apart 

The report also pointed out that the two parties are still so far apart in their positions but that some of the differences are not insurmountable. This reinforces PSAC’s position that Prime Minister Trudeau must give Treasury Board a new mandate and come back to the table ready to bargain fairly if they hope to prevent strike action.

Next steps 

Now that we’ve received the PIC report, we’ll continue to escalate our job action to pressure this government into negotiating a fair deal for PSAC members. Keep in touch with your regional office and sign up for PSAC’s newsletter to get the latest bargaining updates.

The original version of this article was first posted on the PSAC website.

TB bargaining – PA group and common issues: Government squanders mediation opportunity

Bargaining

Last week, mediation between Treasury Board and PSAC ended without a tentative agreement as government representatives refused to make progress on PSAC’s key demands. The session covered both common issues as well as those specific to the PA unit – 90,000 federal public service workers in Program & Administrative Services.

After four years of Phoenix problems, the employer didn’t come to the table ready to get to a deal, instead they arrived with the same proposals PSAC has been rejecting for months. 

PSAC is standing firm on our core demands, including fair wage increases, Phoenix-related demands, and the working conditions that make balancing family and work possible.

Unfair wages

The government is proposing wage increases of about 7% for the 2018-2021 period. This is below inflation, which is projected at about 8% for the same period. In order to meet inflation, the government wants us to forgo an additional 1% market adjustment meant to raise earnings for specific groups that are below industry averages, and instead use that 1% to increase the overall wage offer. It’s not fair for the Employer to ask all PSAC members to pay for market adjustments. It should be their responsibility.

To be clear, we won’t accept any offer that doesn’t keep up with the rising cost of living while also addressing group specific market adjustments.

Phoenix-related demands

The impact of the Phoenix pay system is a central issue on the bargaining table for each of PSAC’s federal public service bargaining units. To mitigate ongoing pay problems and avoid such debacle in the future, PSAC is asking for key provisions to be put into our collective agreements.

PSAC is demanding a penalty clause in the collective agreement so that members are properly compensated when they are not paid properly or on time. Also, we want an end to the recovery of overpayments before an employee’s pay issues are completely resolved. Although PSAC has secured a temporary agreement to halt this practice, we want this protection permanently included in our collective agreements.

PSAC is also seeking reimbursement for members who are forced to seek accounting and financial management counselling due to pay problems cause by the Employer.

Finally, to avoid future disasters, we are asking for more and proper consultation before any technological changes are put in place affecting our members.

Extended parental leave

PSAC has proposed that members choosing the newly extended 18-month parental leave option receive a 93% top-up for the entirety of the leave period (i.e., combined maternity and parental leave lasting 18 months). Currently, members opting for the extended parental leave option receive a 93% top-up for the first twelve months (i.e., combined and maternity and parental leave), followed by an Employment Insurance payment of 33% of their salary for the next six months of parental leave.

However, the government is insisting on a new formula that would provide members taking the extended parental leave with only a 55.8% top-up for the parental leave period. This is a major concession and a stunning proposal from a “feminist” government that claims to support improved work-life balance.

Workforce Adjustment

PSAC is proposing to recognize years of service in a WFA situation, so that those with seniority are prioritized for alternate positions. Besides, our proposal seeks to ensure that when an employee is deemed to be in surplus, a guaranteed reasonable job offer will be made within a 40-kilometer radius.

In contrast, the government wants to open the door wide to relocating workers in the event of a workforce adjustment. This would create situations where workers would have to either uproot and move their families or lose their jobs without access to the WFA options.

What’s next

PSAC’s answer to this latest insult by Treasury Board is simple: while the report from the Public Interest Commission should be tabled anytime soon, we’re moving forward towards workplace action and a strike mandate until a fair settlement is reached.

Keep an eye out in your workplaces for upcoming information sessions and strike training. And make sure you’re getting bargaining updates by email.

The original version of this article was first posted on the PSAC website.

FB Bargaining: Limited progress during second meeting

Photo of a BSO - Photo d'un ASF

The PSAC-CIU bargaining team representing the Border Services (FB) group met with Treasury Board/CBSA the week of February 25 for a second negotiating session towards a new collective agreement.

Harassment protections

In light of CBSA’s February 27 ‘Pink Shirt Day’ initiative to raise awareness about harassment in the workplace, the bargaining team reminded CBSA and Treasury Board that there are serious problems with abuse of authority and harassment by management in CBSA workplaces across the country. Considering these serious, ongoing problems, the union is looking for much greater protections against harassment from CBSA management in the next contract.

Telework

The bargaining team asked CBSA about its plans on telework and presented formal proposals for new collective agreement articles on the matter. PSAC-CIU has been pushing for years for greater access to teleworking opportunities for Trade Compliance officers and other non-uniformed personnel.

The team also reminded CBSA that, under the law, the Agency must consult the union and gain the union’s consent before moving forward with any changes in the current terms and conditions of employment. The Agency has effectively ignored the Treasury Board policy on telework for many years.

Maternity and Parental Leave

The union proposed a 93% top up for the new 18-month maternity and parental leave option introduced by the government in 2017. The employer rejected this but the bargaining team indicated it will continue maintaining this proposal.

Click here to review PSAC-CIU’s package of proposals as well as those of the employer.

The next negotiating session will be held the week of April 8. For more information visit psacunion.ca/fb

The original version of this article was first posted on the PSAC website.