Tag Archives: CIP

Public Interest Commission provides its recommendations for EB group

Bargaining

PSAC has now received the Public Interest Commission’s (PIC) recommendations on issues that are specific to the Education and Library Science (EB) group. The PIC’s recommendations on issues common to all Treasury Board groups will be made available when the Commission submits its recommendations for the Program and Administrative Services (PA) group.

While the PIC recommendations are non-binding, which means the union and/or the employer can accept or reject the recommendations, we are pleased to note that the PIC agreed with some of the union’s proposals specific to the EB group.

Wage parity with comparable jobs

While the PIC did not fully address all of our key demands around wage parity and adjustments, it recognized that the employer’s wage offer was inadequate for the two parties to reach an agreement.

New national rate of pay for teachers who work for 12 months (ED-EST)

The PIC also recommended that the new national rate of pay for 12-month teachers (ED-EST) be included in the new collective agreement. The PIC pointed out that a joint committee composed of both the employer and union representatives had already reached an agreement on a new national rate of pay and that this agreement should be implemented.

Allowance for union members who teach Indigenous languages

The PIC agreed with PSAC’s position that teachers who provide First Nation language instruction should be entitled to the specialization allowance. The Commission “was struck” by the fact that the union’s proposal aligns with the recommendations made by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and with the federal government’s Bill C-91, the Indigenous Languages Act.

Unfortunately, the PIC didn’t address many of PSAC’s proposals and even agreed to some of the employer’s concessions, such as on Education Leave Without Pay and Career Development. Other examples can be read in the full document on the PIC’s recommendations. In order to reach the fair deal that our members deserve, PSAC will continue to mobilize its membership through increased workplace action, up to and including a strike, until a fair settlement is reached. Stay up to date with the latest on bargaining by signing up for email updates.

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

SV bargaining: Government still focused on pushing concessions

Bargaining

PSAC’s SV bargaining team and government representatives were in three days of hearings at a Public Interest Commission (PIC) from January 22 to 24. Unfortunately, the government once again squandered the opportunity to address key member concerns and doubled down on a range of previously presented concessions that the union already rejected.

You can download PSAC’s SV PIC submission here and the government’s submission here.

PSAC presents improvements to contract

The bargaining team used the PIC opportunity to continue presenting proposals that address member concerns, including:

  • fair economic increases that keep up with inflation;
  • market adjustments to ensure members earn comparable wages to those of operational services workers external to the federal public service (e.g., firefighters, tradespersons, ships’ crews, and heating, power, and water treatment operators);
  • improvement to group-specific allowances;
  • various measures to improve work-life balance.

The government rejected all these proposals.

Instead, they doubled down of the following concession proposals: 

Reduced call back provisions

The government wants to reduce call back pay by giving itself the right to request that call back assignments be performed at home. In such situations, employees would no longer earn a minimum of three hours at the overtime rate of pay for each call back and instead be paid only for one hour at straight time or actual hours at time and a half, whichever is the greater.

PSAC rejects this proposal as it will create the expectation that problems in the workplace—for instance, those involving malfunctioning vessels, heating plants, building or freezer alarms, or water treatment systems—be addressed remotely. This would be dangerous and allow the government to forgo ‘eyes on the ground’ in high-risk situations in exchange for a shortsighted reduction in wage costs.

Weakening of Correctional Services Specific Duty Allowance (CSSDA)

The government’s proposal opens the door to excluding those who work outside of Correctional Service of Canada penitentiaries from receiving the CSSDA. The union does not accept this proposal as it denies the CSSDA to many members who interact with or are in proximity to offenders—for example, those working at facilities that operate offender training programs.

PSAC believes this change is unnecessary and will prevent workers that currently qualify for and receive the CSSDA from continuing to receive it.

Reduced notice for scheduling changes

The government is insisting on reducing the notice of schedule changes to just 48 hours. Currently, FRs are provided with a minimum of 96 hours-notice of schedule changes and those in the GL, GS, HP and HS groups are provided with seven days- notice. Under the proposed changes, members will only earn compensation at the rate of time-and-a-half if they are advised of new schedules within a 48-hour window.

Moreover, for those in the Ships’ Crew (SC) group covered by Annex E (Lay-day work system), whose schedules are normally set a year in advance and are given at least fourteen days (14) notice of any schedule change, the government wants to reduce the notice period to a mere 48 hours. Under this scheme, a worker could be out to sea for 28 days with little notice.

The union strongly rejects this regressive proposal, which would severely interfere with the work-life balance of many members and provide no compensation in situations where workers are required to significantly alter personal obligations, commitments, and plans.

Weakening of Inmate Training Differential Allowance Plan

The government proposed a single percentage rate of 7% for the allowance. This will result in a reduction in allowance for a third of members currently receiving the ITD.

PSAC rejects this proposal as it would amount to a major concession for many members. Furthermore, moving from the current tiered rate to single percentage rate would prevent the ITDA from recognizing the varying levels of responsibilities, skills, and stress associated with inmate training held by current recipients of the allowance. The existing provisions recognizes the number of offenders that a worker is responsible for and the associated work (i.e., training plans, training assessment, incident reports).

New cap on travel costs for firefighters

The government is seeking a targeted kilometric cap for firefighters in situations where it requires a firefighter to travel back in for an overtime shift from off-duty status. No other classification or occupation group faces such limitations.

The union will not accept this proposal. The government’s attempt to shift the burden of costs associated with overtime on to workers is unreasonable.

The PIC will likely issue its recommendations by late winter.

PSAC will continue to mobilize its membership through increased workplace action, up to and including a strike, until a fair settlement is reached. Stay up to date with the latest on bargaining by signing up for email updates.

What is a Public Interest Commission?

Under the law that governs contract negotiations in the federal public service, once impasse is reached at the bargaining table, a PIC is established to help the parties reach an agreement. The PIC is a panel of three people – a chairperson appointed by the Labour Board and nominees appointed by the union and management.

The union and the employer submit briefs and explain their positions on the outstanding issues at a hearing with the PIC. The PIC chairperson also has the option of convening additional talks. The PIC then issues a report with recommendations for settlement. The recommendations are not binding. Once the PIC releases its report, the union’s bargaining team will meet to discuss the recommendations.

Traditionally, following this, PSAC and government representatives have returned to the table to resume negotiations. We expect the SV group PIC report to be issued in winter 2020.

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

EB bargaining: No movement in PIC and mediation

Bargaining

The EB (Education and Library Science) bargaining team was in two days of hearings at the Public Interest Commission (PIC) followed by two days of mediation from Dec. 9 to Dec. 12. Unfortunately, there has been no progress in negotiations, as the employer is deeply entrenched in its own positions. An overview of regressive proposals affecting all core public service bargaining units is available here, while EB-specific proposals are highlighted below.

PSAC is committed to continue pushing for improvements and resisting concessions in the EB collective agreement.

The union is also disappointed that the government, with all the resources at its disposal, refused to provide a PIC submission in both official languages. You can download PSAC’s EB PIC submission in English and French and access the government’s English submission here.

Wage parity with comparable jobs

PSAC has proposed wage adjustments that keep up with the wages of other employees in comparable jobs both outside and inside the federal public service. In many cases, the wages of PSAC members in the EB group are lagging far behind those of other employees in similar positions. For example, elementary and secondary school teachers (ED-EST INAC) working in Indigenous reserves in Ontario are paid up to an average of 7.3% less than teachers working for the province’s school boards. And EB vice-principals are paid up to 22% less than those in Ontario school boards, while EB principals are paid up to 20% less than their counterparts in Ontario school boards.

The employer made an insulting counter-offer of wage adjustments totaling up to just 1% for these EB positions.

New national rate of pay for teachers who work for 12 months (ED-EST)

ED-EST 12-month teachers’ wages differ province-to-province, and the transition to a new national rate of pay has been a long-standing issue. PSAC has proposed a new national rate of pay for these teachers, and a joint committee composed of both employer and union representatives had previously reached an agreement to recommend a national rate of pay that would become the basis for negotiations.

However, the employer simply dismissed the union’s demand and the joint committee’s recommendations and is again offering monetary measures totaling just 1%.

Allowance for union members who teach Indigenous languages

PSAC tabled this proposal in recognition of the need to preserve and promote Indigenous languages. Both the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls call on the Federal government to invest in the preservation and revitalization of Indigenous languages. The Federal government itself has shown commitment to Indigenous languages when it passed the Indigenous Languages Act. The union believes that an allowance for Indigenous language teachers is a step in the right direction.

Unfortunately, the employer has refused to discuss this demand at the negotiating table.

Access to professional development

Currently, the employer is obligated to provide allowances in lieu of salary to employees taking education leave—at a minimum of 50% and up to a maximum of 100% of basic salary. The employer is demanding a concession that allows the employer the option to pay or not pay an allowance and that would bring the minimum allowances down to 0%.

PSAC is pushing back on this concession, arguing that the change will limit access to professional development given the possibility of the employee receiving no allowances in lieu of salary. The union further demands that professional development days be used primarily for academic initiatives rather than departmental training purposes.

Pedagogical break for 12-month teachers (ED-EST)

Recognizing that the workload of 12-month teachers can be very intense, PSAC has proposed that these teachers be given a break with pay annually from July 1 to July 9, including one designated paid holiday. Unlike 10-month teachers, these 12-month teachers do not have a spring break. The union is simply seeking the same benefit for 12-month teachers.

The employer has responded that this would be cost prohibitive, since they would have to hire replacement teachers.

Leave benefits and alternative work arrangements

PSAC is seeking improvements to leave benefits, including for family-related responsibilities, injury-on-duty, and education and career development. The union has also proposed that employees’ requests to work away from the employer’s premises not be unreasonably denied. It is the union’s position that these demands will help address the issue of work-life balance.

The employer has rejected all these demands and has offered no provisions that address work-life balance.

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

PA bargaining: Government rejects key improvements to contracts

Bargaining

During the Public Interest Commission (PIC) hearings held between December 4 and 7, the government presented a slew of negative proposals affecting members in the Program and Administrative Services (PA) group. An overview of regressive proposals affecting PSAC’s core public service bargaining units is available here, while PA-specific proposals are highlighted below.

PSAC is committed to rejecting concessionary proposals and to keep pushing for improvements in the PA collective agreement.

The union is also disappointed that the government, with all the resources at its disposal, refused to provide a PIC submission in both official languages. You can download PSAC’s full PIC submission in English and French and access the government’s English submission here.

Delays to new classification system and rejection of damages

PSAC wants to negotiate pay rates for the five new groups deriving from the much delayed modernization and restructuring of the PA unit. Despite numerous missed deadlines, the government says it needs an additional two years to map existing positions to the new classifications and refuses to negotiate these associated pay rates.

PSAC members are still waiting to be paid fairly, in accordance with an up-to-date and accurate gender-neutral evaluation of their work. In recognition of this, PSAC has proposed that the government pay each employee in the PA unit $333 per month in damages until the new classification system is established. The government has dismissed this proposal.

No incentives for recruitment and retention of compensation and benefits employees

Due to Phoenix, workers at the Pay Centre and its satellite offices are operating in a high-pressure environment with a massive workload. To help ensure employee recruitment and retention, the government had agreed to provide an incentive allowance, but refused to continue the practice in the summer of 2019. PSAC has proposed to re-introduce these incentives (i.e., a one-time payment of $4,000 to Compensation Advisors and a provision that all overtime is to be paid at double-time).

With over 200,000 Phoenix cases in the backlog, it is shocking that the government rejected this proposal.

Rejection of workload concerns for Parole Officers (WP) workers

PSAC’s members working as Parole Officers (WP) at the Correctional Service of Canada have been struggling with excessive workload issues for more than two decades. In a 2019 survey, more than 93% of Parole Officers said their case load was too heavy, characterized by an increasingly complex offender population due to substance abuse, gang violence and mental health issues. To address this, the union has made a series of proposals to ensure a safe and manageable caseload ratio.

The government rejected all proposals and has argued that workload concerns should not be addressed at the bargaining table.

No paid breastfeeding breaks for new mothers

PSAC has proposed two paid periods available to nursing mothers for breastfeeding or pumping milk in a safe and private location. The benefits of breastfeeding are well-established by numerous Canadian and international health organizations and PSAC believes employers should facilitate nursing for women who choose to do so.

The employer has dismissed this proposal as “unreasonable and impractical”, a remarkable position for a government that brands itself as advancing women’s interests.

No allowance for Indigenous languages at work

PSAC is proposing that employees who are required to speak or write in an Indigenous language as part of their duties be provided with an annual allowance of $1,015. The union believes this proposal is consistent with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, which seek greater recognition and support for Indigenous languages.

The government has dismissed this proposal.

No additional training and support for call centre workers

The federal government employs approximately 7,000 employees in call centre operations that serve Canadians seeking a wide range of services, such as Employment Insurance, the Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security. This work is challenging and involves speaking with clients who may be distressed or in crisis. To better support call centre workers, PSAC has proposed additional training to reinforce coping skills as well as crisis intervention.

The government has rejected these proposals and is instead proposing to deploy call monitoring—currently used for improving performance and providing feedback—for disciplinary purposes.

Reduced notice of shift change

The government wants to reduce the notice for changes to scheduled shifts from seven days to just 48 hours. Currently, a change imposed with less than seven days’ notice requires the worker to be paid at the rate of time-and-a-half. Under the government’s proposals, this higher rate of pay would only be triggered if changes to shifts are made with less than two days’ notice.

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

PA Group – Public Interest Commission: PSAC continues pushing for fair deal

Member with PSAC Flag

The Public Interest Commission (PIC) hearings for the Program and Administrative Services (PA) and common issues tables wrapped up this weekend. The hearings are the first of eight scheduled in the next few months for nearly 140,000 PSAC members who are still without a new collective agreement.

At the hearing, PSAC representatives put forward our demands for a fair contract that delivers reasonable wage increases and the working conditions that make balancing family and work possible.

Now that PSAC and the employer have provided their respective submissions, we can expect to see a report with the commission’s recommendations for a settlement early in the new year. But we won’t wait for this report to secure an agreement. Between now and then we’ll continue to negotiate and mobilize for the fair contract PSAC members deserve.

We’re going to continue pushing for a deal that provides fair wage increases that cover the rising cost of living, improvements to work-life balance, and equitable compensation for the Phoenix pay disaster.

Once the PIC report is issued, the PA group, which includes 71,000 members, will be in a position to take a strike vote if we still haven’t reached an agreement with Treasury Board on our outstanding issues.

We’ll continue to provide updates over the coming days and weeks, including a detailed analysis of the union and the employer’s submissions at the hearing.

The next PIC hearing – for the Education & Library Sciences (EB) group – takes place December 9-12 in Ottawa.

Read the submissions to the Public Interest Commission:

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