Tag Archives: négo

Bargaining: TC group PIC report identifies wage gaps, allowances and occupational group structure as places for movement at the table

Bargaining

A positive Public Interest Commission (PIC) report has been issued for the TC group recommending the employer move on several important issues raised by your bargaining team. The report names a number of TC’s priorities such as closing wage gaps, parity with CFIA for EGs, increased allowances, and movement on the archaic classification system as areas where the employer can improve its offer. Though the report does not recommend everything in our proposals, its support of key issues demonstrates the union’s demands have been fair and reasonable.

Wage Gaps

Similar to the PA PIC report, TC’s PIC report points to general wage increases and special adjustments as being a major issue that has halted negotiations. It recommends the employer address wage rates if it expects to reach a tentative agreement with the TC group. PSAC expects a fair wage offer that does not require our members to buy allowances for some members out of the overall wage increases for all.

Parity with CFIA for EG Group

The PIC report acknowledged the wage discrepancy between those classified as EGs in the TC group and their counterparts at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). In 2018, your union signed an MOU with Treasury Board stating that there is no difference between EGs at CFIA and at those in the TC group. However, there is still a 3.3% salary gap between those different EGs. The PIC recommends that this gap be addressed.

Allowances

The PIC report recommends allowances for the following groups:

  • Transportation Inspectors at Transport Canada and the Transportation Safety Board
  • Fishery Officers
  • Environmental Enforcement and Wildlife Officers
  • EGs and TIs at fleet maintenance facilities and Workshop 202
  • Search and Rescue Coordinators and Hover Craft Crew members at Canadian Coast Guard
  • Labour Affairs Officers, and
  • Technical Inspectors at Measurement Canada

The report does not recommend specific amounts, nor suggests movement for all groups the union has tabled allowances for. However, PSAC welcomes the recommendation for movement on these specific allowances.

Occupational Group Structure

The PIC also recognized the importance of implementing new job evaluation standards. The employer has already missed several deadlines to put in place a new structure and classification system. Though the employer wants another extension until June 2021, the PIC recommends that the employer offer more and urges the employer to have new standards in place before the next round of bargaining. PSAC is seeking substantial penalties, payable from the beginning of 2020, for the employer failing to have the new standards ready for this round of negotiations.

Next steps

Although National President Chris Aylward has authorized strike votes for the TC bargaining unit, all strike votes are currently suspended until March 30. At that time the union will re-evaluate whether to continue the suspension or resume the strike votes.

Despite the suspension of votes, PSAC will continue to bargain for all units currently in negotiations.

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

FB bargaining: No evidence of ‘culture change’ at CBSA

Photo of a border services officer with the words bargaining - FB group

The FB bargaining team continued to push for greater protections against harassment and abuse of authority by management during negotiations with Treasury Board/Canada Border Services Agency March 9-12.

Yet despite buzzwords like promoting inclusion, respectfulness and the elimination of harassment in CBSA’s 2020-2021 Department Plan – unveiled this week ­– there was little evidence of a tonal shift on these or other issues at the bargaining table.

Our team made proposals to enhance protections against abuse of authority and harassment, but management still hasn’t agreed to any of these changes. CBSA is taking the position that language in our contract should continue to be limited largely to sexual harassment. We can’t accept this, as we believe our collective agreement should address all forms of harassment, not just sexual harassment.

We also spoke to our proposed expansion of protections against CBSA management’s heavy-handedness in dealing with our members – including discipline and the arbitrary removal of defensive equipment. There will need to be new protections on these issues in our collective agreement.

There can be no ‘culture change’ without real action

The departmental plan also refers to a long-term reduction in CBSA staff. Our members are already short-staffed and spread thin; PSAC-CIU are prepared to fight any move to reduce staff.

Lastly, the plan speaks of ‘leveraging technology to enable flexibility’, yet CBSA refuses to reinstate fair and reasonable telework practices for Trade Compliance Officers and other non-uniformed personnel.

With respect to wages, our review of recent law enforcement wage settlements across Canada is ongoing – including our monitoring of contract talks for a first collective agreement for RCMP officers. Our position has always been that FB 3s should be matched to RCMP 1st class constables.  In past rounds of bargaining, we’ve always reached agreements with full retroactive wage increases for our members. We have no intention of doing otherwise this round.

We’ll be returning to the table in early May and are in discussions for additional dates into the summer.

We’ll provide updates as bargaining continues. To review the package of proposals that we’ve tabled, and those of the employer, click here.

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

CIU members rally at Peace Arch border crossing

Peace Arch

With the employer still refusing to budge on meaningful improvements, our members are ramping up pressure to be treated fairly: After rallying in Saint John, N.B. at the beginning of the year, FB members are now mobilizing in B.C., where they gathered at the Peace Arch border crossing on February 5.

CIU-PSAC members are calling on the government to treat Border Services Officers with the respect they deserve by withdrawing concessions being put forward at the bargaining table.

What we want

  • We’re asking for a fair wage increase that keeps up with inflation, better protections for members from CBSA management, and improved work-life balance.
  • We’re asking the employer to support pension reform to allow retirement after 25 years of service without penalty, as is the case for other law enforcement agencies.

For a full list of our bargaining demands, please see this page.

For the latest FB bargaining updates, make sure to keep an eye on our FB bargaining section.

Peace Arch

Photo: Patrick Bragg

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.