Tag Archives: PA

Strike votes for PA, SV, TC & EB bargaining units begin March 16

Union member protesting

PSAC National President Chris Aylward has authorized strike votes for members of the PA, SV, TC and EB bargaining units following the release of the Public Interest Commission (PIC) report last week.

More than 90,000 members of the four bargaining units will have an opportunity to vote at strike meetings to be held from March 16 to May 7, 2020. Strike votes for the 27,000 members of the Canada Revenue Agency bargaining unit are already underway.

“PSAC bargaining teams need a strong strike mandate from members to force Treasury Board to come back to the bargaining table with a new mandate so that we can get a fair settlement quickly,” said Aylward.

Aylward noted that the Public Interest Commission (PIC) report on common issues made it clear that to reach a deal the government will need to offer PSAC members more Phoenix compensation and a wage increase in line with the cost of living. The report also highlighted the need to address compensation gaps and recruitment/retention challenges for those groups that are underpaid relative to comparable groups inside or outside the federal public sector.

The government’s current offer falls short on all fronts. They have yet to table wage increases that would ensure rises in the cost of living are met, and their Phoenix compensation proposal remains meagre and unequal across the public service.

“The threat of a strike will give the employer the nudge it needs to avoid more disruption during their minority government,” said Aylward.

“That’s why we urge all PSAC members to vote yes.”

In the coming weeks members will receive notices of strike vote meetings via email and through your locals and regional offices. The information will also be posted on the front page of the national website, as well on PSAC regional websites.

Please check out the following link if you would like more information on strike votes and strike action. We’ll be adding more information in the days ahead to answer a wide range of questions so make sure to check back.

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

TB bargaining: PSAC heads into mediation for PA group and common issues

Bargaining

PSAC’s bargaining team representing 90,000 federal public service workers in the Program & Administrative Services (PA) unit has agreed to mediation on January 16 and 17.

The session is being convened by the Public Interest Commission (PIC) and will cover both common issues as well as those specific to the PA unit (information for the other Treasury Board units will be forthcoming).

PSAC and the government presented their respective bargaining positions at a PIC hearing on December 4-7.

PSAC will provide an update on the mediation session once it is complete.

What is a Public Interest Commission (PIC)?

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 PIC reports to be issued in 2020.

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.

Occupational Group Structure: an update on the classification process

Stairs

The Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer, part of the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, has been working to modernize several classification groups in the core public service. This work is intended to align classification groups, many of which are decades old, with the work of today’s public service. PSAC is ensuring that consultation takes place and that our members are kept informed throughout the process.

Classification is necessary to determine the relative value of one job in relation to other jobs in the public service, for the purposes of pay. Classification systems must operate without sexual bias and be capable of measuring the relative value of all jobs in the same establishment.

Classification Standards must assess skilleffortresponsibility and working conditions, to ensure compliance with the Canadian Human Rights Act.

Your current rights will be protected regardless of the outcome of this process. This means no one will suffer a reduction in salary due to their classification potentially being converted to a lower wage level. You will be guaranteed to remain at your current salary (this is enshrined in the collective agreement as Salary Protection Status). This protection will apply until the position is vacated. In addition, as wages for your new classification exceed your current salary, your pay will be increased to the new classification levels.

Finally, the policy grievance we filed against Treasury Board for contravention of the timelines for the implementation of the Occupational Group Reform is proceeding with hearing dates planned for December. Stay tuned for updates!

  • Treasury Board says implementation date of the new job evaluation standards is between 2020 to 2022.
  • The Computer Systems (CS) group will change to a new occupational group called Information Technology (IT)
  • The Program and Administrative Services (PA) group will be restructured to *five new sub-groups:
    • 1. PA-PVO (Program and Service Operations) = CR, AS, PM-01, PM-02, AS-01 and AS-02
    • 2. PA-EAA (Executive Administrative Assistant) = AS, CR and ST largely excluded
    • 3. PA-PDM (Program Development and Administration) = AS-03 to AS-07, PM-03 to PM-07
    • 4. PA-RHB (Rehabilitation and Reintegration) = WP
    • 5. PA-CMN (Communications) = IS

*The mapping of actual positions to sub-groups has not taken place yet. Updates will be provided once the mapping exercise is underway.

  • A new Comptrollership (CT) group will be created to bring together work in the areas of financial management, as well as external and internal audit.

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