The Labour Board has set dates for Public Interest Commission (PIC) hearings for four Treasury Board bargaining tables:
- Program and Administrative Services (PA): December 4-7, 2019
- Education and Library Sciences (EB): December 9-12, 2019
- Technical Services (TC): December 17-19, 2019
- Operational Services (SV): January 22-24, 2020
Once a hearing has taken place, a PIC report is generally issued within 30 days. After the reports are issued, each bargaining unit will be in a position to strike if members vote to walk off the job.
The PIC process began when bargaining reached an impasse in May.
In negotiations, the government insisted on a wage cut once inflation is factored in as well as a waiting period of up to 18 months after contract signing for retro pay. At the same time, the government rejected our proposals to improve working conditions by:
- implementing market adjustments where pay discrepancies exist;
- providing a full top-up for the new 18-month parental leave option;
- reducing contracting-out and precarious work in the public service; and
- better addressing mental health in the workplace.
What is a Public Interest Commission (PIC)?
By law, once impasse is reached, 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 then issues a report with recommendations for settlement. The recommendations are not binding.
Once the PIC releases its report, PSAC bargaining teams will reconvene to discuss the recommendations. Typically, PSAC’s teams and government representatives then return to the table to resume negotiations.
Will we strike?
Regardless of which party forms government after the fall federal election, PSAC will continue pressing for a fair deal that addresses members’ demands. However, if PSAC and the government are still unable to reach an agreement after the PIC reports are issued, members will have the opportunity to take a strike vote.
History has taught us that the best way to avoid strikes is to prepare for one. Therefore, PSAC will ensure that strike training is offered to members in the coming months.
PSAC will also provide updates on the PIC process and other bargaining developments as appropriate.
The original version of this article was first posted on the PSAC website.