Arbitral award on classification released
The arbitration panel appointed to settle outstanding issues in classification has released their award. The award represents a small victory for the union in that some members will see an adjustment effective September 1, 2009. The employer was proposing that an employee already at the top of their level for more than a year would not see their next increment until September 1, 2010.
In addition, the panel reduced the number of increments found in Level 1 from the employer’s proposal. This will allow employees to progress to the top of the level more quickly than the employer had proposed but still less quickly than we would have liked.
Where the decision falls far short of our request is the panel’s refusal to adjust the spread between the three levels as requested in our submissions. The employer argued strenuously against an adjustment to the top salary of Levels 1 and 2. The panel upheld the employer’s request to maintain a less than 10% difference between Level 1 and Level 2 yet allows a more than 17% spread between Level 2 and Level 3.
This is very unfortunate because it deprives many EL-5’s and almost all EL-6’s of any increase as a result of this new classification plan. We know that pattern bargaining will make it very difficult to normalize these wages in the future. Only time will tell whether this will have any impact on staffing and recruitment, but I suspect it will.
With the classification exercise finally complete, we can now focus our attention on collective bargaining.
Daniel J Boulet
Business Manager / Financial Secretary