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Business Manager's Report - Fall 2010

Oct 13, 2010

This report will be shorter than most due to the timing of the Executive Board meeting and the fact that it covers the period of the summer months. In spite of this, there are a few important things to report.

NAV CANADA Collective Bargaining

First, I’m pleased to report that the union’s negotiating team and the company successfully reached a tentative agreement on September 13, 2010. The agreement includes wage increases similar to those obtained by other groups and improvements in contract language in many areas. It also lays the foundation for more dialogue between the union and the company on three important subjects: occupational safety and health, competency and technological change.

This agreement is subject to ratification by the members and the vote is scheduled for the middle of October. Both the union and the company are recommending the agreement to their principals.

Federal Government Bargaining

Your federal government team met near the end of July to finalize the union’s collective bargaining proposals. We are scheduled to exchange proposals with the employer on October 15, 2010 with bargaining set to begin in December. Members should check the website regularly for updates.

Case Management

In my last report to the Executive Board, I reported that we had installed and setup a computerized case management system. The purpose of the system is to aid in tracking the Business Office caseload, have up-to-date information available for members when they call about their cases and to ensure more effective communication among Business Office staff. Here is a first look at the information available as of September 30, 2010:

  • The union had a total of 66 cases open among its three employers, NAV CANADA, Government and Brookfield Power. NAV CANADA had the most cases open with 38 followed by the Federal Government with 27 and Brookfield Power only a single case;
  • The time taken to resolve complaints and grievances remains quite high. The average “age” of each case is 199 days. This appears to vary considerably by employer. For example, the average age of the NAV CANADA cases (235 days) is considerable higher than our government cases (151 days). A close inspection of the data shows two possible reasons for this. First, one of the NAV CANADA cases has been open more than 3 years pending the outcome of collective bargaining. When this case is taken out of  the picture, the average age is reduced to 208 days from 235 days. Second, some of the government cases were initiated years ago but they were only recently entered in the database therefore the “age” of the case may not be accurately reported. The information will be more accurate as we continue to use the system;
  • Slightly more than half of the cases open involve the interpretation or application of the collective agreement (37). The remainder of the cases are more or less evenly distributed between other categories such as “Assignment of Duties”, “Discipline and discharge”, “harassment”, “job classification” etc.

The new report will include information for the period of October 1, 2010 to March 31, 2011.

Coming and Going

Finally, I want to formally recognize Chris Davies’ efforts as the union’s first Business Representative. Chris will be leaving us at the end of December and it’s worth reflecting on the impact Chris has had in his region. Chris took on cases and challenges the union would not have had the time to pursue under our old model. Moreover, he forced both of our employers to confront workplace issues they would have preferred to ignore. Chris helped us prove that having regionally based Business Representatives is a workable model for this Union.

The search for Chris’ replacement is underway. I expect to be able to make an announcement before the end of November.

Regards,

Daniel J Boulet
Business Manager / Financial Secretary