Business Manager's Report - Spring 2012
NAV CANADA Collective Bargaining
I’m pleased to report that the Local successfully negotiated another agreement with NAV CANADA without resorting to a third party resolution. Moreover, the agreement was reached in relatively few number of days of face-to-face meetings with the employer. This is a testament to two things: the lengths at which NAV CANADA will go to improve engagement and the professionalism and preparation of the union’s negotiating team.
Rest assured, this round was far from easy. The decision to exchange the remaining severance benefits for a greater benefit for all members was very difficult – and controversial. But it also proves that the members through the ratification process chose to benefit the group rather than themselves as individuals. For those who doubted whether solidarity existed among IBEW members in NAV CANADA – doubt no longer. The proof is in the agreement.
Federal Government Bargaining
I can finally report that the end is in site for this round of bargaining. We are scheduled to present our case to a board of arbitration on June 26 and 27. I expect a decision to follow before the end of the summer.
Nothing more can be said about this round of bargaining. I’m encouraging the negotiating team member to think carefully about what could have been done differently (if anything) to avoid what can only be described as the most dysfunctional round of bargaining experienced by our group. I look forward to hearing their report and making any necessary adjustments in our approach.
It may be that no adjustments are required. We followed an approach that served us well in the past and has proved successful with other groups. But this round serves as a reminder that outcomes in collective bargaining are not entirely within our control.
Online Bargaining Proposal Tool
Work is well underway on a web-based bargaining proposal tool. With this tool, members will be able to submit proposals directly into a secure database administered by the union. The tool is flexible and will be configured to accept proposals for changes to collective agreements, National/NAV CANADA Joint Council directives and programs, OSH or any other issue where long-term collection and tracking of problems essential. It is designed to permit members to submit proposals easily and quickly as well as attach documents supporting the proposal. Our bargaining history will be easier to maintain because bargaining proposals can easily be carried from one round into another without the research being lost or misplaced.
Moreover, the tool creates a greater role for Executive Board members who will be responsible for chairing various steering committees in their region. It will also make the work of steering committees much easier than it has been in the past. With the ability to rank proposals using various criteria and the ability to merge similar proposals, I fully expect that our steering committees meetings with be shorter, more effective and yield better proposals.
The Local financial strength improved since last year. The downward trend reported last fall has turned around with a significant increase in the local's net assets.
Although the increase is positive news, it partly a result of stalled negotiations at the Treasury Board. Moreover, the full cost of the arbitration will not be known until later this year. It is likely to have an impact on our finances.