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Highlights of Tentative Agreement

Nov 29, 2013

As is our practice, the negotiating team set certain goals for itself in this round of bargaining.  One was to improve compensation for all members but particularly new employees who were unlikely to have the same pension benefits as current members.  Another was to address ongoing demand for increases in premiums given the hardship created by the working conditions.  Third, the team sought to make it easier for members to manage their work-life balance.  And finally, if conditions permitted, we wanted to reach an agreement prior to the expiry date of the contract.

The negotiating team believes all these goals were met to a greater or lesser degree.  However, they also struggled with the conflicting nature of some of these demands and the environment in which we find ourselves.  And so what follows is the result of the difficult decisions faced by the negotiating team.

The complete memorandum of settlement is available here with changes agreed to in bargaining (English only).  The highlights of the settlement are as follows:

Wages and pension

  • Wage increases matching gains arbitrated or negotiated with five other unions;
  • Top increment of TEC-2 level now fully pensionable; and
  • New employees hired after January 1, 2014 enter into Plan "B" portion of NCPP.

Overtime and time off in lieu of overtime (TOIL)

Effective April 1, 2014 substantially improved access to double-time in exchange for limits on banking time off in lieu.  Specifically:

  • Freeze on accumulation of TOIL earned outside the headquarters area (existing balances remain in place and value increases with salary);
  • New TOIL bank capped at 75 hours in a vacation year (may not be replenished and carry over permitted only in special circumstances);
  • All members may now bank weekend, shift and standby premiums (as part of the 75 hours TOIL bank);
  • First 50 hours of overtime worked compensated at time-and-a-half (1.5X) with all remaining overtime in the vacation year to be paid at (2X);
  • No reduction to existing entitlements to double-time (2X);
  • Overnight travel premium remains separate with no changes to current rules.

Staffing, qualifications and protection of bargaining unit work

  • Lifting of restrictions on lateral transfers (training and out-of-ACC) for the life of the collective agreement;
  • NAV CANADA and IBEW Joint Competency Committee to co-develop approach to competency-based staffing;
  • Improvement to definition of basic qualifications thereby strengthening minimum standards;
  • Introduction of strict education standards for hiring of new technologists for the life of the collective agreement; and
  • Improvements to protect work of bargaining unit in cases of contracting out and assignment of work to other bargaining unit.

Binding Arbitration Selected

Prior to any substantive discussions, the union and the company had to resolve the thorny issue of dispute resolution.  In the two previous rounds of bargaining NAV CANADA members were asked (as part of the ratification process) which dispute resolution they would prefer if the tentative agreement failed.  This approach was taken with the mutual consent of the union and the company and satisfied the requirement of the Canada Labour Code (Maintenance of Activities).  Prior to the commencement of this round of bargaining NAV CANADA asked for agreement to use binding arbitration so that the dispute resolution mechanism would be known in advance in what was proving to be a difficult round of bargaining with all unions.   The negotiating team and Executive Board deliberated over this request for some time.  In the end, I recommended that the Executive Board approve binding arbitration on your behalf as the dispute resolution process in the event we reach an impasse or the tentative agreement fails.  However, your Executive Board also requested I approach NAV CANADA to see if they would be willing to begin talks on Maintenance of Activities in advance of the next round of bargaining.

Conclusion

Once again, members are faced with a difficult decision but it is a choice only they can make.  For their part, the negotiating team fully recommends acceptance of this agreement.  It provides for substantial increase in compensation for many members while making earned time off available to a greater number of members.  Members are encouraged to contact me or any member of the negotiating team with any questions.  A question and answer sheet will be posted shortly and should address the more common questions.

In Solidarity,

Daniel J Boulet

Business Manager / Financial Secretary