Government Bargaining – Update #1
The long, slow march to a fair collective agreement has officially started. It began on May 1, 2014 when—for the first time ever—the Employer served notice to bargain on the union. This is the clearest sign that the government is anxious to reach a collective agreement (but unlikely one that would please the members).
More recently, the union’s National Steering Committee recently concluded a two-and-a-half day meeting to review your proposals. These proposals will be finalized and a formal package will be prepared when the negotiating team meets again in Ottawa from July 15 to 17 for more preparation and training.
The union’s and employer’s proposals will be made public following the formal exchange with the employer currently scheduled for August 20, 2014. At this meeting the employer is expect to present their demands on sick leave. In addition to this, the parties are scheduled to meet September 23 to 25 as part of the normal bargaining process.
Unless members are willing to agree to the annihilation of their sick leave benefits, they should prepare themselves for a protracted round of bargaining. The Conservative government made it clear that your sick leave entitlements are free game to be targeted at will.
This bargaining environment provides two important lessons. First, no member should take their benefits for granted. Whatever has been gained over the years can be lost. Second, the collective strength of a union (the members) is the best defence against this assault on your terms and conditions of employment.
In closing, members can expect regular postings following each meeting with the employer. The level of detail will vary depending on the meeting and progress of negotiations but rest assured the negotiating team will share what it can, when it can, as soon as it can. And if anything is unclear, I encourage you to contact me. More than ever, it is important for members to stay informed.
Daniel J BouletBusiness Manager / Financial Secretary