Business Manager's Report
Local Union Financial Status
The Local posted a slight deficit in 2013 largely due to increased arbitration expenses and a one-time increase of salary costs owed to members and stewards working on behalf of the union. Although there is no cause for alarm (the Local maintains a significant reserve for exactly this reason) it is a situation that will not be ignored. Members are encouraged to review the detailed financial expenditures and audited report included with the Executive Board report.
NAV CANADA Activities
Collective bargaining in NAV CANADA is now complete and the agreement is in the members’ hands. The fact that an agreement was achieved with significant changes before its expiry is a significant accomplishment. Credit goes to the members of the negotiating team who demonstrated outstanding leadership throughout the entire process.
As part of the bargaining process, the Local was also able resolve an outstanding grievance with respect to the use of temporary employees. Although the agreement is not perfect, the majority of temporary employees have been able to find work. Moreover, the agreement ensures greater clarity about the use of temporary employees. The next few years will give the Local an opportunity to monitor the situation and, if necessary, propose additional measures in the next round of bargaining.
NAV CANADA will soon be introducing a drug and alcohol policy and many of the Local’s representatives and stewards participated in a series of cross-country briefings. The meetings were followed by a question and answer session which allowed for input into the policy. Indeed, our group is particularly impacted by the policy because of the extensive requirement for prolonged periods of standby assignments. This has already been discussed with the company and steps will be taken to ensure our members personal lives are not adversely affected by the policy.
You may have heard that Greg Myles retired as President of the Canadian Air Traffic Controller Association (CATCA). Greg’s departure created a vacancy on the NAV CANADA Bargaining Agents Association (NCBAA) and I was subsequently elected as Chair of the NCBAA and observer to the NAV CANADA Pension Committee. This is an important role because it is the focal point for NAV CANADA business affecting all bargaining agents. I appreciate the confidence shown in me by the other bargaining agent leaders.
The NAV CANADA Joint Council (NCJC) Allowances Committee completed a review of all allowances and programs and the changes have now been put into effect. There were no significant changes during this review. The Allowances Committee will now turn its mind to an editorial rewrite of the NAV CANADA Travel Program to ensure greater clarity of the program. This is similar to the process followed with the Relocation Program about a year ago.
Federal Government Activities
Activities with our Federal Government members have been just as interesting as we prepare for bargaining with our largest employer. Your Local Union leadership is taking a different approach in this round of bargaining. First, everyone recognizes the need to better educate members on the collective bargaining process. Years of binding arbitration has had the effect of disengaging the members from the process so there is a strong need to turn that around. This is even more important given the Local will likely be forced in a conciliation-strike dispute resolution process as a result of changes to the PSLRA. Regardless of what the negotiating team is able to achieve at the bargaining table, members will have the final say with respect to the content of their agreement.
To bridge the knowledge gap, the Local held two bargaining conferences. The first (last November) was with a small group of members and stewards. The purpose was to discuss the PSLRA, the collective bargaining process and get general feedback about our approach to bargaining. A larger meeting was held in March of this year to discuss specific approaches in bargaining given the employer’s position on sick leave, short-term disability and the changes to the PSLRA. Both meetings were invaluable and went a long way to build engagement with federal government members. A more detailed report is available on the Local’s website.
As it turns out we are not the only ones taking a different approach in bargaining. In an unusual move, the Treasury Board served notice to bargain on the union instead of the reverse. One can only assume the employer is anxious to reach an agreement on the issue of sick leave. However anxious they might be, the Local will not waiver from its traditional values to review all employer proposals in due course, seek outside counsel and assistance when necessary, and advance its own proposals with conviction and in good faith. This includes holding fast to proposals important to the members and ensuring the members get the best deal possible in a reasonable period of time. Whatever the outcome, unless the members are prepared to give away sick leave with little or no compensation, they should be prepared for a protracted round of negotiations.
Executive Board Activities
Your Executive Board recently completed a detailed review of the Local’s Policy Manual. The new Policy Manual is a revised and modernized version of current Local Union policies. To some members this may seem like a pointless administrative exercise but relevant and clear policies simplify decision making and ensure good governance. The new policy provides clearer boundaries for both the Executive Board and the Business Office. In the same vein, current policies in conflict with the IBEW Constitution or our own Bylaws have been corrected or removed.
All of which is respectfully submitted,
Daniel J Boulet
Business Manager / Financial Secretary