Business Manager's Report - Fall 2015
Federal Government Negotiations
Federal government bargaining was put on hold this summer pending the outcome of the federal election. It was the logical course of action given how politicized and poisoned the relationship had become. More importantly, the Employer was offering nothing in return for the significant changes they demanded in sick leave. Sitting back and waiting is seldom a good strategy but this is one case where your union, indeed all unions, thought it best to ride out the summer and wait for October 19.
Absent formal meetings between the employer and the union, we kept the lines of communication open with informal discussions. We spoke openly about each other’s priorities and set meeting dates for the future.
With the election out of the way and a new government sworn in, we look forward to meeting with an employer that understands mutual agreements are better in the long term (and are the most sustainable). Imposing one’s will on another works for a while but seldom for the long term – witness the results of the recent election.
Therefore, the union will convene a meeting of its negotiating team in December with formal face-to-face meetings with the employer in January.
Our relationship with NAV CANADA continues to be productive and we are working through the challenges implementing the pension agreement agreed to in the last round of bargaining. The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OFSI), Canada’s regulator of federal pension plans, has yet to give their blessing and informally told us that the changes NAV CANADA and the unions are seeking would not be approved as presented. This is a setback because settling the “pension issue” is a major priority for all concerned.
This delay is the reason for the contract extension reached with other groups. Your Executive Board instructed me to seek the same extension with the hope of buying time and reaching a successful outcome with OSFI. I cannot speak for NAV CANADA management but do not think anyone is very anxious to make pensions the subject of extensive collective bargaining.
Aside from the pension issue, we are continuing to work with NAV CANADA to resolve grievances (though there are few) and improve the working relationship at all levels. Members (particularly in ATM Technical Operations) will see dramatic changes to the technology and your Joint Technical Committee is working in earnest to ensure the changes are known and communicated well in advance. Everyone expects workload to drop in the long term so the challenge is to ensure members remain productively employed and engaged.
Finally, NAV CANADA and the IBEW are organizing a major union-management consultation committee meeting to be held in February 2016. Stewards, Business Representatives and line managers will be invited to attend. The agenda is under development but stewards will be receiving additional information from the business office.
IBEW International Convention
September 2016 marks the 125th anniversary of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. This is a major milestone for one of North America’s greatest trade unions. This Convention will be held in St. Louis, Missouri the birthplace of the IBEW in 1891.
The number of delegates that Local Union may send is based on that Local’s membership numbers. It is expected that Local 2228 will be sending seven delegates (our usual compliment). Delegates are determined by a general membership vote and any individual that has been a member in good standing for at least two years is eligible for nomination. The election will take place in the spring of 2016 and the Recording Secretary will communicate nomination and election procedures in the weeks to come.
Local Union Policy Manual
No one ever gets excited about policy manuals but I am pleased to report that the members approved our new manual. Rewriting our policy manual was a huge undertaking taking several months. It is important to have policies that are plainly worded, easy to understand but most importantly contemporary. Gone are the days of having to approve the purchase of briefcases and file cabinets. Rules that were in conflict with the Constitution and Bylaws have been removed. Few of the policies actually changed but the outline of the manual is more logical and easy to understand. More importantly, the policy manual is now available on the Local Union website so that all members can become familiar with the rules of procedure and the manner in which we govern ourselves.
In conclusion, members can look forward to increased activity as we negotiate a contract extension with NAV CANADA and work towards a ratified collective agreement with the federal government.
All of which is respectfully submitted,
Daniel J Boulet
Business Manager / Financial Secretary