Negotiating team prepares for final meeting (correction)
It has been several weeks since the last update and I want to take this opportunity to give members a status report on where we are at and next steps to be taken to resolve the collective agreement.
Near the end of August members voted to resolve the collective agreement through "binding conciliation" under S. 182 of the PSLREA. This has never been done before but it offers advantages over other methods specified in the Act. However, before we can proceed, we need to establish the terms of reference by which binding conciliation will take place. We first sought the advice of the Local's external counsel then presented a proposal to the Treasury Board for their review. (We can't move forward without TBS agreement.)
Our proposal, delivered to the Treasury Board earlier at the end of September, replicates as closely as possible both the conciliation process normally available under the Act. It also lays out a framework for the final and binding arbitration of outstanding matters following the conciliation phase.
While we wait for the Treasury Board's reply, your negotiating team is making plans to meet TBS one last time from November 29nd to December 1st. The purpose of this meeting is two-fold: make as much progress as possible on the issues critical to the union as well as narrow as much as possible the items in dispute. This is an essential step prior to a final and binding process. An agreement voluntarily reached is always better than one imposed.
Government members have the right to be frustrated and upset with their employer and the collective bargaining process. Not only is decision-making at the TBS is highly centralized, the employer's unrealistic mandate (no meaningful wage increase and elimination of sick leave) created an environment where no agreement was even possible. This round of bargaining was setup to fail.
Notwithstanding all the above, your negotiating team is committed to getting the best possible agreement that can be reached in the circumstances. But we can't do it alone. Your support is crucial as we enter this final phase.
Daniel J BouletBusiness Manager / Financial Secretary