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IBEW and NAV CANADA Open Pre-bargaining Discussions

Oct 6, 2016

Representatives of the IBEW recently completed a two-day meeting with NAV CANADA to discuss employee compensation in light of the recent reductions in customer service charges.  This meeting follows CEO Neil Wilson's April 8, 2016 invitation to begin bargaining well in advance of the expiry of the collective agreement (December 31, 2017).

Our meeting was not collective bargaining in a traditional sense nor is it intended to replace our usual approach to collective bargaining.  For example, neither party served notice to bargain on the other, neither side arrived with a list of proposals or specific collective agreement issues to resolve and the IBEW's team included Executive Board members (Shawn Liddicoat and Blaine Thomas) and full-time union representatives.  Rather the meeting --- facilitated by Federal Mediation-Conciliation Services (FMCS) --- was a brain-storming session   around a central question: what should employee compensation look like in the context of rate reductions?  Put another way, how should NAV CANADA's positive financial performance benefit all stakeholders as opposed to one?

It is too early to discuss the ideas in any level of detail but suffice to say the meeting generated many interesting approaches to employee compensation. Many of the ideas would benefit the bargaining unit in unconventional ways where others require further thought and consideration.  Nothing has been agreed to and we spent all our time on concepts rather than specifics.

All participants were unanimous in their support for the process and agreed to meet again in December.  Again, FMCS will be on hand to assist the parties.

In closing, I thank NAV CANADA for opening the conversation on an important topic and for doing it sooner rather than later.

In Solidarity,

Daniel J Boulet

Business Manager / Financial Secretary