While COVID-19 did slow things down for a little bit, your bargaining committee is back at it, working hard on preparations. Your impassioned and energetic team has been meeting virtually and getting some great work done.
We previously made our position known to the employer that we are eager and want to get to the table immediately, this has not changed. The employer had a negotiator assigned to work with us but now, that person is retiring, and they are in the process of trying to hire someone else. Once they hire someone, it will take them a little bit to get familiar with our unique case.
We will keep at them on this. We need a collective agreement that will blend the CMs, PSs, IMs, and TOs and ensure that the disparity created by the employer is corrected while considering the unique needs of each group. There is no doubt, especially with what we have seen recently, about how critical to Canadians your work is. Our working conditions and contract must reflect this.
There is a perception that we are “ahead” of the National Police Federation (NPF) when it comes to who should sit at the table first because we certified before them. It does not work that way. Treasury Board, the employer, has several negotiators and they all work simultaneously. We are not assigned the same negotiators and each negotiation process proceeds at its own pace.
Comparing us with the NPF is like comparing apples and oranges when it comes to bargaining. While most of our working conditions and pay scales have historically been tied to the Regular Member in one way or another, we face the complexities of merging four different groups (CMs, PSs, IMs, and TOs) and correcting the disparity between the groups that was created by the employer. We need to be cautious and not rush. Preparation is paramount.
If the NPF negotiate or even complete their bargaining before us, it is not a bad thing for us. Since we have historically been linked to them, depending on what they work out, we may be able to more easily bargain some of the same items, using for example, “me too” clauses (really worth a Google).
The bargaining process is very complex and there are a lot of strategic considerations to ensure we get the very best contract. Even though we are not sitting at the table right now, every interaction we have with the employer is part of the bigger picture of bargaining. We are constantly negotiating one thing or another on your behalf and all of the points in the June Update message are examples of that.
We will keep everyone updated with the major milestones of the collective bargaining process. Please remember that bargaining in good faith involves a great deal of confidentiality. We cannot share specific points in the proposed agreement until it comes time for a ratification vote. We must also not publicly share priority items or negotiating strategies because then the employer would know what is most important to us.
If you have questions about the collective bargaining process or where we are at in that process, please contact your local steward.