May 23, 2012
Ottawa, ON - Striking workers at Fredericton International Airport Authority (FIAA) agreed to remove the picket line to allow HRH Prince Charles and Camilla, to visit Fredericton, NB on Sunday May 20th.
As a result of a phone call with Premier David Alward, workers at FIAA agreed to allow the visit. In return the Premier agreed to contact members of FIAA’s board to ask that they return to the bargaining table.
“We could have been difficult but our members saw the importance of the Royal visit to the people of Fredericton“, said Christine Collins, National President of the Union of Canadian Transportation Employees (UCTE). “All we want is to negotiate fairly and respectfully with the employer.”
Employees have been on strike for almost 4 months now and have been without a collective agreement for over three years.
The employer’s recent request to the Canadian Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) to intervene on the strike was denied last week. The employer cited that the strike was ineffective and wanted the CIRB to force a single arbitrator to choose one package or the other. The Union argued that an “all or nothing” approach was too heavy handed and that we wanted to continue negotiating in good faith. The CIRB agreed.
“The workers still want a negotiated collective agreement and have clearly shown their good faith in bringing down the picket line at the request of the Premier. I hope that the Premier can convince the employer to return to the table and negotiate in good faith”, said Collins.
We are providing this update to clarify any misinformation that may exist about the NAV CANADA Pension Plan (NCPP).
For some time now, NAV CANADA has been engaged in discussion with the Nav Canada Bargaining Agents Association (NCBAA) about changes to the NCPP including indexation. The ultimate goal of these discussions has been to solve the “pension problem”. The “pension problem” is the volatility of the solvency liabilities and associated contributions NAV CANADA is required to make.
The NCBAA continues to engage the employer in discussions about pension plan reform. The purpose of this is to determine, in a non-prejudicial forum, whether a suitable arrangement could reached for consideration by the various Unions. To date this has not been achieved.
The principle activity in these discussions has been focused on ways to limit the volatility that comes with solvency calculations as prescribed by law. It appears that to accomplish this goal we must improve the pension benefit in several ways that would create a benefit that is the same or better than what we enjoy today.
With respect to any proposed changes, members can expect to receive more information if and when an agreement is finalized. In the end, it will be the members of the Pension Plan that have the final say on any proposed changes to the Plan.
Please rest assured that we are doing everything possible to protect the best interest of the membership. No deal will be finalized until all members have had their say.
- There is no agreed to “deal”.
- Any proposal must be “as good as or better” or it will be rejected.
- Any proposal must go to the UCTE National Executive for assessment and agreement to proceed.
- Any proposal must go to full membership ratification.
(Ottawa) The Public Service Alliance of Canada has confirmed that 598 of its members are among the 1,072 Department of Fisheries and Oceans workers being told today that they could lose their jobs. It isn’t known yet how many of these workers will be laid off or how many positions will be cut.
The Canadian Coast Guard is hardest hit: of the 1,072 notices, 763 are going to Canadian Coast Guard workers, 460 of whom are PSAC members represented by the Union of Canadian Transportation Employees.
“On the one hand we have a government putting on a show to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Canadian Coast Guard, and on the other we see it closing offices and shutting down search and rescue,” said Chris Aylward, PSAC National Executive Vice-President.
The government says it will shut down Vancouver’s Kitsilano search and rescue station which responds to hundreds of emergency calls a year. The station is located in Canada’s largest port which is crowded with recreational and commercial shipping and boating traffic.
“This is the third search and rescue station this government has shut down after St. John’s and Quebec City,” said Christine Collins, National President of the Union of Canadian Transportation Employees. “It says it will amalgamate that operation with the Sea Island Station in Richmond, but that means longer response times which can mean the difference between life and death.”
The Canadian Coast Guard’s regional offices are being reduced from five to three, meaning a large number of notices went to administrative workers in Sarnia, Dartmouth, the National Capital Region, St. John’s, Quebec City and Vancouver.
About 25 ships’ crew workers are among those affected in Vancouver and Quebec City. Collins says that doesn’t include another 100 or so ships’ crew term workers who will also lose their jobs.
“It takes five to six years for ships’ crew workers to earn enough hours to get indeterminate status, and now we see so many of these workers, who have waited for years for job security, finding out they won’t have a job,” said Collins. “This is an insult to those workers, especially while the government claims to be celebrating the Coast Guard.”
Many UCTE members with the Canadian Coast Guard have or will soon receive the National Model Work Description for your position. Your work description should also be accompanied by a point rating allotted by factor to your position, as well as a copy of the organization chart depicting your position’s place in the organization. You should also receive the notice of classification for your revised work description.
Please find attached grievance wording and other information reflecting various scenarios in which you should be able to identify your situation.
|WD, class and AP grievances.doc||34.5 Ko|
April 20, 2012
Today PSAC filed a policy grievance against Parks Canada over its voluntary layoff program which violates the Workforce Adjustment Appendix (WFAA) of the collective agreement.
The grievance demands that the agency negotiate a voluntary program with the union that meets the requirements of Appendix K, the WFA Appendix.
On March 30th, the day after the federal budget, Parks Canada sent a message to all employees inviting them to volunteer to be considered for lay-offs. Employees had until April 10th to enter the program.
The PSAC has always supported the idea of a voluntary process to reduce or eliminate involuntary lay-offs. But we want it done in accordance with the WFAA. After the March 30 notice we reminded them.
But the agency has sent employees a second form asking them to confirm that they wish to volunteer for lay-off.
It's the content of this form that has the union filing the policy grievance.
The second form gave employees only a few days (until April 20th) to confirm their decision, and told them their decision was irrevocable.
Management's process has left hundreds of Parks employees confused about their choice, without access to critical and accurate information such as the impact of their decision on pension and severance.
Appendix K gives employees 120 days to make a final decision about their choices under the workforce adjustment process.
It provides a detailed outline of the information and advice that they employees are entitled to before making decisions.
The policy grievance demands that the Agency immediately suspend the program and negotiate with the union to set up a voluntary program that respects Appendix K.
It calls upon the Agency to set aside the forms gathered to date, without any repercussions for employees that have submitted their name for the program.
Both PSAC Components representing Parks Canada employees support the grievance.
“We've already had many members filing individual grievances because they can't get accurate calculations of their pension entitlements,” says Christine Collins, president of the Union of Canadian Transportation Employees (UCTE), which represents canal workers at Parks. “Volunteers need to have access to all of the information they need before making a final decision,” she added.
Doug Marshall, president of the Union of National Employees (UNE), expressed strong concerns about the information gathered by the agency through the process. “We are particularly concerned about those people volunteering for the program who won't be accepted for layoff because the Agency won't be cutting their functions. The Agency should not be collecting this information unless it is being done as part of the alternation process in the collective agreement,” says Marshall.
UNE represents workers at national parks and historic monuments, and marine conservation areas in every province and territory, as well as members at services centers and national office.
The policy grievance process gives the agency 30 days to respond our demands to fix the program.
Ottawa, ON – Parks Canada announced plans to reduce the length of its season and hours of operation to “periods of highest requirements” for the boating season and the associated workforce.
This results in changes to the operating season for not only employees but boaters, marinas, boat operators and any community dependent upon tourism along the canals and waterways.
“The public wasn’t even given the courtesy of notice that this was on the chopping block,” said Christine Collins, National President of the Union of Canadian Transportation Employees.
To add insult to injury they have already sold a number of season passes to the boaters without providing information regarding the reduction of operating hours and the season.
For the last four years Parks Canada has had a safety campaign to ask boaters to reduce their speed and minimize the wakes while in the canals. “With the reduction in hours boaters are going to speed to make it to their destination within the shortened time frame. This flies in the face of their safety campaign.”
April 12, 2012
Ottawa, ON - Transport Canada (TC) took its first step in implementing the 10.7% budgetary cuts by saying goodbye to 33 people. This includes the immediate closure of the Aircraft Services directorate based out of Edmonton AB.
Aircraft services directorate is responsible for the maintenance of all TC aircraft as well as some aircraft for the Department of National Defense and the Canadian Coast Guard planes and helicopters. The Edmonton Aircraft services directorate is known to have some of the lowest operating costs and is one of the busiest.
The closure of this office means that the only other location to service central and northern Canada is in Winnipeg. “In light of the Auditor General’s report on civil aviation safety, Canadians can be guaranteed there will be more delays to get inspectors to locations in the North and central Canada to inspect the aircraft,” said Christine Collins, National President of the Union of Canadian Transportation Employees (UCTE).
TC also announced the centralization of Marine Vessel registry offices to Ottawa and the realignment of some work activities within other groups. As a result some people across the country have to decide whether to move across the country to Ottawa while others are faced with immediate lay-offs.
“Unfortunately this is only the tip of the iceberg”, said UCTE National President Christine Collins. “The majority of the cuts are to take place in a couple of weeks.”
Transport Canada doesn’t know if it has enough inspectors and yet they are about to cut-back 10% of their workforce.
April 5, 2012 – Ottawa, ON
In response to the Auditor General’s Spring 2012 Report that reviewed civil aviation, Christine Collins, National President of the Union of Canadian Transportation Employees (UCTE), is deeply concerned about the safety of Canada’s airspace.
UCTE represents more than 900 Technical Inspectors at Transport Canada including aviation inspectors for airworthiness, cabin safety, and transportation of dangerous goods.
In June 2008, the Department reported it was having trouble finding qualified candidates who are willing to accept the pay rates offered by the government and needed to identify the skills and resources needed to fill 134 vacancies. Instead, Transport Canada concluded a review and appears to have eliminated the vacancies without staffing them. Now in March 2012, the Auditor General is reiterating the lack of inspectors needed to keep Canadians safe.
“Transport Canada has known for over 4 years that they do not have enough Inspectors to keep our skies safe. And despite us raising concerns, they have done very little about it … And now the department is cutting back over 10% of their personnel in accordance with the recent federal budget. How can you possibly cut back when you have evidence of insufficient skilled personnel resources today?”
“Canadians deserve a safe transportation system. Given the clear evidence as articulated in the AG’s report, now is not the time to cut back on transportation safety in Canada.” says President Collins.
Attached please find a link to the Auditor General's report.
UCTE members are not exempt from the drastic cuts announced by the federal government in last Thursday’s budget.
Based on a review of the budget, UCTE is anticipating the following impact on our public sector members:
- Transport Canada is expected to lose approximately 10.7%. We anticipate this to be slightly more than what was presented in the budget that affects TC directly and that the majority of this will be UCTE members.
- Parks Canada is expected to achieve its efficiencies and savings through the consolidation & streamlining of administrative functions, program management, etc. It is anticipated that Parks Canada will save $29.2 million over the next three years. We know this means losing approximately the same percentage as Transport Canada
- Transportation Safety Board is estimated to achieve savings of $1.3 million within the next three years.
- Canadian Coast Guard saw an investment of $5.2 billion over the next 11 years for fleet renewal (capital funding). It is still not known at this time what operational impacts there will be.
UCTE is still trying to ascertain what this means for all members and have been in arranging several meetings with our Public sector employers. Please visit this site regularly for updates.