Work Force Adjustment (WFA) is a clause that is negotiated into each and every Treasury Board collective agreement. In comparison, our Private Sector locals have varying degrees of lay-off and WFA clauses. Unfortunately, in light of the government’s strategic reviews the implementation of this option is more a reality for our Public Service members than in the recent past. The reality is that locals need to familiarize themselves with this section of the collective agreements in order to better protect the rights of our brothers and sisters.
To that end, the PSAC has developed training and information packages for TB locals. These can be found at www.psac.com/wfa.
UCTE will also be facilitating training for locals at the spring conference for Treasury Board and Parks Canada locals.
This is an update about the status of negotiations over funding the Northern Transportation Company Limited (NTCL) Pension Plan.
As you may know, on August 5th, 2011 formal written notification was issued to all current participants and pensioners of the Pension Plan indicating that NTCL believes that the projected payments required to fund the existing pension solvency deficiency have a significant adverse impact on NTCL. Consequently, the notification advised that the Distressed Pension Plan Workout Scheme provisions of the PBSA would be pursued by NTCL.
Distressed Pension Plan Workout Scheme provisions of the Federal Pension Benefits Standards Act and Regulations (PBSA) were recently enacted by the Federal Government to provide for a negotiation process to restructure pension funding obligations of federally regulated employers who declare experiencing financial difficulties. In the case of NTCL, such declaration was formally filed with the appropriate regulatory authorities (Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions – OFSI) on July 28th, 2011. In accordance with the PBSA, NTCL is seeking to commence negotiations with the certified bargaining agents of pension plan participants and court-appointed representatives for non-unionized participants and pensioners for the purposes of obtaining an agreement on a revised pension solvency payment schedule. The PBSA provides for a negotiation period of 9 months commencing from the date of the declaration filed with OFSI with the possibility of one further extension of 3 months. Any agreement resulting from the distressed pension plan workout negotiation process is subject to approval by active NTCL pension Plan participants and pensioners. A federally regulated employer can only access the Distressed Pension Plan Workout Scheme provisions once every 48 months. Active members and pensioners are not obligated to negotiate or agree to a workout agreement.
Since the filing of the declaration with OSFI, a meeting of the NTCL Pension Council was convened on October 24th, 2011 and the initial meeting for the Distressed Pension Plan Workout negotiations was held on November 16th, 2011. NTCL provided some summary information about the pension plan.
In terms of the current financial status of NTCL as a business, the information provided during the Distressed Pension Plan Workout negotiations has been minimal. Furthermore, despite official requests from the PSAC/UCTE, NTCL has steadfastly refused to disclose information related to NTCL’s financial position or any concessions it may be seeking from othercreditors. This lack of disclosure by the company makes it extremely difficult to assess the claims NTCL is making about its financial viability.
Needless to say, these developments are a major concern to the PSAC/UCTE. PSAC/UCTE are continuing their efforts to obtain full and true disclosure of NTCL’s financial needs and options for addressing the sustainability of the pension plan. In order to ensure that the pension entitlements of plan members and retirees are protected to the fullest extent possible, the PSAC/UCTE has retained the firm of Koskie Minsky LLP to provide legal assistance in this matter. Koskie Minsky LLP has had extensive experience in defending and representing the interests of pension plan participants and retirees. Koskie Minsky LLP has provided legal counsel in a number of high profile cases including Nortel, Air Canada, NHL Players Association, Eaton’s and Dominion Stores. Throughout, the Distressed Pension Plan Workout negotiations, the PSAC/UCTE will be attempting to coordinate efforts with the other bargaining agents (Canadian Merchant Service Guild and the Seafarer’s International Union) who also represent participants of the NTCL Pension Plan.
The PSAC/UCTE is committed to continue keeping impacted members apprised of ongoing developments with respect to the NTCL Pension Plan. Regular updates will be posted on the PSAC/UCTE website and additional communications will be mailed directly to NTCL Pension Plan participants who are members of the PSAC/UCTE. It is also anticipated that a membership meeting in Hay River, Northwest Territories to discuss this specific issue will be organized prior to the commencement of the forthcoming shipping season.
Any impacted PSAC/UCTE member who has any questions or concerns regarding the NTCL Pension Plan are encouraged to contact the UCTE national office or the Regional Vice-President, Prairies/North at any of the following coordinates:
Union of Canadian Transportation Employees
702 – 233 Gilmour Street
Ottawa, ON K2P 0P1
Telephone No. (613) 238-4003
Facsimile No. (613) 236-0379
Regional Vice-President, Prairies/North
Telephone No. (780) 472-9464
Facsimile No. (780) 476-9470
Members interested in learning about the labour movement in Canada, developing your leadership skills, and connecting with activists from other unions across the country, should consider applying to the Canadian Labour Congress-sponspored Labour College of Canada 2012 intensive Program. UCTE offers a scholarship for membership who attend this program. Also, PSAC has a limited number of full scholarships available to our members. Application deadline is November 4, 2011. Please note that the Labour College of Canada is offered only in English.
The Collège FTQ-Fonds is offered, in French, to members based in Québec. Visit their website for upcoming course dates.
At the 15th UCTE Triennial Convention, delegates once more exercised their right to vote and elected their new National Executive. A combination of new and not so new faces, the National Executive is:
Christine Collins National President
Randy Sanderson National Vice-President
Wayne Fagan Regional Vice-President, Atlantic
Donald Drapeau Regional Vice-President, Quebec
Darlene Brown Regional Vice-President, Ontario
Teresa Eschuk Regional Vice-President, Prairies & the North
David Clark Regional Vice-President, Pacific
On September 9, 2011, UCTE National President Christine Collins wrote to the Prime Minister asking him to intervene on the Department of Fisheries and Oceans decision to close the Marine Rescue Sub-Centres in St. John's NL and Quebec City, Quebec.
Below please find the text.
September 9, 2011
The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, P.C., M.P.
Prime Minister of Canada
Langevin Block, 80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0A3
Fax number: (613) 995-0101
Re: Coast Guard Marine Rescue Sub-Centres (MRSCs)
Dear Prime Minister:
UCTE is the national union for Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) Workers. We appreciate your support for the CCG and its critical role in national security, marine safety and Arctic Sovereignty. We are confident that the Coast Guard will continue to prosper under your leadership, particularly given the multiple sovereignty and security challenges facing Canada in the North, today and in the future.
One of the critical functions for CCG is maritime search and rescue. Canadians on the coasts depend on the Coast Guard to provide excellent and efficient services. Once again, we are confident that these essential public safety roles will be enhanced and protected as budgets are trimmed.
You may be aware that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans recently announced a plan to cut back and modify the roles and responsibilities for 27 Search and Rescue positions at the CCG. MRSCs in St. John’s and Quebec City are scheduled to close. This announcement is in direct conflict with the priorities of the government and the essential nature of the search and rescue services performed. The department is arguing that these services can be performed from Centres in Halifax or Trenton Ontario. This is not the case. Communication challenges in multiple dialects and languages, local knowledge and cultural issues alone require that the coordination services be provided in the regions where search and rescue is required. Additionally, third party workflow analysis, as well as the Wells inquiry into the Cougar Offshore Helicopter crash, clearly point out the need to add new Search and Rescue specialists, not reduce them.
Prime Minister, we sincerely hope that you will personally intervene in the CCG files, including the current Search and Rescue proposed cut-backs, as the Coast Guard roles, responsibilities and the jobs that are attached, are critical to your government’s priorities. We sincerely hope that you will intervene and appropriately make the decision to enhance CCG budgets and restore Search and Rescue jobs at this time.
c.c. The Honourable Keith Ashfield, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Fisheries and Oceans
Fax number: (613) 947-7081
As many of you may have heard, negotiations between CUPE, the Union representing the Air Canada flight attendants and the employer came to an abrupt halt a few weeks ago. Our contacts tell us that there have been no discussions since. As a result, CUPE members will be taking a strike vote on September 14 & 15, 2011. If the vote is in favour of a strike (and CUPE believes that they will have a strong mandate for it), CUPE will serve Air Canada 72-hour notice on September 16, 2011, thereby having picket lines at all Canadian airports on September 20, 2011. UCTE wishes CUPE members success in their strike and hope that an agreement can be reached quickly. Should the picket lines be up, I encourage each of you to support our brothers and sisters and join them on the picket lines whenever possible.
What does this means for UCTE?
Our union principles dictate that we will not cross a picket line and will support our brothers and sisters in the labour movement.
Unfortunately this action may affect our upcoming Convention. The National Executive and National office staff are in the process of considering other options including changing modes of travel for those delegates travelling by air or rescheduling the convention to a later date.
I want to assure you that we are closely monitoring the situation and will advise you on Tuesday September 21, 2011whether our convention must be postponed. I ask that you ensure that the National Office has your correct contact information – both phone and e-mail addresses - so we can contact each of you directly should it be necessary.
Thank you for your understanding and in the meantime if you have any questions, please contact your Regional Vice-President.
25 UCTE/PSAC workers at Saint John Airport in Saint John, NB, have been without a contract since December 31, 2008. Negotiations with the employer came to a standstill when the employer decided to walk away from the table claiming they had nothing left to offer.
After two days of legal strike action, both parties were able to reach a tentative agreement late Wednesday afternoon. UCTE offers its congratulations to the members at Saint John Airport for an effective strike action that a brought a quick resolution to almost three years without a collective agreement.
Organizational Charts not updated
June 2, 2011
Many of you have contacted UCTE regarding the lack of an accurate or up to date organizational chart. In response to our inquiries, you can soon expect a notice from Transport Canada advising that organization charts will only be finalized once the Technical Team Leads are appointed.
Transport Canada has confirmed that for affected TIs, a new date to file work description grievances will be issued once the reporting relationships and organizational structure are finalized. Please note that this does not affect the timelines to file classification grievances since the classification notices have already been issued.
May 30, 2011
It is with great sadness that we mention the passing of Brother Roger Plamondon who passed away suddenly on Wednesday May 25, 2011. Brother Plamondon was an active UCTE member for more than 20 years including holding the position of Local President at the Great Lakes Pilotage Authority. We send our condolences to his family during this sad time.