Union Notes

Staffing Cuts

In June, the third wave of cuts to positions was announced.  297 employees received letters stating their positions were affected or surplused (opting).  The employer informed us that 224 positions would be eliminated with staggered dates of departure from November 30, 2013 through to March 31, 2016.  A majority of these reductions occurred in Charlottetown Head Office, with remainder being from Regional Offices across the country.  In most cases, SERLOs were avoided and alternations matches made that allowed members to remain with the department by switching with members wishing to take an option under the WFA.  Management states this will be the final big wave of cuts, they hope to make any further reductions using attrition.  We will see how this plays out.  At the union’s request, joint WFA workshops were delivered in Charlottetown and across the country.

District Office Closures

UVAE and PSAC held a National press conference in Ottawa to urge the government to reverse their decision to close the district offices in Sydney, Corner Brook, Charlottetown, Windsor, Thunder Bay, Saskatoon, Brandon, Prince George, and Kelowna.  A web cast was made of the event with 5 Veterans and 3 VAC employees stating the impact these closures will have on services to Veterans.  Please view and share the attached link to the campaign. http://psacunion.ca/stop-veterans-affairs-office-closures.

Pay in Arrears

Pressure from bargaining agents and our members has paid off. Treasury Board President Tony Clement has confirmed in an Oct. 15 meeting with PSAC National President Robyn Benson that “pay modernization” in the federal public service and the implementation of “pay in arrears” will take place with no impact on PSAC members' pay – no member will experience a claw back. The employer had proposed a transition that would have resulted in a loss of 4% off member’s biweekly paycheques in 2014. 

PSAC Pledge Cards

With the ever mounting pressure on reducing public services and limiting your collective rights, it is important that we band together.  If you have not yet signed a PSAC Pledge Card, please see your local representative to demonstrate your support and ensure your union can keep you up-to-date on the latest developments in this important campaign.

The Real Stats

Statistics Canada's new report, Understanding public-private sector differences in work absences, confirms that comparing sick leave in the private versus public sector is like comparing apples and oranges. The report's key finding: the public sector employs more women and has an older workforce. Once age, gender and unionization rates are considered, the gap in the public versus private sector is virtually eliminated, amounting to a difference of less than a day per year.

The report also demonstrates that women are far more likely to be absent from work due to illness, disability and family responsibilities. Women continue to bear the bulk of child rearing and family care in Canada. Older workers are also absent more days than younger workers, particularly for reasons of illness or disability. This report serves to provide context to the numbers released by Treasury Board during Public Service Week last spring on absenteeism in the public service.

Workload

The challenge now remains on how our members will be able to continue to deal with the ever increasing workload with almost one third less resources.  We will continue to bring this issue to senior management’s attention, to ensure more of our members do not suffer burnout.  I advise all locals to add Workload as a standing item on their Local Union Management Consultation Committee meetings, to ensure management at all levels are informed and questioned on resourcing issues.

Our reps on the CSA Workload Committee provided many examples to head office staff on the various issues field staff are experiencing, the main ones being with Medavie not following procedures and referring back Work Items(WIs) to area offices to complete and the discrepancy with these items not being captured on workload reports.  From this valuable feedback, head office has started to work on correcting some issues and has formed another committee to address the capturing and reporting of work being referred back to the field. 

Grievances

I am pleased to report that the Case Managers and Client Service Team Managers’ job content grievances were heard and amended job descriptions were agreed upon and will be sent out shortly.  Thank you to both Michelle Poirier and Dolores Wilson for being the spokespersons for these grievances.  As I write this update, District Managers of Administrative Services (now known as Heads of Administrative Services) have decided to file a job content grievance on their recently updated work description.  A classification grievance was filed on the recent Client Service Agent classification decision.  The policy grievance on the interpretation of a discontinuance of a function was heard in front of the Public Service Labour Relations Board on October 15-16, 2013.  We anticipate having a decision in 2-3 months.

Ste Anne’s Transfer

We have yet to receive word from the employer on the adjusted date of transfer for the Ste. Anne’s Hospital to the Province of Quebec.  The employer was unable to have everything finalized by September 30, so the date has been pushed back.  We have asked that the new date be set in 2014, to assist our members with their tax considerations with lump sum payments.  The total disregard to providing Ste Anne’s employees with information on this transfer is discouraging and disheartening to say the least.

Deer Lodge Hospital

The local is still in negotiations; PSAC has sent a request for conciliation.  The other unions at the multi union table have all obtained strike votes from their members.