Union Notes




Prior to the dismantling of the regional reporting structures, we had regular Union Management Consultation Committee (UMCC) meetings with each Regional Director General.  With the change of all Area Offices reporting to the Director General of Field Operations, we needed to review the format for Regional UMCCs.   This review did not happen overnight, the National Union office had to make many requests and pull the cart in order to get a new format for a UMCC for Field Operations put in place and scheduled.  I am happy to report that there will be 2 meetings per year with the NVPs, National Office, RDG, and HR rep.  We have a commitment that one meeting will be face-to-face with the other being a video/teleconference.  Our first meeting was held via teleconference on January 8, 2014.  As soon as Management has the minutes back from translation we will be forwarding them to all local presidents and will also post them on our UVAE website.   The next meeting will be a face to face format tentatively scheduled for May 22, 2014.  Starting this fall, in order to maximize time and costs the Field Ops UMCCs will be scheduled the day prior or day after the TAC/NCCN UMCCs.


These challenging issues are standing items at all our UMCCs with management.  At our National UMCC held earlier this month on April 10th, the Deputy Minister and ADM for Service Delivery (SD) stated they were concerned with burden sharing and how staff was coping with all the changes.  The ADM of SD will be looking into this issue very closely.  We asked for specific actions that would be occurring, the ADM SD committed to providing us with the details when they were finalized.  We brought to their attention how the long time frame for approving staffing requests at HR Finance is causing pay interruptions to members.  Also, that the increasing use of casuals is not building capacity to stabilize staffing levels in offices, especially ones in crisis.    


In February, we finally received the Public Service Labour Relations Board decision on our Discontinuance of a Function policy grievance we filed in Aug, 2012.  While I was prepared that we might not receive a favourable reply, I was taken aback on the Adjudicator’s determination that Medavie did not meet the definition of a contractor.  PSAC’s representation section is reviewing the decision to determine if we will go for a judicial review or not. 

On a more positive note we won our grievance filed for a member that was denied 699 leave for pay due to circumstances outside her control. The member was on vacation in England when the volcanic eruption in Iceland grounded all air traffic for days in spring of 2010, causing her to be delayed to return to work.

Bill C-4

The PSAC has taken the first step in its legal challenge against Bill C-4, the legislation that has gutted the collective bargaining rights of federal public service workers. On March 24, 2014 the union filed its constitutional challenge to Bill C-4 in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. The challenge focuses on the following key areas:

  • Essential services, which challenges the changes made to the Public Service Labour Relations Act (PSLRA) that give the employer exclusive right to decide what are “essential services” and which workers perform them.
  • Dispute Resolution, which challenges the amendments made to the dispute resolution mechanisms under PSLRA where unions were free to choose a conciliation/strike process or binding arbitration. The amendments now restrict their choices. Bill C-4 also ensures that arbitration boards are no longer independent.
  • Freedom of Association and Freedom to Strike, which argues that Bill C-4 violates the fundamental rights of federal public service workers guaranteed under the Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

More updates will follow as the case progresses.

Collective Bargaining

The PSAC held the National Bargaining Conference in February 2014, where more than 300 union members committed to defending workplace rights and benefits in the next round of bargaining.  During the conference, elections for bargaining teams were held and I am pleased to announce that one of UVAE’s members was elected to the PA Bargaining Team.  Congratulations to Toufic El-Daher, a CSA who works at the Quebec Area Office. 

Recently, PSAC bargaining team members were in Ottawa to prioritize bargaining demands and ensure that our members achieve a fair collective agreement and that public services are protected.

Ste.Anne’s Hospital

With the recent Provincial elections in Quebec, the negotiations for the transfer of Ste. Anne’s Hospital have stalled and no progress has been made to confirm the date of transfer to the Province.  Despite all the pressure applied from the National Office, the local and its members, the department is still not providing any new information on what the hold up is and when a date will be set.  As such, morale is low and our members are tired of being in limbo. 

Deer Lodge Centre

Some good news from Deer Lodge Hospital, our members there have ratified a new 5 year collective agreement.  It is effective April 1, 2012 to March 31, 2017.  While they did not receive any economic increased for the first two year, they were able to obtain 2.5%, 2.5 %, and 2 % in the final three years, along with a long service step for members with over 20 yrs service of 2% effective Oct 1, 2014.  Great job and thanks to our members on the negotiation team including; Pat Mason, Michelle Zayshley, Elsie Pounder, Shelley Mosbeck, Pat Wirth, and Clint Wirth.