The Letter of Expectation: What Does it Mean?

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The fact finding meeting is over; you may never hear about the issue again, or the employer notifies you that they have come to a conclusion and you’re called for a follow up meeting.

During the meeting your supervisor reads out loud and presents a letter of expectation (LOE);  welcome to the performance management stream and the right of the employer to reaffirm the roles, responsibilities and accountability of your position within public service in Yukon.

Firstly, a letter of expectation is not discipline.  While it may feel like discipline (and trust me I know this feeling, having been through this process), it is not intended to be, nor is it a disciplinary action. 

A properly formatted letter of expectation should clearly outline the issues the employer has identified that need to be rectified, the changes they would like to see, the timeline for this change and the support and resources for assisting with process.

What happens after I receive this letter?

This is a shared responsibility; you as a public servant have been advised of your employment expectations and you should seek to meet the mark. It will feel like there is extra scrutiny on you and this is natural and actually accurate, but not in the “I’m gonna get you” way. 

After an LOE is delivered the employer is watching you, not to note your failure but to ensure your success.  It is incumbent on the employer to assist you in meeting the requirements of your position and the expectations that have been outlined. 

YTG (the employer) needs to provide access to support and resources to ensure you are successful.  Bear in mind  you are a big part of this success and it is incumbent on you to meet the requirements of your job contract with YTG. As the cliché goes it takes two to tango and for the most part you are the lead in the dance.

 How long does the LOE stay in my file?

As letters of expectation are not discipline they are not part of your file.  When it comes to your “file” you only have one and this is held at the Public Service Commission (you can make an appointment to see your file with PSC if you would like to review your public service employment file).  

Your LOE will be held by your supervisor and will not be in your “file” but will be kept for reference for the timeline provided in the letter.  An LOE will be deemed complete at your next PPP (Personal Performance Plan) provided the issues have been resolved and have not continued.  Now, if the behavior in the letter continues, this can open up the disciplinary stream (which I will cover in another post).  But we all know that this won’t be an issue……..right?

 A few other details….

 Letters of expectation do not always come from fact finding meetings. Employment behaviors can be noted and dealt with outside of fact finding meetings and delivered at the discretion of the employer.

  • Union representation is not required at the presentation of an LOE as they are not disciplinary, however, it is recommended by YTG that if it will be of benefit to the employee YEU representation can be in attendance.
  • As always, if there are questions or concerns call the YEU office at 667 2331 or call me directly at 334 4331, remembering there is a timeline for issues of approximately 20 days, so call early and get the answers.

 Yours in solidarity,

Rob Jones

rob jones

President, YEU Local Y010

 

 

The YG Fact-Finding Meeting; What to Expect

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It’s another day at work, everything seems to be going well and it’s shaping up to be a good day.  Then it happens; you receive a request to attend a meeting the following day and your supervisor advises that you are entitled to bring a union representative to the meeting!

What has happened? Why won’t they tell me what the meeting is about? What are the specifics? Aside from being frustrated that you can’t have these questions answered, being called to a meeting relatively blind is also incredibly stressful.

You have been called to a fact finding meeting.

Fact finding meetings are a very common and normal occurrence in Yukon Government workplaces.  When a supervisor or manager receives a complaint or incident report involving a staff member, they are required to investigate – this means they need to talk to you and get your version of the incident or event. If you have been asked to such a meeting, you must attend.

The fact finding meeting is based on the premise that there has been a problematic event or incident of some kind. The employer needs to ask questions to determine what happened. You might not be directly involved; you may have witnessed the incident or have information that may help to make the situation clear.

These sessions are not meant to be punitive, but should offer space for an open and honest dialogue on the event being discussed. These conversations can feel incredibly stressful for the employee and may feel like a cross examination, but that is not the intent. Your union representative will be there with you to protect your rights.

Why do I need a union representative?  It is incumbent on the employer to advise an employee of the need for representation if there’s any chance of discipline down the road.  Discipline is not always involved, but the employer cannot deny a member representation then dole out discipline after the fact; this goes against the principles of the Collective Agreement as well as the principles of natural justice.

Why won’t they answer my questions about the event or incident before the meeting?  Well, this is twofold; while they may state “we are going to be discussing event ABC” they cannot discuss the actual event outside the meeting. Firstly the employer would like to see unchecked, honest reactions to the questions posed.  Secondly if the employer engages in this conversation it may be construed as part of the fact finding session when the employee has not yet had an opportunity to secure union representation.

These meetings are usually less than an hour long, depending on the events and issues at hand.  During these sessions the employee, the employer or the union representative can ask for a break to have discussions or sidebar chats.  These meeting should be, and for the most part are, very respectful and smooth.

What can I say? What can’t I say during these sessions?  The intent of these fact findings is to bring the facts to light.  The employee is responsible to be open, honest and accountable. Your union representative is there to protect your rights and ensure proper process is followed, but they are not defense attorneys and will not be using legal gamesmanship to avoid the issues at hand.

This is a meeting about FACTS, not about what you may think of a situation. Avoid deflecting accountability by drawing others’ poor behavior into the conversation.  The employer may ask what others thought or said, but you should avoid commenting on how you believe others may think or feel about the incident or parties involved.

Do I get to have my say in the meeting? Of course – this is not a one sided barrage or cross examination.  During the meeting you will be asked several times if there is anything else you would like to add. This is the time where pertinent items to the event can be offered if they have not been addressed in the questioning.  This however is not the time to deflect accountability, point out others’ poor behavior or inject supposition or rumor into the meeting.  Your additions should be factual, pertinent and meaningful.

It is also likely that the employer will have investigated the issue by chatting with other employees named in the event.  These sessions are confidential and private, and employees are advised not to speak about these meetings outside of the HR/union/supervisory pathways.

How do I get Union representation?  Call 867-667-2331 as soon as you’ve been notified of the meeting, and ask for the intake officer.  They will ask you for the meeting time & location and ask whether have any idea what the meeting may involve.

Once this information is collected, YEU will make a call to the Shop Steward group to see who is available to attend your meeting.  Once the Shop Steward has confirmed their availability, the Steward will contact you to discuss the process and answer your questions prior to the meeting. Some Stewards will contact you well ahead of time while others, depending on time of notification, may make arrangements to speak with you just prior to the meeting.

What can I expect once the meeting is over? Timelines are usually established at the end of the meeting.  Your supervisor or the HR Representative will notify you of the timeline and might advise you that another meeting will be requested if more questions arise during their follow up.  Generally, the post-meeting fact finding time is one to two weeks.

What will happen to me? This depends on the incident and your role in what transpired.  One possible pathway is the performance management stream, another is discipline.  I will cover these topics in an upcoming performance management and discipline article on the blog; keep an eye out and have a read.

Remember, fact finding meetings are a normal part of any workplace and your YEU representatives are there to support you through these meetings.Rob-Jones-Y010-President-2016

In Solidarity,

Rob Jones

President – Local Y010

 

YEU Needs Shop Stewards!

YEU needs Shop Stewards…workers like you who are willing to take some training and be available to help colleagues who need an ear, someone to accompany them to a meeting or to help find a solution to a problem at work.

Who can be a Steward?  Any member in good standing of Yukon Employees’ Union can be a Shop Steward in their Local.

What about training? YEU has created a new staff position dedicated to strengthening our Shop Steward team. New training initiatives will be announced over the next year; it’s a very good time to step forward as a Steward!

YEU currently offers monthly Shop Steward Round Table sessions held the 3rd Wednesday morning of each month. These informal presentations offer opportunities to ask questions and learn from others. The PSAC office in Whitehorse also offers regular training on things like union structure, roles, Local Officers training and more. There is online training available through PSAC’s Education program and workshops are offered by affiliate organizations throughout the year.

Rob-Jones-Y010-President-2016Yukon Government has an employer/union co-facilitated course on the Grievance Process – required training for all YG Stewards which can be accessed by all YG members through the Quarterly. No union leave is required for this training. For other training approved during your regular work hours, YEU reimburses your employer for your time; you will not lose pay to attend.

What will I be expected to do? Your co-workers will likely ask you questions about the contract, the union or their own work situations. Stewards are called by our Intake Officer at YEU to accompany members to fact finding meetings with their manager or supervisor. Your role at these meetings is usually as an observer, note taker and provider of moral support. In some cases and with appropriate training, you may be asked to participate more fully in discussions at meetings, but not until you have received coaching and feel prepared to do so.

Is it all volunteer work?  Most contracts have a clause that permits Shop Stewards to do union work while on the job. You submit a leave form citing the appropriate article from your collective agreement for the time you spend researching or representing a member. Your pay will not be disrupted. Representation work done outside your normal work hours is done on a voluntary basis and is not compensated.

My workplace already has a Steward. Stewards represent workers from their Local, not just from their specific workplace so don’t let that stop you. The more well-trained Stewards we have the better.Teresa-Acheson-Miscal-Avano-Nesgaard

If I make a mistake, will someone lose their job? No. You will have a network of support including our well trained & experienced Union Advisors. As a Shop Steward you will have regular conversations with our staff in order to ensure everyone is working in unison for members.

How do I become a Shop Steward? Each Local’s bylaws are worded differently. Some dictate that Stewards are elected at the Local’s AGM, others allow for nominations and elections at any time.

Your Chief Shop Steward or your Local President will guide you through the process. Once we’re advised by your Local that you’re a Shop Steward, you’ll be invited to our office to be sworn in by our President or Vice-President. You’ll get an orientation to our office, staff and procedures and receive your New Steward’s package. Once you’ve met everyone, you’ll be registered for upcoming training.

Will becoming a Steward make me a target for my employer? Shop Stewards who are well trained and level-headed help create workplaces that function smoothly. Employers recognize the benefit of a union liaison in the workplace and are usually very happy to work with them. It’s in everyone’s best interest to solve problems quickly and cleanly. It is very rare that our Stewards find themselves in conflict with their employer simply by virtue of stepping forward as a representative.

Will co-workers expect me to be an instant expert on our contract, labour law and all things union?
Your role is to ensure members have fair representation and that all pertinent information is recorded, provided to the Union Advisor and kept confidential. You’ll need to get to know your contract but we do not expect you to interpret the agreement or be up to date on all labour issues.Talk to a steward

A Steward needs to be compassionate and organized. The Steward’s role is one of problem solver and witness.

At some point in their careers about 50% of workers call their union. It might be a simple question about vacation leave, a scheduling issue or ongoing and persistent harassment from a co-worker or supervisor. To meet our members’ needs when they need support we need your help. Please call your Chief Shop Steward, Local President or the YEU Office today. Visit yeu.ca for contact info.

Remember; join us the 3rd Wednesday of each month for Shop Steward Round Table training sessions; informal workshops geared to skill building. We also invite you to an informal Sandwich Session at lunch the 1st Tuesday of each month. This is a training fee casual get together just to build our network and get to know each other. Call David Anderson at YEU, 667-2331 or email danderson@yeu.ca

Web Links, Weirdness & Wild Times OR how to register for the YEU/PSAC Shop Steward Conference!

website mayhemHello friends. If you have been trying to register for our Shop Steward Training Conference March 10-11 and have been frustrated by bad links in the email or Facebook post PLEASE accept our apologies. At the end of January our website was transferred from one host to another… and that’s where the fun really began.

Our communications officer has been adding links, posting images and new contracts etc. to our website regularly however things have gone a bit sideways. Due to the transition from one host to another, there have been crossed wires and all sorts of wild and crazy fun. Most of that fun has involved vanishing links, missing posts and re-directs to the outer reaches of nowhere.  Our IT guy is hard at work getting our wires un-crossed and making sure the website is safely and securely housed in its new web home.

We hope to have our website angst solved by the end of this week. In the meantime we hope you will hang in there!

The YEU/PSAC Shop Steward Conference online registration link works just fine from pretty much any computer. It’s the agenda and the posters that have been swallowed up by the ether (unless you happen to be INSIDE the walls of YEU when opening the file… go figure).

So, please follow THESE links to see the information you can’t access through the yeu.ca site right now. We’ve uploaded them to this blog as it’s unaffected by the website host change “situation”.  Thanks for you patience! And remember… you don’t HAVE to be a Shop Steward to participate in this training. YEU members & PSAC National members who want to become more involved are welcome.

Conference Agenda and Course Descriptions

Conference Online Registration Form

We included links to some items for your Union Bulletin Boards in the most recent Steward update email, and those links were lost in the shuffle as well.

YEU Member Benefits 2015 Poster

Who is Your Steward Poster

YEU by the Numbers Poster

Shop Steward Round Table Reboot!

YEU toolboxYou raised your hand, you were elected…. now what? At YEU, our Shop Stewards & Local Executive members are very important. In fact, without a strong and well educated volunteer base we would have a hard time keeping up with our large and diverse membership.

Our staff and Executive are working hard to ensure we offer the right training modules to our volunteers and workplace advocates. In order for you to feel confident that you are representing the membership and union well, you need a strong basis in facts, a thorough understanding of your Collective Agreement and the mentorship of experienced union staff.

With those needs in mind, we are planning a half day brainstorm session for all our Stewards and elected workplace advocates. No matter whether you are the sole employee rep in a workplace of 6 or a seasoned Steward with 300 employees in your department – we need you. All stewards from all employers and workplaces are encouraged to attend this Shop Steward Round Table session.

SAVE the DATE! 
Thursday January 22, 2014
9:00 am ‘til Noon OR 2:00 pm ‘til 5:00 pm.

Both Round Table sessions are the same, so plan to attend only one. You will be required to bring in your approved leave form in order to attend. Please call Josh at 667-2331 or complete the form below to pre-register for either the morning or afternoon session.

We want to hear what you have to say; bring us your concerns and your Steward questions. Let us know what stands between you and full engagement as an employee rep. Our goal is to build up our Steward network, ensuring you get the training and support you need!

CLC Pacific Winter School 2015

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Submit your application for CLC Pacific’s legendary Winter School union training today!  

YEU invites our activists to apply for Labour training offered by the Canadian Labour Congress at Harrison Hot Springs each year. We have created a short list of eligible courses which will be considered for our Yukon applicants.  Please note that the courses listed below are the only courses which the Education Committee will consider for approval.

Are you interested in attending training at Harrison?  Want to know who is eligible to participate?

  • Have you been active in your Local, your Union or your workplace as a union representative or activist?
  • Are you a member of your Local Executive?
  • Are you a member of a PSAC North Regional Committee?
  • Are you a YEU Shop Steward?
  • Are you a Confidential Advisor or Union Counsellor?

If you can answer yes to any of the above questions, you are eligible to apply.

We have some expectations of those who are sent to Winter School for training, as the cost of travel, tuition and loss of salary comes from member dues. Our responsibility to those members means we expect trainees to participate in union activities and help share what they have learned while away.  A letter outlining what you’ve learned and how you intend to put that learning into practice upon your return is a requirement of the process.

Deadline to apply is Thursday December 11, 2014

How to Apply:

DO NOT APPLY DIRECTLY TO CLC PACIFIC. WE DO NOT USE THEIR ONLINE REGISTRATION PROCESS! (this is VERY important! (If you apply directly using their online forms we will not be able to review your application for approval.)

Please complete

1. THIS YEU EDUCATION APPLICATION FORM linked here for printing 

and return it to YEU by Thursday December 11th with the

2. CLC WINTER SCHOOL PAPER APPLICATION FORM linked here for printing.

Return both to Yukon Employees’ Union by mail, by hand, by fax to 667-6521 or by email to contact@yeu.ca .

Schedule of courses  HERE  (Each course takes the full week; please select  your first and second choices.)

Week 1 ~ January 18 – 23
Week 2 ~ January 25 – 30
Week 3 ~ February 1 – 6
Week 4 ~ February 10 – 13 (Professional Development Week; runs Tuesday to Friday)
Week 5 ~ February 15 – 20

Eligible Courses:

Collective Bargaining Level 1: This course develops a solid understanding of the bargaining process and the factors that affect collective bargaining. The course provides opportunities to practice preparing for and negotiating parts of a collective agreement. The course covers a working knowledge of the laws and rules that structure the bargaining process. This course will be of interest to new bargaining committee members and local union officers. You may want to bring a calculator for this course.

Facing Management: This course offers an opportunity to learn new skills, tactics, and strategies for unions to use in joint labour-management committees. This is a perfect course for newer activists that want to learn more about union-management relations, traditional and modern management theories and systems, and the history of work organization. Communication skills, group dynamics training, and conflict resolution skills will be emphasized. The course offers hands-on practice sessions in skill-building techniques so that you will be as comfortable in the boardroom as you are at a union meeting.

Bullying and Harassment: Responsibility for bullying in the workplace is shared between workers, the employer, and the union.  This course will explore different approaches and tools to address bullying in the workplace, from education programs, legislation, workplace policies and procedure, grievances, and other means within the collective agreement language like labour management committees.  The course will also explore the relationship and differences between legislation covering bullying and harassment.  We will also look at what the rest of Canada is doing on the topic of bullying and pull examples and lessons from their experiences.  Finally, we will review the new BC Legislation put out by WorkSafe and the implications of this language for OHS Committees and WorkSafe WCB claims.

Parliamentary Procedure and Public Speaking: This is a two-part course. Parliamentary Procedure covers how to run a meeting effectively, the duties of a chairperson and secretary, and how rules of order can provide a democratic and fair process to get the business of the union accomplished. Public Speaking covers how to speak persuasively to various groups and how different formats are used to speak at convention, debates, and impromptu gatherings.

Return to Work: This course is designed to equip participants with tools and strategies for successful work reintegration outcomes.  Participants will explore leading research and learn the principles of good work reintegration practices and the duty to accommodate.  The course has a strong focus on the analysis and interpretation of human rights obligations and particularly the duty to accommodate.  Barriers to successful work reintegration are addressed with a focus on attitudinal barriers and their elimination using the social model of disability and therapeutic return to work principles.  An in-depth comparison, between older methods of disability management and the newer, progressive disability prevention model, is presented and participants learn about the paradigm shift from management to prevention.

Steward Training Level 1: The steward is often the main point of contact between the union, its members, management, and the larger labour movement. This course builds the skills, confidence, and knowledge a steward needs to represent their members. Participants will learn the roles and responsibilities of their position as stewards, the handling of grievances and complaints, problem-solving skills, protecting contractual provisions in the collective agreement, and current issues for stewards.

Steward Training Level 2: This course is for chief stewards, business and assistant business managers, local officers, and stewards with considerable experience handling grievances. You will practice more advanced grievance handling skills using real life case studies and role plays. Participants will discuss discipline grievances, harassment, drug and alcohol issues, and different styles of management. The course will deal with procedures before the process of arbitration. Knowledge of the first stages of the grievance process will be assumed. (Steward Training Level 1 is a pre-requisite)

Successful Meetings: Parliamentary Procedure: This course focuses on the nuts and bolts of how to run union meetings at the local level.  Not only will you learn the basics of Parliamentary Procedure but we’ll also discuss how to make committees and other small groups work more effectively.  We’ll also explore new meeting formats and how to use our time in meetings to get tasks done.

Transforming Conflict into Union Activism: Transforming Conflict into Union Activism approaches conflict in a novel way.  It recognizes that conflict isn’t always negative but that it is the outcome of the conflict that is negative or positive.  The course will teach participants how to listen to people involved in a conflict, get to the root causes of a conflict, and how to coach people involved in a conflict to identify shared interests.  Participants will learn how to use those shared interests to help people involved in a conflict find solutions and turn the conflict and shared interests into union activism.

Union Activism for a Green Economy: The labour movement wants a prosperous green future for ourselves, our members, and our families.  This new and innovative course examines how we can work together within the labour movement and with our social justice partners to advance economic and environmental initiatives that provide good, greener jobs in both the public and private sector.  We will develop strategies to work in coalition with environmental groups and examine new negotiating challenges being faced at the bargaining table around climate change and the developing green economy.

Using Modern Tools to Talk with your Members: Beginning with an internal union communications audit, this course will teach participants how to use a variety of communications tools in order to reach union members with the union’s message and culminate with a custom internal communications plan.  The course will take a look at websites, newsletter/bulletin design and writing skills, crafting effective emails, starting and managing email lists, and basic poster design.  Participants will also learn the basics of taking great photos and producing short, engaging videos to better communicate with their union members.

Women’s Health & Safety in the Workplace: All workers face health and safety issues at work – injuries, workplace hazards, disease, and stress. Many of these issues also have a gender dimension – they affect women’s bodies in particular ways. In this course, participants will discuss and learn abut how women’s health (including reproductive health) is affected by toxic workplace substances, the way work is often designed to fit men’s bodies, and workplace stresses such as violence and harassment. The program gives participants skills for assessing workplace hazards, and provides participants with key health and safety principles (hazard control, precautionary principles, right to refuse, right to know, and the right to participate). This program is geared to women who are health and safety committee members, and to all women who want to know more about how to make our workplaces and lives safer and healthier.

Women in Leadership: This course offers union women an opportunity to develop and enhance their leadership skills and knowledge in a variety of current and emerging labour issues. A major component of the course will cover communication and motivational skills that are important for women activists.

Young Workers in Action: This course is designed to give young union activists the skills they need to be effective in their workplace. The course will cover public speaking, how meetings are run, how to read your contract, grievance handling, and basic collective bargaining process. Participants are requested to bring a copy of their collective agreement.

Critical Incident Stress: Although we hope that incidents and accidents in the workplace never occur, quite often they do and the Union is challenged to help its’ members deal with the impacts and aftermath. This course develops an understanding of critical incident stress and how it can affect people. From there, the course helps unions develop a critical incident stress response system which can be implemented in the workplace. Participants will examine key elements of critical incident response systems, including a review of collective agreement language covering emergency responders and other workers. Finally, the course will look at what challenges exist within the health and WCB system which requires our advocacy action, to make change happen.

Candidate Development for Women: Are you a women who has been elected in your local union, provincial, or community organization? Are you looking to increase your support base and engage a wider audience? Have you run or considered running in a municipal, provincial, or federal campaign? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then this course is for you!  This course is a next step for women leaders, designed to address the real challenges women candidates face and will introduce ways to balance the day to day challenges in the face of high stress campaigns. Bringing together leaders from various sectors, communities, and levels of government, participants will take away new ways of campaigning, strategic planning, and framing our message. By building on communication and presentation skills, participants will leave with tools to best communicate their message in on camera interviews, face to face debates, and with new media.

Campaigning in a Modern Era:  The evolution of campaign techniques is a continuous process.  From time to time it is imperative that we look at what has worked in the past and what has not.  This course will analyze the effectiveness of traditional campaign tactics.  Additionally, the course will look at new communication and organizing tactics implemented in Canada and other jurisdictions and offer an open discussion on how we can create modern, effective tools to help us win.

Contact YEU if you have any questions about your eligibility, the application process or any other query related to Winter School 2015.  Thank you!

 

Convention Delegate? But I don’t even…

delegates convention 2011There has been a lot of talk about convention delegate selection lately.  Do you wonder what that means? Who can be a delegate? We asked Loralee Kesler, YEU’s Vice President and a long term union activist about the convention delegate experience.

“The first time I was nominated I was really nervous; as a first time delegate I worried I wouldn’t understand the process & wouldn’t represent my co-workers well. After convention, I felt really proud of the work that we did.  I’ve now attended 5  YEU Conventions, 2 PSAC North, 4 PSAC National conventions and 2 at CLC National.

If you’re member in good standing you can be elected  at  a meeting of your local.  You will receive a delegate information package about a month before convention to help you prepare for the sessions.  Although it’s a confidential document you can ask your local or the YEU office for clarification.  You will easily learn the rest as we go along.

There are many times that new delegates have stood on the convention floor and, with fresh eyes have made very solid suggestions for the betterment of all. I’m sometimes asked if you have to be an “activist”?  What is an activist?  Our activists come in all shapes and sizes – if you feel a kinship to what the union stands for, then you’re an activist.

Before convention we a hold training session to help new delegates understand parliamentary procedure and rules of order.  My first couple of conventions I was confused about some of the “convention speak” – once you understand it, things get easier. YEU has accepted a clear language resolution which makes a big difference!

I love conventions; we decide the direction the executive committee will take in the next term, and they are accountable to the membership at the next convention.  If someone out there is curious but unsure and their local hasn’t had delegate selection yet – I encourage them to call me with their questions.

Delegates give direction to the component for the next term; it really is a grassroots, democratic organization. This is your union, your leadership needs your direction for the term.  It’s important for locals to fill their quota so there is a fair representation of your local at the convention.  Consider this, in a local of 2000 members, do you really want only 10 delegates there representing your interests when you could have 40 delegates speaking out?”

That’s a pretty good point. If you haven’t already considered the possibilities of union involvement, maybe it’s time!