Bargaining Update Meeting, Local Y025

2014 Y025 Bargaining Team

Important Bargaining Meeting

Updates from your Bargaining Team

We have now started bargaining and we know you’d like to know how things are going. We’d like to invite you to a special meeting to update you on the process and our proposal package.

PLEASE join us at the YEU Hall for a meeting on Tuesday October 21st, 7pm.
We will gather in the Lucy Jackson Training Room, the large meeting room at the back of the building. If you’ve never been there, the address is 2285 2nd Avenue at the bottom of 2 Mile Hill beside Fountain Tire.

This is important information and a chance to stay informed on your contract negotiations; we hope to see you on Tuesday!

Thank you,
Your Bargaining Team.

Treasury Board bargaining; Why it matters to you.

all affected

The Public Service Alliance of Canada and its 100,000 Treasury Board members are at the bargaining table with their federal employers. There are greater than 250,000 public servants represented by 17 unions, all united in a solidarity pact; no one union will give in to the federal government’s concession demands on sick leave. The power of many will be needed to fight the intended assault on negotiated benefits.

Tony Clement has come out swinging, spending Canadian tax dollars to damage the credibility of the opponent….workers like you.  Clement has made it clear he wants to dismantle negotiated Sick Leave provisions and replace them with a new short term disability model. That means contracting out the administration of earned sick leave to a commercial, for-profit organization whose interests will be very different from those of the workers they are meant to serve.

PSAC & PIPSC have filed formal bad faith bargaining complaints against the government for sending “misleading and false” communications to employees.  Rather than bring any demands to the bargaining table, the government announced publicly that it was introducing a short-term disability plan as the key pillar of a new “wellness and productivity” strategy.

Everyone is watching what happens in this tense round of bargaining. If Harper’s team continues to press hard and kill the negotiated sick leave, they will be in conflict with labour law. Sick leave is a negotiated benefit; it can’t be withdrawn from a contract and arbitrarily decided upon by either side.

Treasury Board bargaining seems far, far away and not very important until you consider their contract becomes a benchmark for subsequent negotiations nationwide. Labour can’t afford to stand down on the issue of sick leave; unionized or not, all Canadian workers will feel the effects of the contract between the Federal Government and its public servants.

Yukon Employees’ Union lends our voice to the chorus of support for the bargaining teams and professional negotiators beginning this round. It sounds like a battle is brewing and we know you are up to the challenge. Thank you.

This article by Kathryn May explains it very well, including the clever way the government stripped unions of bargaining power in the last term by slipping anti-union legislation into budget bills.

Read more here from PSAC National President Robbyn Benson.


 

No FAIR! The unfortunate race to the bottom for worker rights.

school-lunch

Imagine a school lunch room – hungry kids eagerly opening lunch boxes and bags, ready to dig in. Over at a corner table, a group of kids sit with meager lunches; some have nothing to eat at all. When you consider this image it’s not hard to imagine how you’d feel. Most of us would want to do something quickly for the kids without enough to eat.

Now picture this; the same lunch room, the same kids with healthy lunches and the same kids with little or nothing to eat. Imagine the lunch room monitor throwing away the nutritious lunches because others don’t have as much, saying it’s just not fair that some should eat when others are hungry.  If some have to suffer on next to nothing then everyone should suffer.

The argument that no-one should have more than the least fortunate of us is an increasingly common, divisive and destructive argument.

In this story, unionized workers are the kids with the healthy lunches. The more you hear from the right wing media the more you’ll believe that the economic difficulties faced by western society are all because of greedy union workers. The facts are that corporations have rights similar to those of individuals, that pay levels for CEO’s have ballooned & ballooned again over the last two decades and that powerful corporate lobbies influence and control our governments. We hear again and again how unions are too big, too strong, too powerful – how unions have destroyed the economy, ensuring that jobs are moved offshore, taking with them all hope for advancement and prosperity of the middle class.

The reality is that prosperity and the middle class came to be in North America because of unions. Collective bargaining secured the things we take for granted.  Those advantages will disappear completely with the destruction of unions and the labour movement.

Whatever your opinion of unions it would be difficult to imagine any corporate agenda that would choose to spend any more on worker rights and benefits than absolutely necessary. If unions would simply step out of the way and stop demanding health & safety provisions, liveable wage certainty & health care benefits, more profit could be earned for shareholders and CEO salaries could be even higher. Why would any employer choose to give paid vacation leave if it didn’t have to? Why ensure new mothers can take time off to care for new babies? Removing hard won benefits and lowering salaries in unionized sectors will only encourage private sector and non-unionized employers to continue the downward trend; offering ever lower wages, fewer benefits, part-time jobs and no pensions.

Unions protect workers. Unions create higher standards for all workers, whether they are in a union or not.

In a just society, we try to make sure everyone has what they need; we try to raise people up with dignity. The lunch room analogy is an illustration of the race to the bottom we see so much of these days – the argument that because some don’t have much, nobody should have anything. It’s a mean spirited analogy; a mean spirited belief. It goes against the core values of most of us in this country. When we stop to think about it,  is blaming unionized workers and trying to strip them of their rights any different than throwing out a lunch? Let’s try instead to make sure that everyone has access to a living wage, to health care, to dignity and security. It’s not a free lunch; it’s fair.

What’s Happening at the Bargaining Table?

bargaining team mugThis is a busy year for contract building, with many of our bargaining units at the table now. We have recently ratified the first ever Collective Agreements for Help & Hope for Families Society in Watson Lake, while Many Rivers Counselling & Support Services workers are voting this week on a tentative agreement reached in early May.

  • Members at Yukon College ratified their three year CA late in 2013. An Education Fund has been established to financially support members wishing to further their education. A joint classification committee has been established to review job descriptions for all levels of college staff.
  • Negotiations at the City of Dawson are well underway. The next bargaining meetings are scheduled for mid-June 2014.
  • Flight Attendants have been in negotiations with Air North for almost a year. The next set of bargaining dates are scheduled for the end of May. Some of the key issues for this group include scheduling and hours of work.
  •  Yukon Hospital Corporation bargaining input call has recently gone out for workers in Yukon’s hospitals. Members have been invited to submit their bargaining proposals and will be electing a bargaining team in early June. Their Collective Agreement expires August of this year.
  • Negotiations with the Yukon Energy Corporation began last year. While considerable progress has been made on a number of issues there are still some key items outstanding. The Union applied for mediation in early spring which did not resolve the differences between parties. The Union and Yukon Energy Corp. have agreed to proceed to arbitration.
  •  Many Rivers Counselling & Support Services voted on a tentative agreement May 15th.  The negotiations were respectful and built on a renewed spirit of respect following the 2012 strike.

If you are a member of YEU and would like to be kept informed about the bargaining process make sure to provide us with your email address (personal, not your address at work) so we can add you to our update list.

Union Terminology… a Primer.

YEU toolboxHave you ever read an article in the newsletter or had a look through your Collective Agreement and wondered what some of the terms mean? Here is a brief summary of some of the more common terms.

  • Bargaining Unit: A group of employees with a clear and identifiable community who are represented by a single union, whether or not all members have signed  union cards.
  • Collective Agreement: A legally binding contract arrived at through negotiation covering wages, hours, and terms & condition of employment, rights of employees and processes for resolving disputes and issues during the contract’s term. If you are a YEU member, you can review your Collective Agreement here.
  • Collective Bargaining: A process where the Union and Employer make offers and counter offers regarding their employment relationship. The purpose is to create a mutually acceptable agreement and to execute a written contract.
  • Grievance: A complaint filed by an employee in connection with their job, pay or other aspects of their employment. A grievance may result from a violation of the Collective Agreement. Grievance Procedures as set out in the contract are followed, usually involving meetings between the employee (grievor) & management with union representation. A Shop Steward will meet with the grievor to discuss the problem and may attempt to reach a negotiated resolution prior to filing a grievance.
  • Rand: an unsigned member of a bargaining unit, accessing benefits of the Collective Agreement.
  • The Rand Formula ensures the payment of trade union dues is mandatory regardless of the worker’s union status. The Supreme Court of Canada introduced this formula in 1946 to ensure that no employee opts out of the union simply to avoid dues while reaping the benefits of collective bargaining, such as higher wages. Learn more about Justice Rand’s decision, and the creation of the Rand Formula.
  • Shop Steward: A Shop Steward, or Union Representative is a member of a bargaining unit elected by co-workers to act as a workplace liaison with the Union. A Shop Steward is trained to assist members at grievance meetings, attending to support the member. If you are interested in becoming a Steward, please contact your Chief Shop Steward or the YEU office for information.