Public Interest Commission report ties Parks Canada workers’ fate to PA group

An uneventful Public Interest Commission (PIC) report has intertwined the fate of 5,800 Parks Canada workers with PSAC’s largest bargaining unit – the PA group.

The recently published report unfortunately made little to no recommendations, instead it draws a parallel between the Parks bargaining table and PSAC’s PA bargaining table. The report quotes directly from the PA PIC report, and states that without the major common issues being resolved, such as Phoenix compensation and higher wage increases, the parties will find it difficult to reach a tentative agreement.  

PSAC is disappointed that the PIC did not explicitly make specific recommendations on key Parks issues such as:

  • parity with the core public service;
  • Phoenix pay protections and remedies;
  • a competitive wage increase;
  • fair compensation for Park Wardens;
  • work life balance initiatives, such as improved maternity and parental leave;
  • protections in the workplace; and
  • fairness for seasonal and term workers.

However, the PIC did acknowledge the struggle Parks Canada workers have had in achieving parity with the core public service since Parks was made a separate agency nearly 20 years ago. The report suggests parity with the core is an issue that will need to be addressed if the Parks Canada Agency hopes to reach an agreement with Parks members.

Next steps

Although National President Chris Aylward has authorized strike votes for the Parks bargaining unit, all strike votes are currently suspended until March 30. At that time the union will re-evaluate whether to continue the suspension or resume the strike votes. 

Despite the suspension of votes, PSAC will continue to bargain for all units currently in negotiations.

We will be updating our national and regional websites, social media, as well as sending information by email as the situation develops. We encourage all our members to check these resources regularly and subscribe to our mailing list.

Source: http://psacunion.ca/public-interest-commission-report-ties-parks

Parks Canada workers to join over 100,000 PSAC members in strike votes

March 11, 2020

National President Chris Aylward has authorized strike votes for members of the Parks Canada bargaining unit. Parks members will have the opportunity to join 90,000 Treasury Board bargaining members to vote at strike meetings to be held from March 16 to May 7. Strike votes for the 27,000 members of the Canada Revenue Agency bargaining unit are already underway.

A strong strike mandate from members will force the Parks Canada Agency to come back to the bargaining table with a new mandate so that your Parks bargaining team can get a fair settlement quickly.

In the coming weeks members will receive notices of strike vote meetings via email and through your locals and regional offices. The information will also be posted on the front page of the national website, as well on PSAC regional websites.

Source: PSAC

Treasury Board bargaining telephone town halls

Telephone town halls with PSAC members in the PA, SV, TC and EB groups will be held on March 9 and 10. Each call is 30 minutes long and will focus on bargaining and upcoming strike votes.

List of regional telephone town hall

March 9

  • Atlantic (English): 6pm EDT
  • Ontario (English): 7pm EDT
  • Prairies-NWT (English): 8pm EDT

March 10

  • Atlantic-Quebec-NCR-Ontario (French): 7pm EDT
  • NCR-Quebec-Nunavut (English): 8pm EDT
  • BC-Yukon (English): 9pm EDT

You can participate by calling one of the following numbers at the date and time you wish to participate.

English calls: 1-877-229-8493; PIN to join the call – 112560

French calls: 1-877-255-5810; PIN to join the call – 118363

Strike votes for Treasury Board bargaining units begin March 16

PSAC National President Chris Aylward has authorized strike votes for members of the PA, SV, TC and EB bargaining units following the release of the Public Interest Commission (PIC) report last week.

More than 90,000 members of the four bargaining units will have an opportunity to vote at strike meetings to be held from March 16 to May 7, 2020. Strike votes for the 27,000 members of the Canada Revenue Agency bargaining unit are already underway.

“PSAC bargaining teams need a strong strike mandate from members to force Treasury Board to come back to the bargaining table with a new mandate so that we can get a fair settlement quickly,” said Aylward.

Aylward noted that the Public Interest Commission (PIC) report on common issues made it clear that to reach a deal the government will need to offer PSAC members more Phoenix compensation and a wage increase in line with the cost of living. The report also highlighted the need to address compensation gaps and recruitment/retention challenges for those groups that are underpaid relative to comparable groups inside or outside the federal public sector.

The government’s current offer falls short on all fronts. They have yet to table wage increases that would ensure rises in the cost of living are met, and their Phoenix compensation proposal remains meagre and unequal across the public service.

“The threat of a strike will give the employer the nudge it needs to avoid more disruption during their minority government,” said Aylward.

“That’s why we urge all PSAC members to vote yes.”

In the coming weeks members will receive notices of strike vote meetings via email and through your locals and regional offices. The information will also be posted on the front page of the national website, as well on PSAC regional websites.

Please check out the following link if you would like more information on strike votes and strike action. We’ll be adding more information in the days ahead to answer a wide range of questions so make sure to check back.

 

Source: http://psacunion.ca/strike-votes-treasury-board-bargaining-units-begin

One year later, Parks Canada claims it still has no mandate to bargain

February 7, 2020

The Public Interest Commission (PIC) hearing for Parks Canada bargaining took place January 27 to 28, with mediation January 29 to 30. Your Parks bargaining team came to the PIC ready to resolve outstanding issues, yet the Parks Canada Agency came to the hearing singing the same old tune.

Read the PSAC’s PIC brief and the employer’s PIC brief

After a solid year of bargaining, the employer still hasn’t tabled a formal pay proposal, neither has it taken a position on implementation, Work Force Adjustment (WFA) or Phoenix. The agency continues to claim it doesn’t have a mandate from Treasury Board despite the fact that Parks Canada members have been working without a contract since August 2018.

Limited progress

The Parks bargaining team was able to make limited progress on a few items in mediation. They achieved a letter of understanding (LOU) for a Joint Learning Program (JLP) pilot project with money attached. They also got the employer to drop concessions on hours of work, overtime, callback and reporting. Concessions for seasonal and term workers remain outstanding.

Future bargaining

As the employer seems unwilling to bargain in a meaningful manner, no further meeting dates have been set. PSAC expects the PIC report in the upcoming weeks. Stay tuned for further updates that will detail the report’s recommendations.

Will we strike?

Your bargaining team continues to seek parity and fairness, improved work-life balance, increased job security and fair compensation for all Parks Canada workers, and they will not concede to anything less. Our expectation is that the employer will get a revised mandate in the near future that brings both parties closer together, but each time they squander an opportunity to negotiate, it seems unlikely this will happen without increased pressure.

If PSAC and the employer are still unable to reach an agreement after the PIC report is issued, members will have the opportunity to join Canada Revenue Agency workers and take a strike vote. History has taught us that the best way to avoid strikes is to prepare for one. A strong strike mandate from our members often persuades the employer to come back to the table with a better offer.

In order to reach the fair deal that our members deserve, PSAC will continue to mobilize its membership through increased workplace action, up to and including a strike, until a fair settlement is reached.

Attachments:

Source: PSAC Website

 

 

Black History Month – Celebrating our Members: Celine Ahodekon

February 7, 2020

Celine works for Parks Canada at the Fort Langley National Historic Site as a heritage presenter, telling visitors about our shared history – something she is very passionate about.

Celine has been very active within her component and local and has held many positions, including serving on the Parks Canada bargaining team and as the equity representative for racialized members for the Union of National Employees (UNE). She sat on the organizing committee of PSAC BC’s first ever conference for racially visible members. Celine is also involved in her local PSAC BC Area Council and Human Rights Committee, where she is currently busy helping to organize a Black History Month celebration in Abbotsford, BC.

We asked Celine why she felt Black History Month was important and she explained: “We still have much more work to do in order to create a society where everyone feels equal. Having Black History Month is one way to remember, teach and learn about Black people’s contributions to the economy, politics and social life in Canada.”

Source: PSAC Website

 

Parks Members Head to Public Interest Commission This Week

January 27, 2020

Parks Canada bargaining team members will head to their Public Interest Commission (PIC) hearings January 27, 28 and 30 in Ottawa. Parks members are one of nine PSAC bargaining units who are moving through the PIC process as negotiations reached an impasse last July.

During the hearings, PSAC will present our proposals for a fair and progressive collective agreement for Parks Canada workers, which includes:

  • A competitive wage increase
  • Introduce protections to guard against the impacts of Phoenix
  • Improvements to leave provisions, work-life balance, parity with the core public service, and improvements for seasonal workers
  • Access to domestic violence leave
  • Measures to achieve pay parity for Park Wardens and Park Warden Supervisors
  • An Indigenous language allowance
  • The creation of a joint committee on child care
  • A plan to further increase parity for Parks Canada by joining the National Joint Council

Watch members of the Parks negotiating team discuss the important issues on the table

What is a Public Interest Commission (PIC)?

Under the law that governs contract negotiations in the federal public service, once impasse is reached at the bargaining table, a PIC is established to help the parties reach an agreement.

The PIC is a panel of three people – a chairperson appointed by the Labour Board and nominees appointed by the union and management. The union and the employer submit briefs and explain their positions on the outstanding issues at a hearing with the PIC. The PIC then issues a report with recommendations for settlement. The recommendations are not binding. Once the PIC releases its reports for the various PSAC units, the union’s respective bargaining teams will meet to discuss the recommendations.

Stay up to date!

It’s important that all Parks Canada workers are receiving the latest bargaining news especially at this critical time in the process. You can help spread the word by:

Source: PSAC

 

Labour Board sides with Parks Canada workers, moves forward with Public Interest Commission

The Federal Public Sector Labour Relations Board has upheld PSAC’s decision to declare impasse in Parks Canada bargaining. In August, the employer disputed PSAC’s determination that both parties had reached an impasse in bargaining. They sent a request to the Labour Board arguing that declaring impasse was “premature” and that both parties had not sufficiently bargained.

The Labour Board disagreed with the employer and denied their request to delay the establishment of a Public Interest Commission (PIC). In a letter outlining the verdict, the Labour Board stated that PSAC’s Parks Canada bargaining team had “negotiated sufficiently and seriously” and therefore they would be recommending the establishment of a PIC.

Employer backs out of mediation

Both PSAC and the employer indicated that they would be open to mediation. Therefore, in August, the Labour Board assigned a federal labour mediator so that both parties could engage in mediation while waiting for the establishment of the PIC. PSAC told the Labour Board that it expected the employer to come to mediation with a complete monetary proposal and with a response to the union’s pay and workforce adjustment (WFA) proposals. In September, the employer responded that they were no longer willing to move forward with scheduled mediation because they have no mandate, despite initially requesting continued negotiations and mediation.

The Labour Board has scheduled a Public Interest Commission for Parks Canada bargaining January 27 to 30, 2020.

What is a Public Interest Commission (PIC)?

Under the law that governs contract negotiations in the federal public service, once impasse is reached, a PIC is established to help the parties reach an agreement. The PIC is a panel of three people – a chairperson appointed by the Labour Board and nominees appointed by the union and the employer. The union and the employer submit briefs and explain their positions on the outstanding issues at a hearing with the PIC. The PIC then issues a report with recommendations for settlement. The recommendations are not binding.

Once the PIC releases its report on Parks bargaining, PSAC’s bargaining team will meet to discuss the recommendations. Traditionally, following this, PSAC’s negotiating team and government representatives return to the table to resume negotiations.

Will we strike?

Regardless of which party forms government after the fall federal election, PSAC will continue pressing for a fair deal that addresses Parks members’ demands. However, if PSAC and the government are still unable to reach an agreement after the PIC report is issued, Parks members will have the legal right to strike. All members impacted will have the opportunity to vote in favour or against strike action. In preparation for this possible situation, PSAC will ensure that strike training is offered to members in the coming months.

Source: PSAC

PSAC declares impasse as Parks Canada fails to engage in meaningful negotiations

Parks members have been bargaining since January, and each time they have been met with a reluctant, unprepared employer who continues to demonstrate they have been given no mandate on key issues. This leaves PSAC with no choice but to declare impasse.

Frustrations mount at the table

This week, PSAC’s Parks bargaining team tabled our final proposals that included the following:

  • A competitive economic increase for all Parks members to create parity with the core public service, which includes market adjustments to close wage gaps.
  • Measures to achieve pay parity for Park Wardens and Park Warden Supervisors in relation to other law enforcement. Park Wardens are highly-trained law enforcement officers who perform similar duties to that of federally-paid law enforcement, and yet, in some cases, Park Wardens’ salaries lag up to 27% below their counterparts.
  • Fair and transparent workforce adjustment measures to increase job security and provide a simple, clear process for downsizing based on seniority. A “last in, first out” system lessens the mental and physical impact of fear and confusion in the workplace.
  • An Indigenous language allowance, which is both a symbol of respect and reconciliation to the Indigenous community, and a matter of fairly compensating members who are providing this service to the public.
  • The addition of a term employment article, creating a condition of a three-year rollover and other measures which would lessen the precarity that these members experience.

Read PSAC’s proposals on Park WardensChildcarePay AdministrationMental HealthWorkforce Adjustment and Pay Increases

An unprepared and unwilling employer

Unlike our bargaining team, the employer came to the table unprepared to discuss these important issues and unwilling to address past proposals (with the exception of domestic violence leave). The employer failed to discuss parity with the core public administration, declined to respond to our proposals on child care or mental health, and refused to make an offer or respond to any language on Phoenix pay protections and reimbursements, an issue of critical importance to thousands of affected Parks members.

In addition to this, over the last few months the employer has also tabled a number of concessions, such as:

  • seeking clawbacks on provisions to pro-rate family-related responsibility leave for seasonal workers;
  • requesting call back and reporting pay provisions to only apply once in an 8-hour period;
  • demanding limited access to overtime for any employee working the backcountry by subjecting them to workweek averaging measures;
  • failing to see the importance in providing workers with complete and current job descriptions; and
  • being unwilling to continue to provide members with a printed copy of the collective agreement.

Declaring impasse

After nearly 4 years of Phoenix pay issues, Parks Canada members deserve to be treated fairly and with respect. They do not deserve to be subjected to stalling tactics at the bargaining table with an employer who is uninclined to bargain meaningfully. Parks Canada members will be joining 90,000 Treasuring Board members in declaring impasse in negotiations and moving towards a strike position.

Take action!

July 20th is Parks Day, a day when we celebrate Canada’s beautiful parks and historic destinations, and the people who maintain them. This government claims to champion our environment, national parks, and historic sites, but they have shown continued unwillingness to respect the people charged with protecting it.

Remind the Minister of Environment, Catherine McKenna, and the Parks Canada Agency, that if they truly want to protect and preserve Canada’s mountains, forests, lakes and other beautiful habitats for future generations, they need to start with valuing the 4000+ public service workers who maintain them.

Tweet your support for Parks Canada workers!

Parks bargaining team heads back to the table July 16

PSAC’s Parks bargaining team will resume negotiations with the Parks Canada Agency from July 16 – 18 in the national capital region. Our team is eager to make further progress towards a fair collective agreement for over 4,000 employees working at Parks Canada locations nationwide.

Last time at the table:

Last month, PSAC’s bargaining team continued to push for demands that would establish parity with the core public administration and discussed important issues such as mental health in the workplace and improvements to maternity / parental leave. They also:

  • tabled language that would improve Park Wardens’ terms and conditions of employment,
  • proposed the creation of a joint committee on child care, and
  • made a presentation to the employer on the benefits of joining the National Joint Council (NJC).

Be informed and get involved:

  • Sign up for bargaining updates.
  • Make sure your membership information is up to date.
  • Check out the Parks Canada bargaining team page on our national website.
  • Show support for your bargaining team on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Talk to your colleagues about your work contract, benefits, and protections.
  • Participate in any upcoming information sessions in your region.

Stay informed and spread the word!