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.
Ottawa, ON – The Statistical Survey Operations (SSO) Regional Office and Field Interviewer teams met for three days to discuss the good, the bad and the ugly as they prepare to head to the bargaining table in (MONTH). Their current agreement expired in 2018 and UNE members are eager to get back to the table and negotiate a fair deal.
UNE National President Kevin King addressed the members:
“Our members at SSO do important, not-for-profit work that is a benefit to all Canadians. And yet, they remain underappreciated by the employer. This needs to change. We are proud to support these two bargaining units and hope that UNE can enforce a fair and just agreement.”
The SSO National Bargaining Conference was an opportunity for members to discuss the intent and prioritize demands submitted by workers from across the country.
Congratulations to the following delegates, elected to the SSO (RO & FI) Bargaining Teams:
|At Large #1
|At Large #2
|Central (ON & NCR)
|Eastern (QC & ATL)
On 15 February 2019, an Arbitration Board issued its final, binding decision on outstanding issues pertaining to negotiations for the Regional Offices (RO) and Field Interviewers (FI) bargaining units of Statistical Survey Operations (SSO).
Two important gains were awarded by the Board:
- New language in Article 2 (Definitions) requiring the employer to provide, in a letter to employees, an explanation for changes to an employee’s Average Work Week (AWW); and
- In addition to the 1.25% annual economic increase for the four year collective agreement, there is now a 4% market adjustment applicable to all rates of pay, effective December 1, 2016, and applied prior to the 1.25% economic increase for that year.
The Board granted the employer 120 days—i.e., until June 16—to implement the retroactive pay and 4% market adjustment for all members of both bargaining units.
The arbitration award lists all items settled by the parties prior to the hearing under Annex A. The award states that “all items, whether agreed to by the parties or awarded by the board, are effective the date of the award unless specified otherwise.” In other words, the terms of new collective agreement are in full effect as of February 15, 2019.
PSAC is now working with the employer to proofread all changes in the new agreement prior to signing and distributing it to members.
Download the arbitration decision ⬇
After two years of negotiations with SSO, the union and employer reached impasse and filed for arbitration. On January 29-30, 2019, an arbitration hearing was held in Ottawa and on February 15, 2019, the Board issued its award.
As this new agreement is retroactive to a four year period that ended on November 30, 2018, PSAC is already in the process of initiating a new round of bargaining. More information on this will be provided soon; please sign up for SSO bargaining updates here.
SSO Interviewers deserve better from Statistics Canada!
Following concerns expressed by the public over a pilot project run by Statistics Canada on banking information data collection, Chief Statistician of Canada Anil Arora made a statement yesterday responding to demands that the Privacy Commissioner of Canada to “take a deeper dive” into data mining of financial information.
The UNE/PSAC represents Statistical Survey Interviewers (SSO) who are responsible largely for telephone and field interviews that collect the raw data that is subsequently used to provide statistics on everything from literacy to consumer expenditures.
No amount of electronic mining of personal algorithms with respect to data collection can replace compassionate and professional skill sets that our members possess.
SSO Interviewers have been battling for months at the bargaining table with the employer to get a collective agreement that addresses long standing concerns of our hard-working members, including the acknowledgement of both modernization of the interviewer workforce and the effects of technological change.
Chief Statistician of Canada Anil Arora is claiming that his agency is “going above and beyond” when it comes to addressing privacy concerns by Canadians.
Mr. Arora should also consider “going above and beyond” in recognition of its dedicated workforce, amongst the regional office and field interviewers.
Interviewers provide a critical service for Canadians and that service needs to be both modernized and respected, both at work and at the bargaining table.
UNE National President
The bargaining team met in Ottawa from June 12 to 14, 2018, to try to reach a collective agreement for both office and field units.
An important improvement for our members in both units was reached after weeks of discussion with the employer: the conversion of term positions to indeterminate ones after four years of employment at SSO. The new policy will come into effect as of October 1, 2018 and cannot be altered unless both parties agree to modify it.
The PSAC bargaining team has been fighting hard to negotiate a fair collective agreement and put forward proposals on wage-related issues. The employer accepted the same wage increase that the core public sector gets but refused any other offer.
Since there are still important wages issues both parties could not agree, the next step will be to file for arbitration. Stay tuned.
Our bargaining team:
Mary Ann Walker
Our bargaining team held three days of bargaining with SSO during the week of November 20. We focused on our key bargaining issues: hours of work, job security and term employment. We did this with the support of our members across the country.
We thank regional office interviewers who wore stickers in the workplace and to field interviewers who sent us their stickers to highlight these problems. We posted the stickers in our bargaining room and the employer’s team had an opportunity to see the real magnitude of job precarity faced by our members.
We tabled proposals which seek to resolve the challenges faced by our members due to the precarious working conditions maintained by SSO.
Our proposals include:
- Hours of work assigned by seniority: Seniority has long been recognized – in both the public and private sector – as the best way of ensuring hours are allocated in a fair and transparent manner. It shouldn’t depend on whether you are your supervisor’s favourite or whether you are a union activist. With seniority, everyone knows how hours are allocated and it is done objectively.
- Maximizing work for existing employees: It is critical for our income security that SSO maximize hours of work for existing employees before hiring new employees. Our employer shouldn’t hire more employees when existing staff are interested and available to work. Some of our members don’t even have enough hours to make ends meet. Meanwhile SSO continues to hire more people. It doesn’t make sense and it’s not fair.
- Limits to term employment: SSO hires most people as term employees. However, we know that term employees are not working for short periods. Most term employees have worked for SSO for many years, some as many as 15 years! Clearly this is not term employment. This is manufactured job insecurity.
The full proposals we tabled are attached.
We are pleased that during the week we came to agreement with SSO on some issues. We have expanded the definition of family, added gender identity and gender expression as grounds for protection against discrimination, improved bereavement leave, and maintained existing maternity and parental leave benefits.
We will be back at the bargaining table December 12 to 14. More updates to follow.
Union Proposals for SSO RO Unit
This summer the PSAC became aware that SSO’s pay equity settlement calculations failed to include paid leaves, overtimes rates, full compensation for designated paid holidays and other forms of compensation. After numerous members filed appeals stating that they believed there was an error in the calculations of their payments, the PSAC and SSO began discussions in an effort to resolve this dispute. Unfortunately, these discussions have not been able to resolve the pay equity dispute affecting between 20,000 and 25,000 current and former members who worked for SSO between 1985 and 2013.
While the purpose of the pay equity settlement was to remedy a long-standing discriminatory wage rate, SSO is unwilling to pay their female dominated workforce what the PSAC feels they are entitled to in the settlement. Rest assured, the PSAC will continue to fight for pay equity and is committed to standing up for members and former members. As a result, the PSAC will be taking this dispute to an independent 3rd party for a final and binding decision. Our members and former members have waited long enough for their discriminatory wage rate to be adjusted and deserve to be appropriately compensated.
In the meantime, Statistics Canada will continue to gather information and process payments. Once a decision has been reached, we will communicate the outcome to all those affected.
It has recently come to the Public Service Alliance of Canada’s attention that Statistical Survey Operation (SSO)’s pay equity settlement calculations fail to include paid leaves, overtime rates, full compensation for designated paid holidays and other forms of compensation. Rest assured, PSAC will be challenging SSO’s application of the Memorandum of Agreement, as we do not believe it is in keeping with the pay equity agreement reached between the PSAC and SSO.
We recommend that members and former members affected file an appeal as soon as possible in order to adhere to the 120-day timeline specified in the settlement. PSAC is not able to file these appeals on your behalf. Each member or former member must file an individual appeal.
PSAC’s legal counsel has recommended using the following template language for appeals:
“I believe there has been an error in the calculation of my payment pursuant to the settlement agreement between PSAC and SSO. In particular, the calculation fails to include paid leave, overtime rates, full compensation for designated paid holidays, and other forms of compensation during the relevant period of time.”
PSAC recommends that members and former members affected adhere to the timelines and process specified in the appeals process outlined in the attached letter. Please pass this message along to members and former members who could be affected.
Your appeal should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, with a copy to email@example.com
If you have questions please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.