EC Bargaining Updates

January 12, 2016

Upcoming Meetings

Bargaining resumes with the tabling of a modified short-term disability plan proposal

March 10, 2016. After a lengthy federal election, CAPE and the employer finally met at the bargaining table under a new government and a new mandate. This marks the first bargaining meeting since June 2015.

The new version of the employer’s short-term disability proposal tabled this week contains improvements over their last proposal of June 2015. However, there are still significant issues that need to be resolved. This same short-term disability and sick leave proposal has been tabled with the other unions currently at the bargaining table. Read the complete article.

Treasury Board falls short with their plans

June 23 and 25, 2015 – During the last two days of bargaining, the hot-topics at the table were the short-term disability plan (STDP) and sick leave. Since its last proposal on these topics in December 2014 (because, to date, there have been three), the employer had been asking for a counterproposal. The EC Bargaining team was not responding because it fully expected yet another slightly improved proposal from the employer.

This time, the EC team gave the employer a draft document outlining better STDP and sick leave plans offered by various employers. This showed the employer that the offer it was peddling was among the worst. For example, when it comes to the number of sick days allocated, they fall short. Same for the waiting period for STD: they fall short. And ditto for their position on sick leave. We’ve given the employer alternatives to what they are offering – alternatives that can be found in both the private and public sectors, in hopes they will return with a proposal that’s acceptable to our members.

There are still many items on the table left to discuss. Both parties will return to the table on November 9 and 10 (at the Employer's request, the meetings set to September 22 and 23 were moved); we hope this next round will allow us to make progress on other important matters.

Other updates

More questions than answers during the last round of negotiations

April 28-30, 2015 - The parties met for three days on April 28, 29 and 30, 2015. The employer provided additional data related to sick leave usage for both the Core Public Administration and the EC Group.

We addressed several proposals at the table, underlining some of our members’ priorities. Movement on the part of the employer is timid at best. There is resistance against placing into our collective agreement language related to anything that is in some way related to a current Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat  policy or directive.  For example, our proposals on Telework and Harassment were rejected with this rationale. 

On the second day, the employer offered us a general/generic presentation on their proposed Short Term Disability Plan (STDP) which, following the April 2015 federal budget announcement is now a subject which can be addressed at the bargaining table.  We were able to ask the presenters many questions concerning, inter alia, the costs of the plan, the waiting period, income replacement, appeals and general administration. We had more questions than they had answers. We were at least able to demonstrate the depth of our concerns about their plan.

On the third day, there was incremental movement from both sides as far as agreeing to withdraw several minor proposals.

The parties are scheduled to return to the bargaining table June 23 and 25, 2015.

 

January 20 to 22 - Data requested by CAPE on October 1st tabled by the employer

The parties met for three days on January 20, 21 and 22. The employer provided numbers related to sick leave for both the Core Public Administration and the EC Group. Some numbers requested by CAPE still need to be provided. However, the employer did provide additional tables with detailed figures tracking sick leave usage. We will be analysing these numbers in order to understand how the employer’s proposals regarding sick leave and a short term disability plan would affect our members. Other information requested by CAPE is the object of ongoing discussions as the employer has either taken the position that it is not required to provide such information at the bargaining table or that it has provided similar information which it believes may be sufficient.

The Employer had agreed prior to these sessions that the three days at the table would be devoted to examining CAPE’s proposals. CAPE’s EC bargaining team reviewed its package and identified for the three days those proposals to be discussed, including priorities. In the end, the employer came back with no counter offers. The employer requested more time to further analyse the proposals.

Performance management was among the proposals that were discussed. The EC bargaining team clearly identified performance management as a priority for the current round of bargaining. The employer responded that it was working on CAPE’s proposal and would be tabling a counter proposal at our next session that would include additions to the current article that should address many issues raised by CAPE regarding performance management.

At the end of the three days, a message of disappointment was communicated to the employer.

The meeting that was scheduled on February 24, 25 and 26, 2015 has been cancelled. The next meeting is April 28, 29 and 30.

Photo of the CAPE EC bargaining team members

 

December 16, 2014

The parties had been scheduled to meet December 16, 17 and 18, but in fact only met on December 16. In preparation for bargaining, CAPE had asked the employer to provide quantitative data in support of its proposals to amend sick leave benefits and establish a short-term disability plan. The employer has yet to supply the requested information. Instead, the employer presented a newly amended version of its proposals on sick leave and short-term disability. In light of the employer’s persistent refusal to engage in meaningful dialogue, as requested by CAPE, the EC bargaining team informed the employer that it needed to reassess the progress of bargaining, and the parties left the table. The parties are scheduled to return to the bargaining table January 20, 21 and 22, 2015.

 

October 16, 2014

The parties were scheduled to meet three days but for reasons beyond their control met only one day, October 16. The proposals that were discussed were deemed administrative or editorial in nature by one of the two parties. Some progress was made as proposals of lower priority were taken off the table. In September CAPE had reacted to the employer’s proposals to reduce entitlements to sick leave and to add a short term disability plan by saying that the Association would not be responding to the proposals, that they lacked cohesion and that more information was necessary in order to understand what exactly the employer was proposing. At that time CAPE asked for numbers that would explain how the proposals would impact EC employees. CAPE has on the table proposals for modifications to the long term disability plan and for a top-up of EI sick leave benefits. It is CAPE’s position that problems with the current sick leave / long term disability system could be properly addressed if the employer agreed to CAPE’s proposals. The employer came back to the table on October 16 without any numbers but with minor modifications to its initial proposals (PDF document). Numbers were promised for the next session at the EC table, scheduled to begin on December 16.

Read also our document New (?) Proposals: Sick Leave / Short Term Disability, which gives more details on the employer's position.

September 30 /October 1, 2014

The parties met at the bargaining table on September 30. CAPE’s EC bargaining team tabled proposals that had been marked as issues to be discussed in the bargaining brief presented in June.

Proposals for each of the following issues were tabled: improvements to articles on vacation leave and performance appraisals, and proposals for addition to the collective agreement of language on telework, pension, a classification standard review process, the existing Long Term Disability plan, and office design. Rationale and supporting documents were also provided.

The next day, the employer’s team tabled the mandated proposals for changes to the sick leave article in the EC collective agreement as well as a proposal for a Short Term Disability (STD) plan that would exist outside the collective agreement. After looking at the proposals, CAPE’s team explained that it could not see how the language proposed by the employer was related to the rationale presented at the table, or how the numbers provided to the bargaining table supported the accompanying rationale. CAPE’s EC team reminded the employer that it had tabled proposals that do address issues raised by the employer but in a manner that would be less costly and less disruptive as they would not require changes to the current sick leave system.

The EC bargaining team then prepared a series of tables identifying data that would be needed in order to understand the employer’s proposal. The employer committed to providing as much information as possible in as timely a manner as possible but noted that CAPE was requesting a large amount of data, some of which may not be available.

There was no meeting at the table on October 2. The parties are scheduled to meet again on October 14, 15 and 16.

July 22–23, 2014

The Treasury Board negotiator initially assigned to the EC table is no longer available for bargaining. Fortunately, the Treasury Board negotiator from the previous round of bargaining was involved in the preparation of the employer’s team for the EC table. Consequently, the parties were able to meet on July 22 and 23. CAPE provided the rationale for most of the proposals it tabled. The employer asked questions for clarification. The employer then provided the rationale for its proposals, and CAPE asked its questions. By the end of the meetings, the parties had deepened their understanding of the purpose and meaning of the language upon which bargaining will take place.  The teams established a tentative calendar of meetings for the fall, to be confirmed. Three sessions are planned: September 30, October 1 and 2; October 14, 15 and 16; and December 16, 17 and 18.  Other dates will depend on the course of bargaining.

June 24-26, 2014
 

The meeting of June 26 was cancelled as a result of the unexpected and sudden unavailability of  the Treasury Board negotiator. On June 24, in the morning, the Treasury Board team responsible for elaborating the Short Term Disability (STD) plan provided CAPE’s bargaining team with a ninety-minute presentation of the general parameters of the current edition of the employer’s STD plan (CAPE’s summary).  CAPE explained that it is willing to listen to the employer’s plans at the bargaining table and to its proposals when they are eventually tabled. It also explained that at this time the Association is not convinced that it is necessary to scrap the current system of sick leave to address the short list of problems identified as priorities by the joint technical committee that studied the matter of disability management a few years ago. In fact, at first glance, it appears to the Association that it may be costing taxpayers millions of dollars to set up a plan that is really not necessary.  Furthermore, for the moment, it appears that the employer’s plan will be more costly for taxpayers, less efficient for managers and less effective for employees. CAPE raised several initial concerns at the table on June 24 and will provide more comments and questions over the next few weeks.  These concerns include concern with the waiting period concept and the resulting unpaid periods of sick leave, the unconvincing use of industry numbers, the management of absences by a private sector service provider, the exclusion from the collective agreement of the appeal process for decisions regarding eligibility, authorization and related matters and the secondary role given to physicians in the decision process.  

June 11, 2014
 
The parties exchanged proposals. The negotiators briefly reviewed the general purpose of the current round of bargaining from the perspective of their respective interests. The CAPE negotiator reminded the table that the employer did not agree to CAPE’s request for agreement to arbitration as the impasse resolution process for the EC table. It was also explained that conciliation/strike requires a continuous flow of information to members of the bargaining unit. As a result, CAPE’s negotiator reminded the employer’s negotiator and informed his team that the Association will be posting the proposal packages of both parties on its web site. Furthermore, any matters that are the object of agreement during bargaining will appear shortly thereafter on CAPE’s web site. 


March 20, 2014

Treasury Board representatives and CAPE representatives met in order to discuss issues of logistics for the upcoming bargaining sessions, including a schedule of dates and when the parties could engage in the various steps of bargaining. The parties explored dates when they believed they could come to the table with their proposals. It was decided to exchange proposals at some time during the first half of June. The date would be confirmed at the end of May.

EC Collective Bargaining 2014: Time Commitment

April 16, 2013

Each round of bargaining is different, and each table in a round of bargaining is different. As such, the following is only a general indication of the time commitment expected of members volunteering for the 2014 round of collective bargaining.

Call for EC Volunteers: Collective Bargaining

April 4, 2013

CAPE is seeking your participation in the upcoming EC collective bargaining process. The EC Collective Agreement expires on June 21, 2014. The Association is seeking volunteers to serve on the EC collective bargaining committee.