CAPE’s 2007 AGM Professional Services Report
Claude Danik, Executive Director
Presented on Thursday, November 29, 2007
December 11, 2007
The presentation will be an abbreviated report in order to provide more time to our guest speakers. The full report will appear on the CAPE web site in the near future.
Before I begin my presentation I would like to thank the volunteers who have contributed time and work to the organization over the past 12 months.
Since I am involved in bargaining, if I may, I will single out those members who are on CAPE bargaining committees and teams. Their contribution is truly invaluable.
There are many other members involved in the work of the Association: members of local executives, stewards, CAPE representatives on Occupational Safety and Health committees, members of the National Executive Committee, members of various Executive sub–committees, etc.... Thank you.
I will also take this opportunity here to thank the staff of the national office.
I am a daily witness to the fact that their commitment to the membership goes well beyond their jobs. Labour relations, in the federal public service, present many challenges. CAPE’s staff carries out its duties with the kind of professional advocacy of which I am very proud and of which we can all be proud. Thank you.Collective Bargaining
2007 - 2008 will be important years for collective bargaining in the federal public service. Bargaining agents representing approximately 95% of employees will be at the table with Treasury Board.
CAPE has been actively involved in both preparing for the bargaining table and negotiating at the table for its TR members and also for its EC members, for several monthsThe TR bargaining team and bargaining committee :
This has involved several months of preparing problems for the table;
Two series of meetings at the table with the employer have been completed (in August, then in November) for a total of six days;
Three days of bargaining are scheduled for the week of December 3rd. Dates have been set aside for January, February and March 2008.
Bargaining at the TR table is carried out in the form of interest based bargaining. Predicting results is dangerous, however it should be noted that there appears to be some openness on the employer’s side to change how some clauses are used.
Since our last AGM, CAPE has negotiated a new FIP agreement. Another round of FIP bargaining has begun.The EC bargaining team and bargaining committee :
This too has involved several months of preparing proposals.
Two series of meetings at the table with the employer have been completed in September, and again the week of November 26th. for a total of four days. Dates have been set aside for February, March and April.
Bargaining at the EC table follows the format of positional bargaining; however, the respective parties at the table have demonstrated a sincere desire to understand the problems for which proposals were designed to address.
As a result, we are actually engaged in a sort of semi interest / semi positional bargaining. Issues are being examined in greater depth and detail.
It would be unwise again to venture predictions, however, there does seem to be an openness on the employer’s side that was not always there in the past.Two general observations :
Firstly, this round of bargaining will be in all probability interrupted by federal elections.
Secondly, the current round is the first round where CAPE has come to Treasury Board tables to discuss staffing, classification and pensions. The Public Service Labour Relations Act has always been read by the employer as a statute that prohibits the negotiation of these three issues. However, a recent Supreme Court decision (June 2007) leads us to believe that we can challenge the exclusion of these issues from the bargaining table.
One final observation in passing : CAPE is trying to coordinate its challenge of the employer’s position with other bargaining agents; it is obviously in the interest of all bargaining agents and most importantly of all federal public service employees that only the most solid case go forth on behalf of all.Library of Parliament Collective Bargaining
CAPE is preparing for another round of bargaining with the Library of Parliament; a call for volunteers was issued this week.Labour Relations Representation
Representing members either informally or by filing grievances or complaints is one of the most important ways of ensuring that the parameters of labour relations and related rights are respected in your work place.
It is impossible to give you a full sense of CAPE’s representation services in the limited time available: your seven Labour Relations Officers have represented hundreds and hundreds of members over the course of the past year.
I invite you to visit CAPE’s web site, and click on the “about CAPE” hyperlink on the left menu bar, to go to the minutes of the National Executive Committee’s monthly meetings. You will find in each of these reports short descriptions of some of the more important cases handled by your LROs during the month.
These descriptions are not only useful in that they give members an idea of what kind of representation is provided by the Association; they are also useful in understanding labour relations and employment rights. Again: you can only know how important CAPE representation can be when you actually need it. But, to get a small idea, please visit the web site.Communications and Research
Communications including the internal circulation of information at CAPE has been the object of an internal review within the national office in 2006 and 2007.
Among the many decisions made during the review process, it was decided to ascribe a specific purpose to each of the association’s principle means of communication :
Web site: to inform members of events that affect their rights or their employment, and to present the activities of the association. I invite you to take advantage of the CAPE electronic mailing sign-up: you will find on the welcome page of the CAPE web site a button that will allow you to register for electronic notices that will inform you of a new posting every time CAPE adds something to its web site.
The annual report: to brief the membership on the important developments of the previous year;
Professional Dialogue: to offer analytical pieces that will provide members with contextualized reviews of the important issues of the day.
Things to look for in 2008 :
Pilot project on electronic surveys :
The local representatives of CAPE’s members at the Library of Parliament have graciously agreed to being the first bargaining unit of the organization to use the CAPE web site for their bargaining input questionnaire; the questionnaire will be set-up in the next few months.
Secondly, we are putting together a system that will allow members to vote electronically; we are hopeful that the system will be ready for the next national elections at CAPE, in the fall of 2008.
Thirdly, a more ambitious project is a complete remake of CAPE’s web site which will be up and running in the early part of the new year. Further to suggestions from members and from CAPE’s Communications Committee, the web site is being redesigned.
CAPE’s communications and information work is not limited to the web site and to our publications. On very specific and important matters, the national office distributes electronic notices to the local presidents.
On occasion, our research and communications services produces papers on issues of importance to the members (e.g. : the 20-page document which was distributed to all EC members and that explained how to write and/or review an EC work description for the EC conversion).
It should be noted that since the last round of bargaining, CAPE has given itself new tools for research and analysis. It should be noted also that the most significant area of research is research for our four bargaining tables.
One final note : further to a mini re-organization of functions, CAPE has set-up a new service for members who call the national office or write to the national office for information. One of the principal objectives of the function is to respond to members’ questions as quickly as possible and as comprehensively as possible. The service will respond to general questions regarding events, processes and most importantly on rights and entitlements. Consultations
Let me mention first that CAPE LROs sit on a number of National Joint Council committees. This is an important activity, for the National Joint Council is responsible for “co-developing” various directives that have a significant impact on your employment entitlements.
The committees where CAPE is present include the Work Force Adjustment Directive committee, the Employment Equity committee, and the Official Languages committee. Other NJC committees are responsible for the Foreign Service directives, the travel directive, and many other directives, which all deal again with important entitlements.
CAPE’s Labour Relations Officers are also involved, in partnership with CAPE’s local representatives, in department labour management consultations. They meet regularly with the ADMs and DMs or equivalents in almost all the organizations where we have a significant number of members.
In addition, CAPE consults with the central agencies of the public service: i.e. the Treasury Board Secretariat, the Public Service Commission and the Canadian Public Service Agency (CPSA).
For example, last January CAPE and a couple of other bargaining agents were invited by Treasury Board to explore ways to align with new public service legislation and regulations the grievance clauses of their collective agreements.
CAPE was also consulted by the CPSA on the matter of the EC qualification standards that are being prepared at by the agency.
CAPE has also been consulted on the development and implementation of the new EC classification standard.
The CPSA delegated its authority to review the TR classification standard to the Translation Bureau. As a result, the person responsible for the review at the Bureau met with me for a discussion of CAPE’s views on the matter of the TR classification standard.
CAPE is expecting a call from the Library of Parliament which committed to a classification review of positions encumbered by employees represented by CAPE; the review must be completed by June 2008. .. Stay tuned.
We have also been in contact with CPSA regarding the public service’s response to C-2 which was passed in Parliament last year. C-2 allows our members at the Library of Parliament to compete for Public Service jobs as if they were employees of the public service. The catch is that if they do move to the public service, they lose their years of service for the calculation of annual leave. Just a couple of words about the EC conversion:
CAPE is not particularly happy with recent slippages in the conversion process. Firstly, collective bargaining is dependent on a conversion data base that will provide both Treasury Board and your association with the data required to negotiate EC pay lines. The parties need the data base to trace the movement of ES and SI positions to the new classification levels of the EC standard. This data base was supposed to be delivered in November. Unless it pops up by surprise tomorrow, the CPSA is late, again.
CAPE will not allow the delivery of the data base to delay bargaining. At this time, the lack of a data base has not hindered negotiations. But it will if it is not delivered in the near future. CAPE’s EC bargaining team may need to review its options if there is a further delay.
Secondly, the CPSA appears to be playing coy with the matter of the Advance Personal Notification (APN).
The APN was scheduled originally for June, then September, then November and now for... “...some time before the Official Personal Notification” (OPN)... which will occur only after you have ratified a new collective agreement, probably in the fall of 2008.
The period starting with the APN and ending with the OPN is the period during which our ES and SI members, soon to be EC members can discuss with their supervisors the content of their work descriptions. It is in no one’s interest to have a short discussion period, because a short period will result in more grievances; therefore, it is in everyone’s interest to have an early APN. CAPE intends to put pressure on the agency in order to get the APN... asap.Training CAPE’s Local Representatives
CAPE’s active members, both at the national and local levels, identified training in labour relations as a priority in CAPE’s two most recent budget exercises.
In the course of the past year, CAPE has reviewed and renewed its training modules as well as its steward’s manual. CAPE has also added a new resource that will facilitate the creation of new courses, in a more timely fashion. In 2007, CAPE offered course on the TR and EC collective agreements, on the responsibilities of stewards, on occupational health and safety and on accommodation in the work place. It is expected that new courses will be prepared and delivered in 2008.
Thank you for your attention, and than you very much for coming to the AGM this evening.