ENSURING OUR FUTURE:QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ON THE PROPOSED DUES INCREASEApril 28, 2005
The National Executive Committee (NEC) has taken a long hard look at our new organization and what we need to do in order to better address the needs of you, our members. We find that it has become more and more difficult for CAPE to continue serving you in the manner to which you have become accustomed without a dues increase.
The following provides answers to some of your questions regarding the Association, and in particular, regarding the dues increase.
Q1. We have been informed that the Association is in an operating deficit situation. What caused the deficit?
A. The current operating deficit is the result of many factors, including; hiring additional staff to meet an increasing demand for services; the increasing costs of collective bargaining; rising professional fees for legal services owing to action to protect your pension surplus, human rights cases to defend the Canadian Human Rights Act, pay equity and other legal challenges; the high costs of accommodations in the National Capital Region; and the inadequacy of a $23-a-month dues base to sustain a public service union in 2005.
Q2. How does the National Executive Committee intend to get us out of this financial crisis?
A. Your National Executive Committee considers the deficit situation very serious, which, if not immediately addressed, would affect CAPE's ability to provide the level of services demanded by you. Consequently, your NEC determined that the current level of dues at $23 a month is inadequate to meet our members' increasing demands for a variety of services now and in the near future.
Q3. What is the appropriate level of dues needed now?
A. The NEC recommends that our dues be increased from $23 to $44 over a four year period to be phased in, incrementally, as follows:
$10.00 per month in 2005/2006 ($33.00)
$6.00 per month in 2006/2007 ($39.00)
$3.00 per month in 2007/2008 ($42.00)
$2.00 per month in 2008/2009 ($44.00)
To some people, this increase seems to be a large one. Obviously, when compared with the current $23.00, it is. What we have to remember is that for many of our members there has not been a dues increase since 1993.
Q4. How much will the additional dues increase cost me a day?
A. Essentially, the total dues increase works out to be approximately a $1.00 for each working day of the month by the end of the fourth year.
Q5. Is it true that our dues at $23 a month is one of the lowest among the Federal Public Service unions?
A. Yes. Even when our dues reach $44 a month in four years time we will still be the lowest. Since other unions are facing the same pressures we are, it might be reasonable to expect that they, too, will need to increase dues in the coming years.
The Association of Canadian Financial Officers members currently pay $25.00 per month but this amount is subsidized with the substantial revenues they receive annually from participation in Venture Capital.
PIPSC's current dues are $47.00 per month.
PSAC's formulae for dues calculations are somewhat more complicated, but for purposes of comparison, a PM-05 will pay approximately $67.00 a month. An AS-07 will pay approximately $78.00 a month.
Q6. Why does NEC recommend the above level of dues increase?
A. The NEC examined a number of ideas, views and suggestions from members on the level of dues increase. Some members wanted a very low increase, others wanted a one time increase of $22 or more immediately. After reviewing numerous dues increase scenarios, and taking into consideration a medium term planning horizon, your NEC decided that the recommended level of dues will provide the required revenues to eliminate the current operating deficit as quickly as possible.
Q7. Is eliminating the operating deficit the only reason for the dues increase?
A. No. The recommended level of dues increase will allow the Association to meet its annual operating expenses and also build reasonable levels of contingency reserve funds for the next four years.
With the dues increase, we will increase our staffing capacity to cope with the pressures for more service to meet a large volume of anticipated demands from you as a result of the Public Service Modernization Act.
With the dues increase, we will represent you at various labour-management consultation processes in departments and agencies as required by the implementation of the newly introduced Public Service Labour Relations Act.
With the dues increase, we will train more Stewards to assist our members.
We will communicate more with our members and enhance our communications strategies.
Q8. What other services can we expect with the dues increase?
A. As you know, CAPE has a record of a superior level of services to our members. For example, we provide effective representation so as to improve employee-management relations, foster dialogue, resolve workplace conflicts, grievances, appeals, harassment, staffing without competition and other staffing matters, issues related to work-life balance, and occupational safety and health in an efficient and timely fashion.
With the dues increase, we will influence government policy. We will integrate into our daily operation policy development and advocacy efforts so as to be more pro-active in the new labour relations environment. Currently, for lack of resources, CAPE's ability to act rather than only react to major government policy changes is limited.
With the dues increase, we will prepare and present more briefs to Parliamentary Committees and have the ability to participate in and appear before the House of Commons Committees upon request.
Q9. If I approve the dues increase, will you also review the Association's expenditures?
A. Indeed, the NEC believes that the recommended dues increase should be complemented by a comprehensive expenditure review. It has already set in motion an immediate expenditure review process that will produce a report as soon as possible. As well, it has put in place a process to develop a constitutional provision to require periodic expenditure review of the Association's operation.
Q10. What is the real worth of our current dues in 2005?
A. Consider this; with inflation, $23 in 1993 translates into about $29 dollars in 2005. In addition, since union dues are tax deductible, roughly 40% to 45% of our dues increase will be returned to us through the tax system as most of us fall within this income tax bracket. This means you are really paying less than the proposed dues increase.
Q11. When do we expect another level of dues increase?
A. Good question! As indicated above (see Q3), the NEC recommends a dues increase for the next four years, effective July 1, 2005 and ending June 30, 2009. The NEC is in the process of putting in place a constitutional provision to review the dues structure before the end of the four year period. The recommendation(s) resulting from such a review will determine whether an increase in our dues will be necessary and if so, by how much.
Q12. Have our members been engaged in the discussions leading to the Resolution on the dues increase?
A. Yes. The NEC has addressed the dues increase issue at various CAPE forums in 2004, including Local Leadership meetings and at the CAPE AGM. It held a special Local Leadership meeting in February, 2005 and received strong support for a dues increase so as to maintain the Association.
The NEC established a Task Force, composed of the Finance Committee members and regional representatives, with a mandate to review existing dues increase scenarios and make recommendations on the appropriate level of dues. We provided detailed information packages to all Local Leaders to assist them in answering questions from their members.
In addition, Locals are holding meetings to provide members opportunities to engage in discussions. The President and the National Executive Committee members will make presentations and answer questions at these meetings. Finally, a Special General Meeting will be held on June 1st, to give further opportunities to members to participate fully and democratically in these discussions.
Q13. When will I receive my Ballot?
A. The Resolution with the Ballot will be sent to all members in May 2005. The package will contain important information on the dues increase from your National Executive Committee which you are encouraged to read before voting.
Q14. How are members reacting to a proposed dues increase?
A. Reactions so far have been positive. The NEC is encouraged by the number of members who have said publicly that our current level of dues does not reflect the times and are consequently willing to support a dues increase. They add that the Association should have instituted a dues increase years ago.
Q15. What happens after the vote?
A. You will be informed of the results sometime in July.
Q16. Who do I contact for more information, or to express an opinion?
A. Your Local Leadership has been provided with materials that will enable them to answer your questions. Y
Your National Executive Committee members will be happy to answer your questions and are interested in hearing your views on the matter.