Ensuring the Future of our Association:A message from your National Executive CommitteeMay 05, 2005
In the near future you will be receiving a voting package containing materials relating to the Association dues increase that has been recommended by your National Executive Committee and supported by the Local Leadership. We encourage you to take the time to review the documents, and to cast your ballot.
In an effort to ensure that our membership has the opportunity to make a well-informed decision, we invite you to read the following document, entitled "Ensuring the Future of our Association", as well as the Resolution on Dues Increase. You will also be receiving these documents in the mail, along with the Qs and As, a table with the dues increase scenarios, and the voting materials and instructions. The ballots must be returned to the office by June 27th, 2005, at noon.
A Special General Meeting will be held on June 1 to discuss the proposed dues increase, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Ottawa.
If you have any questions or concerns, or wish to discuss the issues surrounding the recommended dues increase, please feel free to contact members of your Local Leadership or National Executive Committee.
Ensuring the Future of our Association
Message from the National Executive Committee
Our Association is a union that represents respected professionals and knowledge-based workers in the Federal Public Service. Our work, which contributes to the richness of Canada, is valued by Canadians. We proudly embrace our membership in this Association.
Before you vote on the enclosed Resolution to approve a dues increase, we urge you to read and consider the value of the Association to you, its superior services as described in this document, its future, the level of the dues increase recommended, which essentially translates into approximately"a dollar a working day" by the end of the fourth year of the dues increase.
We recommend that you support this level of dues increase.
Remember: To prepare for a better future requires us to take immediate and prudent action now!
Your Support is Vital Now!
Your National Executive Committee (NEC) members, for the last four months, have devoted considerable time and energy preparing to seek your support for a dues increase that will ensure the future of our Association.
In the course of this exercise, NEC members and Local Leaders have met many of you and discussed in detail why we need a dues increase now, and have explained, as truthfully and transparently as possible, why we find ourselves in a deficit situation.
Without repeating these discussions, your NEC needs your support now to approve the recommended dues increase so as to continue to provide superior services expected of your Association and demanded by you. Here are six reasons why we need a dues increase.
I. Putting Our Financial House in Order
As we have indicated in our communications to you, we need to put our financial house in order so as to:
- eliminate the current operating deficit ($1.09 M) as quickly as possible,
- meet annual operating expenses, and
- build reasonable contingency reserve funds in the planning horizon.
To meet these three objectives and to avoid a financial crisis, your NEC, after reviewing numerous other dues increase scenarios, recommends our dues be increased by a total of $21 per month over a four year period, raising our current dues from $23 per month to $44 per month. This will be phased in incrementally as follows:
$10.00 per month in 2005/06 to $33.00;
$6.00 per month in 2006/07 to $39.00;
$3.00 per month in 2007/08 to $42.00;
$2.00 per month in 2008/09 to $44.00.
We are confident that with these increases, we will be operating in the black. As well, we will be building respectable levels of reserves up to the fourth fiscal year end.
Our Dues Increase is less than the cost of a Cup of Coffee a Day!
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.
Essentially, what we are asking you to support is this, a total dues increase that works out to be approximately "$1.00 for each working day of the month" by the end of the fourth year.
The Real Worth of Our Current Dues in 2005
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.
Even with this increase, CAPE's dues will remain the lowest among Unions in the Federal Public Service!
To complement the recommended dues increase, we plan a comprehensive review of the way the Association operates. The NEC has put in place a process to develop a constitutional provision that will allow periodic expenditure reviews. An expenditure review exercise will be coupled with strategic planning to set the future direction of the Association and ensure that your dues are used efficiently and responsibly.
2. Expanding and Improving Our Services
As you know, CAPE has a superior record of service, second to none and it is proud of it. We need to maintain this standard, improve upon it, and have the ability to continue to serve you as we enter a period of massive Public Service Modernization. These changes will require CAPE to have additional resources to meet a large volume of anticipated demands from you.
We provide members with first class advice and 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, occupational safety and health.
We communicate more with our members and are continuously improving our communications strategies to meet the increasing demands of our members.
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.
- 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.
- resolve problems before they escalate to grievances. These early intervention mechanisms will effectively stretch our current capacity to its limit.
3. Empowering our Local Leadership
We prepare and deliver Local Leadership and Stewards training twice a year on issues such as:
- basic Stewards training (grievance and appeal process)
- know your collective agreement
- occupational health and safety
- basic principles in negotiations, and
We help Locals organize their Annual General Meetings each year.
4. Taking Bold Actions on Your Behalf
We take bold initiatives on our members' behalf. For example, we:
- initiated actions before the Public Service Staff Relations Board on behalf of our members against the Treasury Board's interpretation and application of the Lajoie decision that discriminated against our members. Many of us benefited from this case.
- are fighting on behalf of members against the government's appropriation of the pension surplus of approximately $30 billion in the Public Service Superannuation Plan to which we have all contributed.
- intervened at all levels of court, up to the Supreme Court of Canada, in the Vaid human rights case against the House of Commons so as to ensure that under no circumstances should our members be denied their human rights as enshrined in the Canadian Human Rights Act.
5. Influencing Government Policy
We prepared and presented briefs to Parliamentary Committees considering legislation directly relevant to our members. For example, we presented briefs on the Public Service Modernization Act, (Bill C-25), and on the Public Service Whistleblowing Act (Bill C-241).
We carry out research on issues of importance to our members. For example, CAPE monitored and prepared information on the effects of translation production targets on the duty to accommodate. It also prepared a study of responses to the Public Service Employees Survey, and a study of the issue of unpaid overtime.
As you know, CAPE was instrumental in establishing a new consultation protocol with the Translation Bureau and in actively expressing concerns about production objectives established by the Bureau. Consequently, we got the Bureau to change to a new system.
With the dues increase 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 changes is limited
- prepare and present more briefs to Parliamentary Committees and have the ability to participate in and appear before House of Commons Committees upon request.
6. Working in Solidarity with Other Unions
We work cooperatively with other unions to establish a common front on department and public service wide issues and provide support for their causes.
Our Association is Worth Sustaining
- We cannot both continue to tackle such important issues listed above and serve individual members at a superior level with the current inadequate level of dues.
- We believe our Association must be sustained.
- We ensure our future by acting immediately.
We urge you to support this dues increase and vote "YES" to the Resolution.