Message from the President

January 17, 2011 Dear members,
On behalf of the National Executive Committee of CAPE, of the entire staff of the Association and in my personal name, I would like to wish you a very Happy New Year.
When a new year starts, we stop and reflect on the past year, and try to figure out what we should expect from the one ahead. So, The year 2010 started with your Association responding to attacks on your pension plan with membership meetings, communiqués to MPs, a press conference and widely praised analysis. The message to our employer: don’t touch our pension plan. Then as the year progressed, it seemed that new crises were being fabricated everywhere, including in the relatively ordered world of collective bargaining. Again CAPE sent a clear message on behalf of its members: no expedited bargaining.
On the homefront, your Association has been going through a rebuilding process since the election of December 2008. The past year has allowed us to reach a full National Executive Committee, to accelerate and improve the important work of the sub-committees of the NEC to start looking ahead, and to build strength that we anticipate will be needed in the near future. We now have a comprehensive communications plan. We have launched a series of changes to our Constitution and By-laws. We have dramatically increased our presence in the media and on Parliament Hill. We have more members involved in Association work on behalf of all of you, their colleagues. This commitment is reassuring.
After a rocky year with the current government, our three Bargaining Units are getting ready to start negotiations in the coming months. I would like to take this opportunity to thank those of you who volunteered time and efforts to represent your colleagues at the bargaining tables. Your first task will be to survey all these colleagues for a very important bargaining round. And, unless our members tell us differently in the coming bargaining input survey, you will be repeating at the bargaining table what members told us this fall: CAPE members are not interested in negotiating away severance pay.
I would not dare to try and predict what 2011 will look like on the union scene. However, one thing we all know is that there will be a budget in the coming months. Judging from the past ones, it could contain all sorts of surprises, not necessarily good ones for the public service as a whole and for its employees in particular. Another thing we know is that there might be an election, in which this minority government will try to get a majority. Bargaining in an election year is well known at CAPE. From our past experience, it not only stops the process, but also can change the direction and mandate of the employer’s negotiators. Something to think about as we prepare for 2011.
I hope to hear from you in the coming year. Thank you for your continued support.