President’s ReportCAPE’s AGMWednesday, November 30, 2005January 11, 2006
This year I did something rather different from our previous AGM format. Instead of presenting my year end Report at the AGM, I chose to post it on CAPE website so that the members who could not attend the meeting would have an opportunity to read it. More importantly, I wanted to allow more time for those who were present to ask questions.
Here then is the text of my Report.
I want to talk to you briefly about our internal and external accomplishments including some ongoing activities. I am proud to share with you some examples of significant successes in our efforts to fight for our members’ rights in the workplace.
My Report is divided into two areas: I will cover the Internal Accomplishments first in Part A and then the External Accomplishments in Part B.
A. Internal Accomplishments
i. It’s Certainly Been a Busy Year !
For the National Executive, the sub-committees and the Local Leadership, this has been an extraordinarily busy year. The dues issue, the Association’s finances, the expenditure review, the ongoing consultations and collective bargaining and negotiations have placed demands on each and every resource of the Association – especially our volunteers.
As any member of the National Executive Committee will tell you, the dues increase has consumed enormous amounts of time and energy. We had many meetings, including a tour of the country, to meet with members in the regions so as to listen and learn first hand issues of interest and concerns. It also gave me a unique opportunity to explain how CAPE is trying to meet the needs of the membership within the current financial circumstances. Back at the office, I continue to answer members’ questions in person, via e-mail, and in meetings with individuals, and groups.
My commitment is to be accessible to all and to respond to all in a timely manner.
ii. On Collective Bargaining
This is a continuous process for the Association. The TR Collective Agreement, the TR Financial Incentive Plan, and the Library of Parliament Collective Agreement negotiations are very demanding and take considerable amount of the Association’s time. Soon, the EC Collective Agreement Bargaining Committee will begin its negotiations. All of these means that we are, or, will be at the table throughout the entire year. These processes bring together the skills and talents of our professional staff, and the tireless volunteers who represent their peers, on the bargaining committees and bargaining teams.
The Translation Bureau is one of our more active and involved Locals. They have a complex relationship with the employer. For example, they negotiate a separate agreement on the Financial Incentive Plan and an agreement on the Production Goals. The Association works closely with the Local in all of these negotiations, but the true weight of the work has been carried by the TR volunteers. Countless hours have been spent in training, development, consultations and negotiations.
And I ask you all to join me in giving all our volunteers a big round of applause. Thank you.
iii. On Fighting for our Members
Let me give you two examples:
a. Moving the Translation Bureau to Moncton
Take the case of when the rumors regarding a possible move of the Translation Bureau to New Brunswick began, the Association made its position abundantly clear. Luc Gervais, President of the Translation Bureau Local, Claude Danik and myself met with the office of Scott Brison, the Minister responsible for Public Works and Government Services and stated unequivocally that we opposed any such move and sought an assurance that our members will remain in the National Capital Region. Ultimately, we received the final reassurance that the move would not happen.
b. CSC Classification
Take the case of our members at the CSC in Kingston and else where. We have taken Correctional Services Canada to task regarding their long standing problems with the implementation of a classification review involving our SI members. I met with the Commissioner of CSC on Friday, November 25, and will be meeting with him again on December 2, to ensure appropriate action is taken immediately to bring this long standing issue to a close.
iv. Our LROs - Doing More with Less
Even though the dues issue has been very demanding, the representation of the members has always been the priority for us. Our Professional Services Division has represented hundreds of members on a myriad of issues – grievances, appeals, complaints, discrimination cases, harassment, providing formal and
informal representation and advice. Our Labor Relations professionals have been carrying an ever increasing load, and doing so with a great degree of success. Some of our success stories include the following:
▸ The Association successfully represented a member who grieved the decision of the department that denied her the right to have paid parental leave in accordance with the collective agreement. We argued that the Department’s interpretation was in violation of the Human Rights Code on the prohibited grounds of family status.
▸ The Association successfully represented a member on an Appeal based on allegations that the competitive process offended the merit principle. The Appeal Board Chairperson allowed the appeal, on the grounds that our member was unjustly screened out of a competitive process for an ES 6 position.
▸ The Association successfully represented a member who filed a classification grievance in order to have the employer recognize that the additional duties added to the position should suffice to reclassify the subject position to a higher level. CAPE argued that the effective date for the reclassification was April 2002 and the member will receive a retroactive payment of more than $10,000.00.
▸ The Association successfully represented a member who filed a Human Rights complaint against the employer due to the lack of effort in accommodating her medical condition. A settlement was reached in mediation, and the member will receive financial compensation for pain and suffering and accommodations will be made.
▸ The Association successfully represented a member who had a two day suspension for lack of productivity and for not following orders from management. A grievance was filed and a t the final level the employer agreed that the two days suspension was too severe. The discipline was reduced to a letter on file.
▸ The Association successfully represented a member who was wrongfully dismissed during the probationary period.
▸ The Association successfully negotiated the conversion of a large number of PM positions to SI positions, at Human Resources and Skills Development Canada.
B. External Accomplishments & Activities
Now I would like talk briefly about some of the external achievements and activities.
I. Budget 2005
With the 2005 budget bringing change and uncertainty to the membership, my role was to meet with the various heads of agencies and departmental Deputy Ministers, in order to ascertain if, in fact, our members were going to be negatively impacted. So far, compared to other unions, there has been relatively negligible impact on our members.
ii. Creation of Service Canada
I met with all relevant Deputy Ministers in regards to the creation of Services Canada earlier in the year and sought their assurance in protecting the interests of our members in the departments implicated in this change.
iii. Pension Surplus
As you know, the pensions surplus issue is now before Justice Panet of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. The trial began on November 15, 2005 by challenging the federal government’s confiscation of over $30 billion of surplus in the superannuation plans for the Canadian Forces, the RCMP and the Public Service.
During this phase of the trial, the only issue was whether 128 internal government documents would be admitted into evidence. Following four days of argument on the motion, Justice Panet reserved his decision. He will be required to decide whether these internal government documents are relevant and for what purpose they can be used. It is anticipated that Justice Panet will release his decision within the next few weeks. The next phase of the trial is expected to commence in the Spring of 2006 and will take approximately three to four weeks.
Our legal council has worked hand in hand with the lawyers representing PIPSC, PSAC and the 15 other organizations involved in this enormous joint action.
On the whole, CAPE got a bit of media coverage, in both print and Radio.
iv. PSHCP Negotiations
I personally represented the Association at the table in the negotiations of a new Public Service Health Care Plan. Details of the Agreement are still confidential pending the approval and announcement by the Treasury Board. We met yesterday to get an update on the work being done on the Governance of the Plan and on preparing the Memorandum of Agreement. TB submission was supposed to be completed and presented to the TB ministers on December 12, but with the call of elections, we don’t know whether this date is achievable.
I am at the table as a bargaining agent representative on the Deputy Ministers Committee on Staffing and Staffing Recourse. I was also the representative on the Union Management Advisory Committee on workplace issues regarding the Public Service Labor Relations Act. CAPE has been providing input into the Change Management Framework for the implementation of the PSMA.
vi. Working with the NJC
We have stretched our resources to allow for a much greater visibility on the National Joint Council. We participate actively on a myriad of committees, including the Public Service Commission Advisory Council working groups on Mobility, Pre-qualified Pools, and Co-Development, the NJC Dental Care Board of Management Committee, the Disability Insurance Board of Management Committee, the Official Languages Committee, the Joint Employment Equity Committee, the Workforce Adjustment Committee, the Joint Compensation Advisory Committee, and the Pensions Committee.
We are also present on the Public Service Human Resources Management Working Groups on Staffing Recourse and Staffing Tools and Models and have collaborated successfully with other unions on issues of community interest.
I personally had the honor of being asked to represent the Association as a keynote speaker at the National Joint Council Annual Seminar this fall, in Edmonton, Alberta. The NJC asked me to introduce the Association to them, to explain our structure, our governance, our history, our services, the multiple roles the Association plays, and our challenges as the third largest federal public service union.
vii. Enhancing CAPE Profile
As President, I have undertaken to enhance the visibility of the Association at every opportunity. I was invited to speak more than twice to the locked out CBC employees on Sparks Street this Summer. CAPE was present on the first days of the lockout to provide them support and much needed solidarity. A t major rally held on Spark’s Street, a number of CAPE members came to march with placards in solidarity with the CBC local employees. You will find some pictures on the CAPE website on this.
I have also been quoted in the citizen, I’ve had sound bites on the radio, and have been invited to speak to issues ranging from labor unrest to the multi-billion dollar pensions case that is currently before the courts.
In conclusion, let me say that all in all it has been a challenging, demanding, and rewarding year. I have had the privilege of working with your National Executive Committee, its subcommittees such as the Finance Committee, Communications Committee, Constitution and By-Laws Committee, the Local Leadership, as well as the Professional and Administrative staff of the national office. These experiences have given me a greater appreciation of the meaning of the words “dedication” and “commitment” to the service of all CAPE membership.
Now, let’s move forward together in the coming years to build a better and stronger Association.