SSEA – CUPTE Merger Goes to the Membership

March 27, 2003 Members will begin receiving their information packages regarding the proposed merger with CUPTE, sometime in the very near future. Members will be asked to vote on whether they approve of a new Association representing the combined membership of SSEA and CUPTE, as based upon the new Constitution. We have reproduced the critical documents contained in this package, here, for informational purposes. A Special General Meeting has been scheduled for April 10th, and members are invited to attend in order to discuss the proposed merger, and SSEA Constitution.
In introducing the voting package to members, SSEA President has provided members with the background of this merger proposal, as well as a summary of the National Executive’s supportive view of the merger. This letter is reproduced below in its entirety. The documents referred to in his letter can be accessed by clicking on the link provided at the appropriate reference.
March 24, 2003
Dear Colleagues:
Subject: Merger of SSEA and CUPTE
Since February of 2000, your Executive Committee has a taken a strategic view of the Association's long term interests. In the light of the Government's initiatives in work classification and human resource management, we believe that a larger organization would offer a greater chance for your Association to continue to represent you in the manner to which you are accustomed. We believe very strongly that in the medium term, following human resource modernization, there well could be attempts to reduce the number of bargaining agents. A larger organization will have a greater chance of survival.
We also have recognized the explosion of consultative forums and the necessity to devote additional resources to serve and protect your interests. Here again, a larger organization will better service its membership. This is particularly true under the Government=s proposed Human Resource Modernization legislation which will create a framework for co-development.
Finally, your Executive has been committed to maintaining the lowest dues structure of any public service bargaining agent. This policy is a direct and continuing benefit to all Association members and has strategically positioned your Association for future growth or competition with other bargaining agents.
It was with these policy concerns in mind that your Executive initiated a project to explore merger or affiliation with other like-minded groups. We were approached by CUPTE, a union which represents translators, interpreters and terminologists (TR Group), who was also seeking a merger with a larger union in order to protect its strategic interests.
As we previously explained to you, following preliminary discussions your Executive and that of CUPTE came to an agreement to undertake this project based on six fundamental principles (see Constitution preamble). We have worked through a joint Transition Committee to develop a Constitutional framework to support a new organization comprised of SSEA and CUPTE members. The work of this Transition Committee was also reviewed by your Constitution Committee. Finally, your National Executive Committee unanimously approved the enclosed Constitution.
Our Recommendation
In summary, your Executive is proud to present this Constitutional package for your consideration for the following reasons:
1. The democratic model is by and large very similar to that of your current organization. Well in excess of 90% of the Constitutional provisions were SSEA constitutional elements or improvements which we sought on your behalf.
2. The membership retains sovereignty over the organization through a mail balloting process. This includes the election of officials, resolutions, By-laws and Constitutional Amendments, budgets, audited statements, recall of officials, etc.
3. Your bargaining unit is independent of the National Executive Committee and its negotiated collective agreement goes directly to you for approval.
4. Your organization and CUPTE are each financially viable and when merged will have financial reserves close to $4.0 million. This will provide for the maintenance of our dues level for the immediate future and will provide for an enhanced level of service.
5. CUPTE and SSEA have a strong community of interest. No, the members of CUPTE are not social scientists, but they have worked for many years with us, as partners in many legal actions to protect our members. These include numerous pension actions and actions to protest discrimination against our respective memberships. We share a view of proactive representation and protection of member rights.
6. We have mapped out within the Constitutional document numerous transition measures which will ensure the effective operation of the new union, leading up to its first election in the fall of 2004. We are conscious of the need to continue serving you in a manner which is effective and uninterrupted by our transition into a new labour union.
Your Executive is asking that you approve a new Association representing the combined memberships of SSEA and CUPTE as based upon the enclosed Constitution.
To assist you in coming to a decision on this matter we have enclosed for your consideration:
1. A Constitutional summary document which maps out the principal elements of the new constitution.
2. A Constitution for the new organization which will represent the combined memberships of SSEA and CUPTE.
3. For information purposes, organization diagrams of the new Association's Executive Committee, the Transitional Executive structure which will govern for a period ending in 2004, and the National Office.
Looking further at financial matters, we have reviewed through our firm of auditors the audited financial statements of CUPTE, and have not found any issues of concern. As stated, they are a viable organization and our merger will create a surplus of nearly $4.0 million. Please note that when a budget is prepared by the new Association, it will be fully reviewed by a Finance Committee and the new Association's Local Leadership. As well, the ultimate control will remain in your hands, as any budget will be subject to your approval. I believe this should give you confidence in the manner in which your finances are handled. I hope you will, in reviewing the enclosed Constitutional material, take note of the strong financial controls envisaged for the new Association.
The final document package contains your ballot and instructions on voting for the proposed new union. I urge you to carefully read this material and to exercise your democratic right.
Please note the notice contained in this package regarding a Special General Meeting (SGM)to discuss the proposed merger, which is scheduled for April 10, 2003. I urge you to speak with your colleagues. If you would like to arrange for a meeting of your Local to discuss the package, you may contact my office or your SSEA Labour Relations Officer to schedule a meeting.
Having served as your President these past 12 years I have appreciated your support and encouragement. I strongly believe that the emerging human resource environment in the Federal Public Service requires that your bargaining agent develop a broader resource base in order to be effective in representing your interests. I hope you share this view, and will devote the time and energy to read, reflect, and discuss this issue with all your colleagues. Thanks as always, and I hope that we all soon be together as members of The Canadian Association of Professional Employees (CAPE).
Bill Krause