Support your Association's Dues Increase! Vote "YES" before June 27

June 14, 2005

The CAPE members are currently being asked to vote on a dues increase recommended and supported by your National Executive Committee and Local Leadership. CAPE needs a "Yes" vote, so that we can address the current and potential financial difficulties, and to continue to provide superior services and the things we do best for our members:

we take care of our members
we are responsive and quickly respond to our members in need
we defend and protect your rights
we do our best to negotiate the best collective agreements for you
our Labor Relations Officers work extremely hard for you

Have you received your package?

An information package with the resolution and a ballot was sent to all members a few weeks ago. If you or your colleagues have not yet received the package, or have misplaced your package, please call CAPE immediately, and a new one will be sent to you. The National Office numbers are 613-236-9181, and 1-800-265-9181.

Responding to your questions

The following Qs and As, which are responses to some questions raised by members, are supplementary to the Qs and As on the Proposed Dues Increase enclosed in your voting materials.

Q. How did we get into this situation?

A. There are many factors that led to the current financial difficulties. The pre and post CAPE contributing factors are described in Annex B - The Financial Situation in Perspective, in the document Ensuring the Future of Our Association. Three factors that we have no control over have meant increased costs B these are a rapid increase in member requests for representation (e.g. grievances, harassment investigations, staffing appeals), a huge increase in the requirements for participation in employer forums, such as, joint union/management committees as the Public Service Modernization Act is implemented, and the price of rental accommodation in Ottawa.

As well, the EC group expanded rapidly until about two years ago, and has since remained about the same size. Previously dues income was increasing as a result of increases in bargaining unit membership; this is no longer the case. Simply put, our income has stopped growing while our costs have risen sharply.

Q. Why are we maintaining high 'accumulated surpluses'?

A. The Association wants to maintain a solid accumulated surplus so as to meet financial obligations and unexpected fluctuations in expenditures which may result from changes in circumstances.

The National Executive Committee sees the closing accumulated surpluses or "members equity" as reasonable. With the dues increase, the expected closing accumulated surplus in the first year (2005/06) is about the same amount of reserves SSEA or CUPTE had before the merger, which allowed the current deficit to continue for as long as it has.

The closing accumulated surplus in each year, as indicated in the dues increase scenario, is less than half of that year's budget, so it would be similar to an individual having set aside a percentage of a year's salary for unexpected expenses.

This represents prudent financial planning. The closing accumulated surplus declines toward 2012, however that time is far off enough that a later planning framework will deal with it - the present plan is an attempt to provide stable funding through the next short to medium term.

Q. I am reluctant to vote for an increase of the size recommended - what are the alternatives?

A. It is clearly a difficult decision to vote for an increase in deductions from one's pay cheque. There is some possibility that the full increase recommended will not be implemented if the future evolves more positively than currently understood. This might be true for the last two years of increases requested.

However, in the absence of a dues increase CAPE would have very difficult choices to make - one is to come back to members shortly for another increase, which will have to be higher (at least in the short term) simply because our bank balance is declining rapidly.

The other possibility could be to dissolve CAPE and merge with another union. The monthly dues of all the other unions are currently higher than what CAPE dues would be in four years, if the dues increase is accepted.

Q. What is CAPE doing to cut costs?

A. An expenditure review is underway. The purpose is to identify whether resources can be shifted from lower priority activities to higher priority activities, as well as identifying any possible savings. In terms of direct services to members - we are legally and constitutionally required to provide representation to members, and it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to reduce staff and meet our obligations at the same time.

Following the expenditure review, any savings identified will go towards the overall goal of a financially responsible organization - and this may mean lower dues than currently anticipated. Our rental accommodations and possible alternatives will be considered in the expenditure review.

Q. What has been the feedback at member meetings held across the country about the recommended dues increase?

A. Members have been very encouraging about the value they see in CAPE, and in the need for additional staff to deal with their needs in their workplaces. Members have voiced support for the dues increase at these meetings, especially when they understand what the alternatives are.

Even those who expressed some concerns at first now agree that it is in their best interest to maintain CAPE in order to have representation. Most members now have an understanding that even with the dues increase, our dues will still be lower than the likely alternative.

Your National Executive Committee and Local Leadership strongly urge you to exercise your right to vote - and to vote "Yes" so as to ensure the future of your Association.

If you still have questions, or require additional information, please contact your National Executive Committee members, or your Local Leaders.

Again, if you or your colleagues have not yet received a package, or have misplaced your package, please call CAPE immediately and a new one will be sent to you.

The National Office numbers are 613-236-9181, and 1-800-265-9181.