TR Bargaining Update: October 21, 2014

November 07, 2014

CAPE’s TR Bargaining Team met with the Employer’s Team at the bargaining table on October 21, 22 and 23. The union side presented its proposed amendments to Articles 23, 25 and 26.  The first proposed amendment to Article 23 would add rigour and clarity to the performance assessment process by basing the process on principles recognized by the courts (Article 23:23.01-23.06); the second proposed amendment to Article 23 seeks to establish a consultation process and principles on the important subject of quantitative performance objectives (Article 23:23.xx). CAPE proposed an amendment to Article 25 that would protect interpreters when quality interpretation cannot be provided due to poor sound quality (Article 25). Lastly, CAPE proposed an amendment to Article 26 that would provide a framework for the consultation that should take place when the employer is considering a redesign of the workplace (Article 26).

The employer presented an amended version of its own proposed changes to the Article on sick leave. CAPE had expected the employer to present facts and figures supporting the merits of the proposal it had tabled in September; however, no such facts and figures were tabled. Indeed, it may be recalled that the employer’s original proposed changes, justifications and data on this subject were nonsensical. Rather than explain its proposal, however, the employer decided to put a slightly different offer on the table.

The employer now wants to reduce the 15 days of annual paid sick leave to which TRs are entitled to 6 days; under the employer’s new proposal, an employee who does not use all of those 6 days would be entitled to carry forward to the next year an entire day, raising to 7 his or her maximum number of days of paid sick leave for that year. At present, employees roll any unused portion of their annual sick leave allotment of 15 days over to the following year, and there is no maximum on the amount of such banked sick leave an employee can carry.

The employer is also proposing to amend the collective agreement to allow the use of other leave, annual leave or personal leave when an employee is sick during the waiting period. The employer is also proposing that all existing accumulated sick leave credits be converted into a wage top-up allowance (at a conversion rate of 7.5%) that could only be used during the year in which a short-term disability (STD) plan is implemented and only if an employee is sick for more than six consecutive days during that year and is entitled to 70% salary replacement. In all other cases, those sick leave credits will be lost forever. 

The waiting period for the employer’s proposed STD plan remains unchanged: seven consecutive calendar days during which the employee may be without a salary. The employer’s proposal increases from four to five weeks the amount of time following this waiting period that employees would receive 100% of their pay. Starting with the sixth week of salary replacement, the rate of compensation would fall to 70%. Under the current sick leave system, employees are entitled to 100% salary replacement. The long-term disability benefits to which employees may be entitled provide 70% wage replacement benefits after a minimum of 13 weeks. Once again, the TR Bargaining Team made it clear that the parties cannot responsibly discuss the employer’s proposals until such time as the impact those proposals might have on our TR members can be measured.

The employer also presented its concerns about the Parliamentary leave system, as well as certain elements of the Samson report. Without prejudging the outcome, the parties agreed in good faith to use the interest-based bargaining approach in December to examine the situation.