We met with AEU on Wednesday night and they gave us an update on their negotiations, which are currently at the conciliation stage. We then met with the employer on Thursday and Friday September 27 and 28.
On Thursday we succeeded in signing off the final non-monetary items and our discussions began in earnest – we once again restated our positions on the retiree benefit plan, the car allowance and mileage, various OT related issues, vacation, CULE II stress days and the CEP. The employer provided an update on succession planning and the related line item in the PSAC budget – they have a proposal that will be tabled at the next AEC meeting and will be rolled out after approval. We then held more discussions and explored our options with regards to the retiree benefit plan. We agreed that we cannot go any further without consulting Coughlin again. In the afternoon the employer agreed to our proposal regarding captive time, and we signed an agreement with regards to meal rates.
After a break for supper we tabled our position on wages. We gave the employer the results of our research, which indicates that all our bands lag significantly behind the AEU as well as most component staff. We informed the employer we are looking for wage parity with AEU and then a percentage increase. Only after negotiating these will we be in a position to negotiate rates for band 13.
We spent much of Friday morning discussing the car allowance and mileage. The employer presented the results of their research into the costs of using a vehicle. The employer has refused to move on our proposal on MOA #1 – North American made automobile – they inform that this is due political reasons. It also became obvious that our ideas of what constitutes a “green” vehicle are quite different.
The discussions so far have been very cordial but took a frostier tone on Friday afternoon, when we returned to the issue of wages. The employer refused to move further on any of our proposals without hearing our position on a percentage increase, which we gave them – five, five and five. We felt that this was a fair demand, and would bring us back in line with the rest of the PSAC family.
The employer quickly returned with a hand-written document they called the employer’s offer of settlement, which contained their currently tabled offers around vacation leave, the retiree benefit plan, the car allowance and mileage, the CULE Solidarity Fund, the bilingual allowance, as well as an economic increase of 2.5% per year over three years. It totally neglected to address many of the issues that were still on the table, including CULE II stress days, CEP, and the recreation allowance among other things.
The employers package also included an offer to settle the Potter (Band 13) arbitral award in exchange for wage parity across all three bands effective April 2007 for CULE II and retroactive to 2006 for CULE I. We found this odd as the employer had stated previously that any negotiations on this issue would not involve any part of CULE II. Our position is and continues to be that every CULE member deserves wage parity with AEU and this should not be tied to the Band 13 decision in any way.
We made this position clear to the employer and then agreed to meet in October to give our full response. We are currently looking for dates.
We met with AEU again on Friday night and gave them a quick update.
If you have any questions about our progress so far please contact one of us or a member of the CULE Executive.
In Solidarity, Your Negotiating Team.