CULE Executive Meeting April 29, 30, May 1, Toronto
Lisa Garnier, President Jim Brohman, Director, North Tom Hamilton, Director, Ontario Larry Welsh, VP CULE I Debbie McLaughlin, Director, Atlantic Bruce Campbell, Director, Prairies Jack Rudd, Director, BC Bob Allen, Director, NCR Gail Chafe, Treasurer Marion Agadzi, VP CULE II David Doyle, A/Director, Ontario (Saturday & Sunday) Patrick Bragg, Guest
1. Executive reports
MSC Tom/Gail THAT the reports be accepted. 2. Agenda and previous minutes
Lisa distributed the minutes of the last meeting and conference calls and agenda for this meeting. Business arising from the old minutes was discussed. Executive meeting, September 17-18, 2005: Cards for new members can be ordered from Heather. Marion is working on new signage. Conference call, February 10, 2006: Dave Thompson is working on the Convention CD. We estimate $20000 in supplies, etc. was donated to Cuba. Marion will try to pull a list together. Several items were added to the agenda.
MSC Larry/Gail THAT the agenda be adopted as amended AND THAT the minutes be accepted. 3. Joint Meeting: AEU, UES, CULE & PSAC.
The staff unions met prior to co-ordinate. AEU: no follow through on UMCs. PSAC: Succession planning is a huge issue. $900,000 over 3 years is budgeted for planning. 40% of the entire Alliance staff is expected to retire within the next 5 years. It was noted that with some Regional Co-ordinators staffing irregularities are a problem – there is no consultation. CULE requested bimonthly reports regarding upcoming staffing. No problem. AEU will prepare their own MOU regarding students. A discussion was held. CULE must ensure MOA #24 is followed. Nycole will strongly recommend to her sucessor that the joint meeting become an annual event. A large amount of joint committees are inactive due to the Directors being too busy. Co-ordinators are now authorized to sit on these committees on behalf of the employer, subject to approval by CULE. Lisa noted the meeting was productive although Nycole would not discuss bargaining at this meeting.
4. Harassment policy – Appendix B.
Lisa explained the proposed changes, added by CULE and the employer:
Add “indeterminate employee and term employees over 1 year” to preamble. Other staff would be covered by other PSAC Policies and Procedures. What about term employees under 1 year, not from the PSAC membership? This needs clarification/rewording. We will meet with Dave Jackson this week and seek clarification as to the original intent. Other changes were discussed and re-worded. A new draft will be prepared and presented at the UMC.
5. Treasurer’s report
Gail took us through the Treasurers report and input was given.
MSC Bob/Tom THAT the budget be deferred until Saturday, pending more information from PSAC Convention.
MSC Gail/Jack THAT the report be accepted, without the budget. Unanimous. 6. CLC – affiliation response
Lisa distributed letters from Ken Georgetti & Nycole Turmel regarding the above. These letters will be posted on the CULE web-site.
MSC Jack/Jim THAT this matter will not be pursued any further at this time.
Northern Negotiator: the Negotiator is now a CULE member, through a MOA the position will be covered by the AEU collective agreement save and except CULE replace AEU whenever mentioned.
Out Days: An Out Days Committee was formed. Employer wants the ability to approve or deny out days. Employer & CULE each formed a draft MOA. An MOA has been created that the employer is willing to sign, after the settlement of 3 outstanding grievances.
MSC Tom/Larry THAT subject to the resolution of the outstanding grievances that we sign off on the MOA.
8. Car Insurance Policy
The employer proposes a fixed maximum rate on car insurance – up to $2,200 with receipts, no questions asked. This will cut down on their administrative overhead. The dollar value would be subject to yearly review. The matter was discussed and we are in agreement with the $2,200 but this new scheme would need to capture existing language around 4×4’s, special needs vehicles, etc. and should also include exceptions on a case-by-case basis. To be discussed at the UMC.
CULE proposes tying mileage rate to PSAC / TB rates. This is problematic in that TB rates vary from province to province. CULE proposes the mileage rate be tied to the TB rate for Ontario minus 10 cents. This is currently 47 cents, which also happens to be the average provincial rate.
MSC Larry/Marion THAT Lisa be authorized to discuss the car insurance policy and mileage rate, as a package, at the upcoming UMC and go from there.
To be discussed at the UMC.
Gander: A 4-month term Rep position was offered, without an expression of interest. An expression of interest was sent out, with an extremely short turnaround. This issue will be taken to the upcoming UMC.
Staffing Actions: It was noted the lack of expressions of interest for term positions is happening in several regions. In BC this was solved by creating a pool of qualified applicants from the PSAC membership in an anticipatory fashion. This will be brought up at the UMC.
The recent RR/H&S staffing action in BC was problematic. Jim clarified the situation.
“Northern Ontario” & Toronto: Tom provided updates.
OT – courses and travel: A member in a Career Enhancement Program (CEP) has been denied overtime to facilitate weekend courses. This member was also denied overtime incurred for travel. The employer is looking for people for CEP but then does not give them the tools to do the job properly. A grievance has been filed.
Staffing for Convention: Concerns regarding who is authorized to attend National Convention and what tasks they are expected to perform. Employer’s response is that HQ staff are attending Convention to give them exposure – Regional staff attend Regional Conventions.
11. Web-site – Members Only.
Patrick gave some options regarding limiting access to certain sections of cule.ca. Things that could/should be password protected include budget information and election related information.
MSC Marion/Jack THAT a password protected section of the web-site be created AND THAT the user-name and password be distributed verbally to the CULE membership AND THAT the CULE President direct the web master when items should be posted in said section.
MSC Bob/Gail THAT we adjourn for the day. We will reconvene at 9AM Sunday.
12. Pension Plan – David Doyle
David gave a presentation on the plan: the fund on any given day is ~$250 million. Investments are the driving force in the fund. Our market driven fund is subject to extreme fluctuations. The fund is more than financially sound, however contribution rates are going to increase. The employer is moving towards having the union share the liability. The Socially Responsible Sub-committee has liability issues regarding social housing but on the whole has made a good progress.
Joint Trusteeship: Currently the plan is administered by the employer. If we move to a joint-trustee model, we would also assume some of the liability. David recommends we review our policy on the joint-trustee model.
MSC Debbie/Larry THAT CULE review its position concerning Joint Management/Trusteeship pending a review and report by CULE’s Representative to the JPAC.
Complaint to the Ontario Financial Services: AEU is considering a complaint, regarding certain anomalies in the plan. David Doyle recommends we contact AEU and indicate our support, and we undertake to assist in the complaint, financially if necessary.
MSC Tom/Gail THAT CULE indicate our support in principle AEU’s position on the complaint AND THAT the CULE President make further inquiries and report back to the Executive.
Request from retirees for help: Four pensioners attempted to initiate a class-action lawsuit against the Pension Plan Administrator. The issue was whether retirees were entitled to a share in the pension surplus. CULE was in agreement with this principle. The retirees were unsuccessful and incurred court costs in the amount of $37,000 – the legal fees incurred by the Plan Administrator. Mark Krakowski will be making a presentation to the Executive on this matter.
13. Presentation by Mark Krakowski
Mark requests financial assistance regarding a lawsuit brought about by a group of ex-PSAC employees against the Pension Plan Administrator. In 2000/01, the plan had a surplus, which was reduced by lowering the premiums. The retirees argued that they were entitled to this benefit as well, by their calculation ~$2m. Mark provided some history on the retiree involvement in the administration of the plan. After discussion with the Administrator, the retirees attempted to bring about a class action suit in 2003, but were unable to certify the suit. The retirees appealed this decision. This appeal was denied. The plaintiffs, four retirees, are now personally liable for the PSAC’s court costs totaling ~$37,000. Mark requests assistance from CULE of 50% of the court costs ~$18,500. Two of the plaintiffs are former CULE members. The retirees have decided their legal avenues are closed in this matter, but continue to negotiate within the JPAC. Mark also requests that CULE use its influence on the JPAC to assist in this campaign. Mark estimates the retirees are owed ~$1.66m.
MSC Jim/Bruce THAT CULE reaffirm their position that the retirees should benefit from any pension surplus.
MSC Jim/Bob THAT CULE appreciates the presentation from Mark Krakowski on behalf of NAPSAC. However the request for $18,500 for CULE to assist in the court awarded costs against the plaintiffs is not in the best interests of the CULE membership and is therefore denied. The motion is passed unanimously.
14. Per Diem
MSC Bob/Jim THAT the CULE Executive receive the same per diem as PSAC Convention delegates for May 1-5.
15. Grievance Committee Report
A variety of 1st & 2nd level grievances are in the system. The Committee recommends referring 3 to arbitration: 1 dismissal, 1 mileage, 1 suspension.
MSC Marion/Larry THAT the recommendation be adopted AND the grievances be sent to arbitration.
Almost all the directors have current grievances underway: they provided verbal reports. Tom reminded us of the procedures for referral to arbitration. Marion provided an update on the Secretary – A/Admin Assistant policy grievance. Marion hopes to meet with Penny regarding this week.
16. REVP Office – Communications with staff
There are concerns regarding how REVP’s interact with both Unit I & II. REVP’s should be co-ordinating with the Regional Co-ordinator. It was suggested this be brought up at the proposed yearly joint meetings with the PSAC National President.
17. Training for new Admins
Currently the more experienced Admins mentor and train the new Admins. Lisa proposed to Penny that the Admins identify their training needs and where applicable travel to Ottawa to receive some training from Finance, ROB, Negotiations and others at the Centre. Penny agreed to look into this. We will request an update at the upcoming UMC.
18. Cheque writing program
Where is it? Tech change was discussed. We hope that the input the Admin staff gave on the strike pay program after the TB/CRA/Parks strike will be incorporated into the next version. Another strike is coming and this should be a priority. This will be brought up at the UMC.
19. Admin Conference
Gail will be the CULE representative on the committee, more representatives from CULE will be added if necessary. The plan is to have this conference before year end. There will be a CULE meeting at the Conference, Lisa and Larry will attend.
20. OT on weekend courses
A Regional Co-ordinator has been resistant to scheduling courses on Sundays. Some regions are scheduling 1 1/2 day courses for Friday night / Saturday. We feel this impacts the quality of the delivery of the course. Historically CULE has resisted Friday night work. After discussion it is obvious the standards with regards to time allotted, course content and PSAC member per diems & expenses differ greatly from region to region and office to office. We will look into paid OT for employer assigned work on Friday nights as a bargaining demand.
21. Sharing of grievance information
Can there be a central grievance repository, for reference, possibly posted on the web site? Grievance reps will write a brief summary of grievances (issue/outcome) that have been won, forward these to the Grievance Committee, and these will be posted on the members’ only portion of web site.
22. CULE family care policy
It was clarified that CULE uses the Alliance policy as a guideline.
23. PSAC/CULE policy on accommodating persons with disabilities
We feel the PSAC, as an employer, has not properly addressed accommodation concerns in the field. Questions regarding accommodation are referred to HR. The employer should be reminded they have a legal responsibility in this regard. Marion informs that a letter & policy on accommodation exists in HR and will request a copy. In addition, we propose that at the next joint CULE Executive / Regional Co-ordinators meeting in October some duty to accommodate training take place. This will be taken to the UMC. We will post the letter & policy on the web site.
24. CULE vote results
A member inquired as to why vote results (numbers) are kept secret? Historically the results have been made public. The current practice is designed to save the participants from any possible embarrassment. A discussion ensued. We looked at several options.
MSC Marion/Deb THAT in future elections any member who runs in an election can request the results of any ballot in that election.
25. PSAC Golf Tournament
Last year we sponsored a hole at the charity golf tournament. The charities this year are a Women’s Shelter in Quebec, and children’s charity. This year the cost is $400. It was also suggested that the VP’s and President attend, in order to raise the profile of CULE with both headquarters staff and the various government departments. This suggestion was respectfully declined.
MSC Bob/Jim THAT CULE donate $400 to sponsor a hole at the PSAC annual charity golf tournament.
26. Pre-bargaining ideas
Bargaining begins in a year. Jack circulated a document that had been sent out to members in BC requesting input, he will forward it to the executive via email. AEU and UES are both interested in meeting prior to the start of bargaining to discuss common issues.
27. A/CULE II Member At Large
The CULE II MAL and CULE Secretary were unable to attend this meeting & PSAC Convention. There is currently no official Alternate CULE II Member At Large. The executive felt CULE II would be under-represented at the meeting & Convention and invited Patrick Bragg, who was the runner up in the MAL election to attend the meeting. Patrick will take minutes at the Executive meeting, post updates to the web site and send out the daily PSAC Convention report.
MSC Marion/Bob THAT given that the CULE Secretary and CULE II MAL could not be in attendance Patrick Bragg attend AND THAT CULE pay for his expenses.
28. CULE cookbook
A good CULE SJF fund-raising opportunity. We will put out a call for recipes. Larry, Bob and Debbie will co-ordinate
29. Convention memorabilia
Convention hats/shirts that were left over were offered free to CULE members who did not attend convention. Marion has placed an order for extra items that will be available for purchase. We are having problems getting the men’s shirts re-printed, the supplier cannot source the same shirts. Marion has some items to distribute. The memorabilia will be available on the CULE website.
The Regional Co-ordinators have or may be reclassified to band 14? We will investigate reclassifying some Unit I positions to band 13. Bob will speak to a CULE representation on the Classification Committee, on this matter.
31. Next meeting
As 1/2 of the Executive are based Winnipeg and west, a cost assessment was completed and it is cost effective at this time to hold our next executive meeting in Vancouver. A small increase in air fare is offset by cheaper room rates at the Coast Stanley hotel in Vancouver. The dates are October 13,14,15 and meeting and proposed training with the co-ordinators on the 16th.
MSC Bruce/Marion THAT we adjourn for the day.
32. Back filling for leave
A discussion ensued and notes were compared with regards to practice/procedures across the regions. It was suggested that one way of making it easy for the employer to back fill would be to create a pool of qualified applicants, see item 10 above. This will be brought up at UMC. We will make arguments for back filling on a case by case basis.
33. Health and Safety
Office security/safety in single Rep/smaller offices. We need to perform risk assessments in these cases. Jack has expertise in this area and volunteered to make a presentation at the joint CULE / Regional Co-ordinator meeting in the fall. This proposal will be brought up at the UMC. Directors are encouraged to bring this up in advance with the Co-ordinators at Regional UMC’s. Travel in isolated areas with no cellular coverage was also discussed – satellite phones are an option in this case.
34. Merger Committee
Jim, Debbie, Marion and Heather sit on the committee. They have met and will do follow-up and report at the next executive meeting.
35. Constitution Committee
Bruce and Heather were unable to meet at this time. They continue to work and the intention is to report prior to the next executive meeting. Bruce requested clarification on the mandate of the committee, especially with regard to costing. We provided input into the intent of some of the convention resolutions that will impact the constitution.
36. Resolution 28 Committee
Resolution 28 involved putting together a policy paper detailing how we, as Union employees and members would like to be managed. A committee will be struck, consisting of Jack as the chair and two other members. The mandate of the Committee would be to fully develop the policy paper referenced by the resolution.
37. International Solidarity / Social Justice
Bob reported on the Che Guevara brigade, a program that sends young people to Cuba to build Solidarity. Bob feels this would be an excellent way to build a legacy for CULE’s Social Justice Fund. Bob will bring more information to the next meeting. We would like to find ways to continue to build on the foundations we have created.
MSC Larry/Marion THAT we adjourn for the day. We will meet over lunch tomorrow.
38. Equity Committee
Marion reported there will be 5 committee members and our preference is to have a diverse representation from the bargaining units. Criteria for selection on the committee will include: bargaining unit, equity designation, and geographic area as well members who have not been involved in a committee before. This will give newer members an opportunity to get involved with CULE.
39. JEEC Committee
The Joint Employment Equity Committee met in February this year. A second PSAC Workers of Colour, Aboriginal Peoples, Metis and Inuit Conference has been scheduled for November, location TBA. The call out will be sent out soon. At the last conference a GroupWise email group was created: in the address book under WOCAMI – Workers of Colour, Aboriginal, Metis, and Inuit. The JEEC Committee recommended the creation of an information package on outreach and this was done. This is available at the PSAC Convention and Marion will distribute it later.
40. Admin Conference Committee
Time for another National Admin Conference. 3 days, RO + HQ. 2 days RO only. Gail will sit on the organizing committee, representing CULE.
41. Social Justice Committee
Requests for access to a proposed CULE SJF will be referred to the committee who will make a recommendation to the Executive. Larry will sit on this committee on behalf of the Executive. We will send out a call-out for members to sit on the committee. A discussion was held regarding the criteria for selection of members on the committee. We will use criteria similar to the equity committee. Again, this is a good way to get new members involved in the union.
MSC Bob/Jim THAT we establish a Social Justice Committee AND THAT we seek volunteers from the membership to sit on the committee.
42. CULE Convention Committee
Cost-wise it is unclear exactly when we will be able to hold the next convention – as such it is premature to strike a committee at this time. The Directors will talk with members in their regions and seek input on our options.
43. CULE Strike Fund
Convention passed a resolution creating a strike fund. A lengthy discussion occurred regarding the method of funding, the amount, and the dispersal of the fund. Directors will consult with members in the region, as well at the Admin Conference.
MSC Bob/Gail THAT we flag the existing GIC as the Strike Fund, and create the Strike Fund line item in the budget.
44. Outstanding convention resolutions
The only outstanding resolutions are #29 & #31, regarding a picket line policy with other staff unions. Of note is the issue of electronic picket lines. Lisa will meet with the AEU President to discuss this matter and report back prior to the fall meeting.
We have now concluded the agenda items and will continue to meet daily throughout the week.
45. Donation to the Striking BHP diamond mine workers
MSC Jim/Tom that the CULE executive approve approximately $500 to adopt a picket line for a day to provide a hot lunch to the striking BHP diamond mine workers in Yellowknife
MSC Gail/Tom that the budget be accepted as amended.
MSC Marion/Debbie that we adjourn the executive meeting.