Sisters and Brothers,
As you will surely recall, CULE recommended the ratification of the tentative agreement we reached with PSAC back in April 2011 with the understanding and commitment from the Employer that meaningful discussions would take place before any changes are made to our Extended Health Benefits Plan. The Employer made it clear to your bargaining team that they would not enter into consultation with any pre-conceived ideas as to how it would end up.
A CULE Benefits Committee, consisting of Jim Brohman, Gail Chafe & Larry Welsh, was struck and discussions were held between the two parties. While the employer representatives listened to what we had to say, they obviously did not hear us. It was painfully clear during these discussions that the employer was looking to impose on us what was agreed to by the other staff unions. To that effect, we received a Memorandum dated December 19, 2011 from Bonnie O’Keefe, the outgoing Director of Administration Branch, informing us that the changes to our Extended Health Benefits Plan (dispensing fees, paramedical and psychological services) will be in effect as of January 1, 2012.
As far as we are concerned, the so called consultation process was not much more than a PR vehicle designed to impose on us what they failed to achieve at the bargaining table. We have always maintained that the declared savings of $32,000 did not warrant imposing such concessions on CULE members. CULE entered into these discussions with an open mind, only to face employer representatives who were unwilling to budge from their original position.
If anything, this experience has taught us a valuable lesson. While we will continue to work with the employer to make the PSAC a truly model employer, let it be known that the key variable – trust – is currently missing from this relationship.
Sisters and brothers, please stay tuned for future actions where you can express your displeasure with having to lose a valuable part of your extended health benefits.
Dave Jackson CULE President