We spent our fourth session with the employer on October 29 and 30 in Calgary hoping to achieve a settlement, but also prepared for the possibility of an impasse, given the employers prior position on the Potter decision and wage parity. This is the situation we now find ourselves in.
Time and time again the PSAC has made it clear that settlement of the wage parity issue is directly tied to the Band 13 arbitral award and that wage parity with AEU can not and will not be achieved without our agreement to drop the decision. They inform they have no mandate to allow us to achieve wage parity while allowing the judicial review to continue through the courts at the same time.
We find this to be unacceptable – our position has always been that these two items are totally unrelated. Discussing the propriety of the Potter decision has no place at the bargaining table. The employer and CULE both agree that we at an impasse and CULE should now apply for conciliation.
Prior to breaking off, the majority of our time was spent discussing the remaining monetary items: the retiree benefit plan, vacation, CULE II stress days, car allowance and mileage, CEP, the Solidarity Fund, rates of pay, and wage parity. At the end of the session the employer tabled a final offer which, although nicely typed, we felt was not satisfactory. It also totally failed to acknowledge several items including stress days and an increase in the car allowance and lacked a firm commitment to the CEP.
In an effort to keep the process moving forward prior to meeting with a conciliation officer, we struck a subcommittee tasked with reviewing the issues surrounding the rates of pay for the Band 13 award and wage parity, and developing options for their resolution. The committee, consisting of the two lead negotiators and two outside parties, will meet in November and report back to both teams with non-binding recommendations on how to achieve consensus and possibly resolve our differences. We believe that bringing a fresh set of eyes to bear on the situation will be a useful exercise.
We also achieved a commitment from the employer, in the form of an MOA, to temporarily set aside the issue of environmentally friendly vehicles as they relate to the car allowance and strike a committee to continue the work when we are in a better position to assess what has become a very complex issue.
After our session on Tuesday your team met with the CULE Executive via conference call, briefed them on the discussions to date, and discussed our various options.
We appreciate the support all CULE members have shown over the last weeks and months and we will be in touch in the near future to advise of ways in which you can continue to send the employer a clear message that CULE is united, moving forward, and means business.
If you have any questions please contact one of us or a member of the Executive.
In Solidarity, Your Negotiating Team.