Welcome to the sixth edition of the newsletter dedicated to all things PIPSC at IRCC. Past editions can be found at http://www.pipsc.ca/portal/page/portal/website/employers/departments/cic.
This is a special edition of “PIPSC @ IRCC” as I move on to new challenges within the federal government, and others take over the responsibilities of PIPSC Consultations at IRCC... and President of the IRCC NCR Branch. We've come a long way together!
I believe I was the first PIPSC union steward in our department 15 years ago (we now have 8 stewards), and became involved largely because CIC had only one local functioning Health and Safety Committee in the NCR. This was a clear violation of the law – it wasn't just some “union thing”, since the Health and Safety laws are separate legislation that predates unions in Canada. Thankfully, the department stepped up and did the right thing. Now, Health and Safety is taken very seriously right across Canada within IRCC, with active volunteer committees or at least a health and safety rep in all locations across Canada. These committees are always looking for volunteers, and your time to attend meetings or take training is gladly paid by the employer. If you want to volunteer, but are told you can't be spared for an occasional meeting, please contact your nearest PIPSC steward.
Consultations in the Department
Although informal discussions had always occured to some degree between the unions and management in our department, such consultation meetings were formalized with the passage of the PSEA about ten years ago. As the PIPSC rep representing our CS, PG, NU and MD members at the table, my recollection was that from that point on management would be gaining greater freedom to staff as they saw fit, and to balance that out, the unions would start to co-develop solutions to workplace problems with management. Unfortunately, what has happened is that management pretty much staffs however they want (unless it involves malfeasance or a language issue), and in exchange they tell the unions in advance things they are going to do, and then go ahead with their plans regardless of what we think. A good recent example of this is the Vegreville office move.
After serving my first stint as President of Consultations the torch was passed to Andrea Agh (who now works for SSC), and then Patrick Provost. After about ten years it was again my turn, and with Christian Baillargeon as our Vice-President we have made several key improvements. We are holding regular consultation team meetings and posting the minutes at http://www.pipsc.ca/labour-relations/consultation/ircc. We have created this newsletter to better inform you, the IRCC members, so that you know a bit about the work we are doing on your behalf. We have also changed our team Terms of Reference to make the administration of the team easier and fairer.
You may ask, “What has PIPSC consultations ever done for me in my specific workplace?” Out of dozens and dozens of initiatives I, and many others, have been involved with, the most useful ones seem to fall into the grey area between consultations and health and safety. Three of my favourites are; the creation of the required local Health and Safety Committees (already mentioned above), the ability of the male technicians to wear short pants to work during the hot summer months, and just last week the final adoption of our idea to post standardized and accountable “allergy alert” signs where needed (to get rid of the unaccountable and random posting of the current home-made signs that sometimes say offensive things about scent-wearing and eating meat).
A Big Thing to Watch For in the Coming Year
A growing issue here at IRCC is contracting out. Thankfully, the new CS collective agreement contains a provision that every time a contractor is to be hired or renewed, and PIPSC finds out about it, we are entitled to know in detail why that position isn't being offered to a CS member, and even if it is eventually contracted out, what provisions have been put in place to transfer the knowledge to a CS member. We will also be watching to have PG, NU and MD work to stay inside our membership.
I have had the privilege to work with many IRCC managers, Executives and ADMs/DMs over the years. Other than one or two individuals, they were all nice people to work toward solutions with. In the end they are all human too. Many times they have quietly gone out on a limb to help out one of your fellow members in need. You might be surprised.
Thank you all very much... it's been a pleasure to serve you over the past 15 years!
– Steve Anderson
There was a full house for the April 24th new CS Collective Agreement Information Session in the JETS’ Guy Belisle Room. This was the first time we tried serving sub sandwiches instead of pizza, and it went really well.
What about you? Are you a regional IRCC PIPSC member? Would you like PIPSC to organize a free lunch for you and your colleagues? Just let us know and we’ll set it up. No office is too remote for at least an information update and some pizza! Please contact Steve Anderson email@example.com, and I will put you in touch with those who can make it happen.
Who your PIPSC volunteers are:
Your national consultation team consists of Steve Anderson (President) and Christian Baillargeon (Vice-President).
The PIPSC stewards in our department are; Patrick Provost (Vegreville), Larry Ponich (Vegreville), Patrice Mougeot (NHQ-Cremazie), Denis Lavergne (NHQ-Cremazie), Christian Baillargeon (NHQ-JETN), Jean Boulet (NHQ-JETS), Nick Schonning (NHQ-JETS), Steve Anderson (NHQ-JETS).
If you have a question or problem in your workplace, please contact your local PIPSC steward for help!
Look for the next issue of PIPSC @ IRCC in the Fall of 2017!