2019: The Year Ahead
The New Year will see the Institute continue to be very active in defending the interests of its members, and I would like to take this opportunity to keep you informed of some of the key issues we will be facing over the next twelve months.
First, I am pleased to announce that, this Spring and Summer, the Vice-Presidents and I will be conducting a tour of some of the more remote locations where members of our smaller bargaining units work. We’ll be listening to their issues and talking about what PIPSC is doing to address them. Our objective is to let these PIPSC members know that their issues are just as important as those of our bigger Groups: we are all part of (as I like to call it) One Big Union.
On the Phoenix front, our efforts in 2019 will, on the one hand, focus on the development of the Next Generation pay solution. The government has publicly committed to doing a better job of implementing it than was done with Phoenix, by consulting with bargaining agents and with its own Information Technology specialists. We plan to hold it to that promise. But we will also continue to keep pushing for compensation for all PIPSC members directly impacted by Phoenix and by the late implementation of collective agreements.
This will be a critical year for bargaining and under the leadership of our Strategic Bargaining Committee, we are well prepared for it. In a break from tradition, we have established a “central table” where we are discussing many of our Groups’ key common issues with the Employer. We anticipate that this approach will maximize our effectiveness during this round of bargaining. We currently enjoy a strong, positive relationship with the Treasury Board and we expect that this will have a positive impact on negotiations.
We have been working on the matter of the government contracting out the work performed by our CS Group members for a number of years. We recently succeeded in implementing appropriate language in the CS Collective Agreement. In the wake of a campaign that resulted in several hundred grievances, we have come to a settlement with the Treasury Board Secretariat to uphold that language on how to educate departments and ensure compliance in the future. Grievances will be placed in abeyance while we attempt to ensure compliance by all departments. I would like to sincerely thank Eva Henshaw for her invaluable work on this issue.
We are also moving forward on the issue of open offices (frequently referred to in government parlance as Workspace 2.0 or GC Workplace) by developing tools for our consultation teams and stewards to use in discussions with the Employer. We want to ensure that the approach to workplace design is implemented in a manner that allows our members to do their work efficiently, while avoiding the numerous negative side effects associated with this type of office layout. We are also ready to take our case directly to the government’s decision-makers should consultation not bear fruit.
Finally, we will be very active on the Government Relations front, where we will work diligently to solidify our interactions with senior government officials, including Members of Parliament, Ministers and high-level Employer representatives. In this context, we are currently planning our annual PIPSC Lobby Day, which will be held on February 5, 2019 in Ottawa. On that date, our team of Institute representatives will visit Parliament Hill to represent our members’ interests to Members of Parliament – including senior government ministers. We are also in the process of developing our strategy to address the 2019 federal election. With the latter to be held next October, we want to make sure that our main issues – Phoenix, contracting out, public science and tax fairness to name but a few - sit front and center with federal political parties and their candidates.
Overall, 2019 promises to be another exciting year for the Institute and I look forward to continuing to serve our members to the best of my ability in the year to come.