As we near the end of 2020, I like to share with you my thoughts regarding the accomplishments of the past year for our Group.
2020 was a year we all soon forget. Starting with the National Railway blockade and shutdown in January and February, putting a halt to shipments of goods and services to all provinces, and then the Coronavirus Pandemic hit us hard in March, whereby the economy and most importantly, citizens suffered many losses, including those we loved.
Please take a moment of silence and reflection to mourn the loss of all the Canadian Citizens during this past year, as we are not out of the woods yet with the recent second wave spike throughout our nation. The pandemic is not over, and we still have many more months to follow public health protocols, wearing masks, washing hands and isolating ourselves. Be safe as we near the implementation of a vaccine soon in 2021.
Bargaining and Financial Plan success
As I look back on our two-year bargaining and financial plan, starting in January 2019, when we were right into bargaining negotiations with Treasury Board Secretariat, many members throughout Canada wrote to us and expressed a desire to be more involved in the bargaining process as advisors. Members wanted to know each step of the way where the bargaining team negotiations were at. So, in conjunction with our 14 subgroup locals throughout Canada, we created a Mobilization Plan, which included membership engagement and a financial plan budget that would allow you the member to meet with bargaining team members and discuss all aspects of the negotiations, from salary increase needs, to more paid leave at work, to increases in maternity and parental allowances, to market adjustments in salaries, on and on, many members wanted to discuss everything.
So, during the negotiations, and into the signing on the Collective Agreement on August 30, 2019, and continuing into the fall months as members had concerns with retro-pay and also pay implementation of their new salaries, we the Group Executive and Bargaining Team members met over 2,000 members directly face-to-face in membership meetings throughout Canada.
And what a successful bargaining period we had!
Collective Bargaining Agreement
We signed our deal with the Treasury Board of Canada on August 30th, 2019, after getting a 97% approval from our members. And we did receive our new rates of pay on time on October 30th, 2019. Our retro-pay and $400 bonus for extending the implementation to 180 days was paid out to members weeks before the Christmas holidays in 2019. What a financial bonus that was.
I recall we were nervous back in March 2019 that we would not get a deal done before the federal fall election. But by taking a reasonable and fair approach to negotiations, we did get a deal done. As we look around at some other federal employees who do not have a deal yet, for example our very own CS members within PIPSC, we were proud to have a deal in place as we now have labour peace until June 2022, and we can focus on our jobs in the workplace, and not have to worry about bargaining, or getting a pay raise etc.…our future is secure. And we still have another pay raise coming to us in 6 months on June 22, 2021.
As the Bargaining Committee Chair, I want to say thanks again to a truly professional bargaining team.
L to R; Gord Sanford, Jason Huang, James Bright, Peter Gabriel – President and Chair, Andree Doucet, Cara Ryan – Negotiator, Allison Shatford – Treasury Board Staff Negotiator, Raymond Poon, Philippe Bougie – TBS OSB, Gerry Morrisey
We achieved many goals in the bargaining negotiations. The highest pay increases in the public service for our CO classifications at the CO1, CO3 and CO4 level. And the CO2 did get a little less this round, but when combined with the last round, compounded 15% is still one of the highest pay increases in the public service over the last two rounds. And our PG’s and AU’s did well too. Compounded at 8% over 4 years for this deal, we achieved our goal of staying above CPI. Next round we are already committed to get everyone the same pay raise percentage. The days of different pays raise percentages are now final.
Financial Plan success
Our financial plan was also a success, as we knew that in order to meet over 2,000 members throughout Canada, we would have to get an advance from our 2020 funding budget allocation. This is a normal procedure within PIPSC Finance, especially during a bargaining year as the demand increases for Mobilizing our membership. This request, approved by our Group Executive in the late summer and along with PIPSC Finance approval as well, we were then advanced $15,000, on the condition that when we receive our 2020 Funding Allocation, it will be $15,000 less. In other words, we had to repay it back immediately in February 2020. And we did!
Jason Huang, our excellent financial planner and Treasurer, is proud to report his 2-year financial plan of “balancing the books” was a success. Jason is reporting a fiscal year-end December 31, 2020 surplus of $21,000. These funds will be carried over into 2021. Great job Jason on a great financial plan, balancing the books, and holding us accountable as a Group Executive. It is a pleasure to see a 13-member Executive keep their word and “tighten our belts” in 2020, and we did!
And when all said and done, we had the most membership engagement meetings out of any PIPSC Group in the last round, as per PIPSC HQ, and meeting over 2,000 members was well worth the volunteer effort and sacrifice we make being away from our families and personal lives.
We capped off the Bargaining round with a membership appreciation engagement event celebrating the Lunar New Year in February 2020 in Ottawa, as we had over 150 members participate. PIPSC President Debi Daviau was our guest and keynote speaker. Debi offered tremendous support during the bargaining negotiations and we thank her. And this was the only Group event of the year as soon after, the pandemic hit in March.
Thank you to our members for you continued support!
Pandemic Period in 2020
The 2020 pandemic is a period we will all forget. But with many challenges before us, we changed how we work and where we work. We now work from home full-time. And until there is a vaccine, we shall continue to work from home. We will not allow the employer to put our lives at risk by forcing us to go back into buildings and possibly catching the virus. And we will be allowed to claim a work from home tax deduction, as per CRA announcement on January 1, 2021.
The same applies to our union work, whereby restrictions such as no in-person meetings can take place until well into 2021. The Health and Safety of our members are first priority. A decision on in-person meeting will be decided at the December 5th PIPSC National AGM. A notice will be sent to all members as well.
So, in order to communicate with members, we had to find a new method of communication. So along with outfitting our Executive members with communication devices to engage members more frequently, approved by our Group Executive, as we had plenty of surplus funds in our 2020 account, and with PIPSC HQ support in conjunction and support of all Constituent Bodies, PIPSC HQ purchased the ZOOM video conferencing application. This allows us to have Group Executive meetings, and to also have membership engagement meetings as well. For example, on November 4, I hosted a membership town hall for 20 members, to hear from you the membership directly how things are going and to discuss bargaining into the future.
Since ZOOM was implemented in September 2020 , our Group Executive has met over 5 times, and we held our first ever 1st Virtual Annual General meeting on November 28, 2020. What a technical challenge it was. As 70 delegates participated on ZOOM, we had a very successful meeting in 3.5 hours. We accomplished the approval of our Budget 2021. Remember we will be carrying over our 2020 surplus of $21,000, so we had to get our delegates approval at our AGM to plan out 2021 in detail. And we did! Thanks to all delegates for your input and approval.
We also approved several motions that will allow 2 more CO/PG members on our bargaining team, now set at 8, with 4 CO’s and 4 PG’s each. Before it was 3 CO and 3 PG. And we approved the creation of an Advisory Committee, that will report to the Group Executive. This committee will allow more members from outside the Executive to participate in an Advisory Role. This will be a virtual committee, on the commitment that no additional cost is involved. Members approved both motions.
Transition to CP in 2021
With the departure of AU members to another union as per Treasury Board directive in 2019, in early November 2020, our Member at Large Executive Olivia Leung created the new logo contest, with Group Executive and PIPSC HQ approval. The contest will allow all members to create a design, and send it in to us. All final submissions were reviewed at our AGM on November 28, and the participants voted in favor of a design created by Jael Potvin, a Commerce Officer at Department of Fisheries and Ocean in Ottawa HQ, and lives in Gatineau QC. We offer our Congratulations to Jael on a beautiful design, that is currently in the PIPSC Communications, Graphic Design department for changes, to comply with PIPSC branded legal copyright standards.
Great job Jael and great job delegates in the selection process. A truly great design foundation, that will make us proud to be a member of PIPSC Commerce and Purchasing Group. The design, as per the contest guidelines, will be altered for PIPSC Branding Copyright.
New branded copyright logo below for Commerce and Purchasing Group:
As our PIPSC Legal Department is working with Treasury Board Secretariat on our Legal name change, which is now also changed on our website to “Commerce and Purchasing Group”, with an acronym CP. And this will happen on our Bargaining Ticket, and officially take place in print on our next Collective Bargaining Agreement. Thanks to PIPSC General Counsel and Chief Labour Relations Services Isabelle Roy, and Simon Ferrand, Legal Counsel for processing our new title and acronym on behalf of our 6,331 members.
Our Group Executive has positioned our Group members with good planning and effective communications with our head office staff in this matter. Thanks to Kiavash Najafi, Director of Policy and Communications, and also to Bruno Lacelle, our PIPSC Graphic Designer for all your support.
And a special thanks to Olivia Leung, for all the volunteer hours after work, coordinating this project on behalf of our Group members. A job well done Olivia!
We like to thank all members that submitted a design. Your creativity in art form was truly appreciated.
Looking forward to 2021
As we could not have any meetings in-person in 2021, here is a picture of the Group Executive pre-pandemic. On a personal note, I am proud to have lost nearly 70 lbs since the beginning of 2020. This was a personal and health choice on my part. My program includes a great diet, plus walking nearly 50 km each week. I have received many emails from you the members, and I say thank you for your support and encouragement. Being healthy allows me to do more each and every day of my life.
Group Executive L to R; Peter Gabriel – President, Sidney MacInnis, Nazim Awan, David Chu, Angela Cowie, Vania Tsang, Olivia Leung, Emily Beckerman, Yanick Poulin, Jason Huang, Phil Wang, James Bright – Vice-President
(regrets Andree Doucet)
Contact us: https://www.pipsc.ca/groups/av/executive
With the departures of Sidney and James to better and bigger things in their careers, I am proud to announce Andree Doucet is now our Vice-President and Yanick Poulin is now our Secretary. And we also welcome Lyne Larocque, our new Quebec Representative and Natalia Kim as our new Member at Large.
We are now at full 13 members Executive. Reach out to any of us on our website via email anytime.
I want to thank all Executives as we had to transition in 2020, and we did it as team. Good work and I look forward to 2021.
Social Media Communications
Our outreach membership engagement initiative continues, as we are reaching a younger generation of members, and continued success in 2021. The CP Group official facebook site now has over 600 members. This is one of the largest facebook’s within PIPSC, and we keep growing.
Our messaging is respectful of each other, and in solidarity with PIPSC and also our PIPSC Executive Leadership.
We have put in place respectful guidelines for our members to follow, so if you want join us in a positive way forward, then you are welcome to join. Any negativity or divisiveness, or anti-union messaging will not be accepted.
If you want to join us in a positive communication forum going forward, please join us at:
- GROUP FACEBOOK : https://www.facebook.com/groups/377897735961829/?ref=bookmarks
OR SEARCH FOR
- COMMERCE AND PURCHASING GROUP – COMMERCE ET ACHATS
Thanks to PIPSC Head office Staff
On behalf of our Group Executive, I truly want to thank Marie Ammais, our PIPSC Administrator, for the hard work she has done for our Group in 2020. Working from home, the many phone calls and emails with myself into the evening and on weekends too, coordinating everything for our Group Executive was a challenge as we could not meet in-person. Since I work during the day at Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) , Marie has to meet with me during non-work hours, such as lunch period or after my work day. The life of a volunteer. ☺
Great job Marie!
New Year 2021 Message
And in closing, on behalf of our Group Executive, to you and your family, a Happy New Year 2021.
Be safe. Stay healthy and be informed. Be smart, follow health protocols, wear a mask, and social distance.
Yours in solidarity and Better Together!
Commerce and Purchasing Group (CP)
Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada