Your friendly neighbourhood bargaining team here hoping your holidays brought you some peace, quiet and tranquility. Unless you prefer something less calm – in which case let loose the dogs of chaos and let the chips fall where they may.


December was a busy, busy month for your bargaining team. 2 full days of training, and then a full day of preparing a survey aimed specifically at the SP Group and your needs/wants/desires.


The 7 of us that were chosen to be on the bargaining team are your representatives at the bargaining table. Next fall, when we start bargaining with the Employer, we need to be comfortable with each other, and a good portion of the first day of training was devoted to just that.


Once that was done, we dug into the nitty-gritty of preparing for bargaining. After a brief overview of PIPSC in general (and the SP Group in a bit more detail), we looked at the gains and losses over the past several rounds of bargaining. Things like Domestic Violence leave and Scientific Integrity are obvious gains for the SP Group members.


After that, we went into the details surrounding the process that bargaining takes, including things that can’t be bargained (for example, anything involving the classification of a position), the legislation surrounding bargaining (including unfair labour practices and bad faith bargaining) and the various roles and responsibilities of all of the people involved in bargaining, both within PIPSC and external to PIPSC. We won’t lie to you, it’s somewhat overwhelming at the time, but between Enzo, Marcel, Ann and Bryan, not to mention David, Suzelle, Eleanor and the rest of the PIPSC staff, there is a lot of knowledge and wisdom available to support us, guide us and keep us calm.


Afterwards, we started getting into things that go beyond background knowledge. We looked at EDI (Equity, Diversity and Inclusiveness) and how it needs to be something that we keep in mind from start to finish.


We then spent a full day preparing the bargaining survey that will be sent out to the SP Group. Ryan Campbell (PIPSC Research Team Lead and Chief Economist) walked us through the results of the PIPSC-wide bargaining survey that was sent out in the fall. It was very interesting to see how the past 2 years dealing with a global pandemic has impacted member priorities. Priorities that previously were ranked near the bottom of the survey results are now near the top. 


Ollie - Marcel’s 6lb bundle of terror


Eleanor McGrath (PIPSC Research Officer who has been assigned to support the SP Group Bargaining Team) then worked with the bargaining team in the development of the survey that will be sent out to SP Group members. Starting with the survey that was sent out in 2018, we asked ourselves the following questions:

  • What topics should be kept, what should be added, and what should be removed? 
  • Are the questions still relevant? 
  • How much nuance should be included in the questions? 
  • Can they be changed to reflect a more modern reality?


In the end, we will have a survey that will enable us to accurately gauge the interests of all of you and provide us with data that will enable us to bargain effectively.


In the next couple of months, you should receive a link to the bargaining survey, and then afterwards, an invite to express your interest in attending the bargaining conference. This conference is where SP Group members from coast to coast to coast will get together and really dig into all of the topics brought up by members through the survey. Your bargaining team takes a great deal of guidance from the discussions which take place at the bargaining conference.


When we say we are a team of 7, that is simplifying things a little bit. In reality, we are a team of 8000+ SP Group members, and it is equally important that all of you not at the bargaining table feel confident that we will be representing you effectively at the table.