MINUTES OF THE SP GROUP MEETING – QUÉBEC CITY - NRCAN
December 18, 2018
- Béliveau, Catherine
- Bergeron, MarieJosée
- Bérubé, Jean
- Clément, Sébastien
- Côté, Chantal
- Deslauriers, Marie
- Godbout, Pierre
- Groslouis, MarieClaude
- Lachance, Denis
- Marchand, Maryse
- Morency, MarieJosée
- Nadeau, Simon
- Paquette, JeanFrançois
- Pelletier, Georges
- Pelletier, Gervais
- Stewart, Don
- Tousignant, Aude
- Villemaire, Philippe
- Positive Changes for the Career Advancement of Biologists
The last union-management meeting, which took place on September 28, required a lot of preparatory work on my part. First, a preliminary report was distributed to all our members. In this first report, I tried to explain the root causes of dissatisfaction by integrating all levels of the organization, including supervisors and the biologists themselves. The initial idea of this first report was to demonstrate that there was an imbalance in the workloads given by supervisors and that they did not assign enough responsibility to biologists in the final stages of publication, particularly for the interpretation of the results and for writing. This report was rather poorly received, although only 15% of our members made comments, generally negative. Many found it blunt and asked me to soften the tone. Others strongly disagreed with including supervisors as a source of dissatisfaction, even partial, and asked me to focus on the problems with management itself. It is true that the survey showed that 85% of employees were satisfied with their relationship with their supervisor while only 40% were satisfied with management’s work.
At the last union meeting in June, I asked the biologists to provide me with information that could potentially contribute to their career advancement. The aim was to answer the following three questions:
1- Do you consider that you are underutilized in your team as a biologist, for example, that you could be more involved in interpreting results and writing published materials?
2- How many projects have you participated in over the last 25 years that have never led to a publication?
3- Please list the projects in which you have participated and which have not yet been completed, including the start year of the project, its short title, the duration (year), the approximate time invested (in months), the funding (optional) and the reasons why the project has never been completed based on these criteria: 1) no conclusive evidence, 2) lack of funding, 3) lack of time (or refusal of researcher to delegate responsibility to junior staff).
(Wording from the last meeting minutes in italics)
I didn't get answers from anyone.
The second report prepared for the meeting was much more effective at rallying the membership. However, it included a serious accusation against management. Management was suspected of putting pressure on researchers to no longer allow their biologists to appear as first or second authors in publications. This report was read by management prior to the union-management meeting. We had decided two days before the meeting to conduct an investigation to verify these allegations (which Jean Bérubé did) but the accusations were groundless. During the meeting, I had to remove two paragraphs from the report. Jacinthe suggested that I combine this meeting with the meeting with the Department's classification team and personnel branch in Ottawa, where we could discuss these points in more detail.
- Union-management Meeting with the Classification Team and Personnel Branch in Ottawa
This meeting was held online on Thursday, October 25, with the classification team in Ottawa and included Director Line Décarie, the Director of Personnel at NRCan, Ann Thériault, Chair of the NRCan consultation team, the union official involved in the job classification process, Jacinthe Leclerc, Élizabeth Gauthier, Caroline Rochon, Don Stewart and Jean Bérubé. The document used is similar to the one for the union-management meeting with a few additional items, minus the allegations against management. We asked for an explanation of why the classification team was using our old job descriptions to evaluate our positions rather than proceeding directly with our updated work descriptions, criticizing their methodology, which I consider counterproductive. They told me that they wanted to apply the same procedure to everyone, even if it meant checking with the supervisor and the employee afterwards, using the new updated descriptions where applicable.
In addition, I pointed out, without insisting, that our salaries had been unfairly affected in the last collective agreement. This did not directly concern the classification team, but I mentioned it in case they had direct contact with a Treasury Board representative.
The whole meeting went well and consisted essentially of an information exchange, which is reported in the document I sent you in October in the most recent revised version of the document.
- New Definitions Created for Biologist Positions
Two new definitions will be created for biologist positions (BI-02 and BI-03) specializing in genomics, based on the current definitions at Agriculture Canada. You will likely find that the new definitions describe your duties more accurately. An effort will also be made to improve the existing definitions for BI-02 and BI-03 positions, allowing lab managers who manage research budgets and supervise students or technicians to advance to the BI-03 level. The aim will be to convince the personnel office to relieve researchers of administrative duties, but above all to recognize the administrative and accountability duties given to biologists. Second, the objective will be to convince Treasury Board to relax the rules in terms of the biologists' contribution to publishing, by removing the requirement that biologists design the research projects. Instead, their participation in the interpretation of the results and the writing of publications should suffice to become a BI-03.
However, it will be necessary to establish a productivity threshold (by number of pages) for a biologist to be promoted.
A new BI-04 position could possibly be created in the field of genomics. Employees working in this position would be responsible for the technological transfer of research related to parasite control of forest pests and pathogenic diseases to other NRCan research centres, at the provincial level and in the private sector!
- Bargaining Team Report
There was a meeting in October between the SP Bargaining Team and Treasury Board (TB), the December meeting having been cancelled. This meeting was essentially an exchange of information. The TB's response was submitted for January. For the most significant changes to the collective agreement requested by the SP Bargaining Team:
- NEW definition of "family" in Article 2.01
“family”, except where otherwise specified in this Agreement, is defined as father, mother (or alternatively stepfather, stepmother or foster parent), brother, step-brother, sister, step-sister, spouse (including common-law partner), child (including child of common-law partner), stepchild, foster child or ward of the employee, father-in-law, mother-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, grandchild, grandparent, any relative permanently residing in the employee’s household or with whom the employee permanently resides, and any person for whom the employee has a duty of care, regardless of residence.
- Days of rest
Where operational requirements do not permit two consecutive and concurrent days of rest, all additional hours worked on the sixth (6th) and subsequent consecutive days shall be at overtime rates, in accordance with Article 9.01, until the employee is granted two (2) consecutive and continuous days of rest.
- Family Day is being addressed as a central issue.
- National Indigenous Peoples Day.
- - Compensation for work on a paid holiday
At the employee's request, the allowance earned under this article may be converted into compensatory leave at the applicable higher rate provided for in this article. Compensatory leave earned in a fiscal year that has not been taken by September 30 of the following fiscal year will be paid at the employee's daily rate of pay on September 30.
- Bereavement leave with pay
- At the request of the employee, such bereavement leave with pay may be taken in a single period of seven (7) consecutive calendar days or may be taken in two (2) periods to a maximum of five (5) working days.
- When requested to be taken in two (2) periods
- The first period must include the day of the memorial commemorating the deceased or must begin within two (2) days following the death and
- The second period must be taken no later than twelve (12) months from the date of death for the purpose of attending a ceremony.
- The employee may be granted no more than three (3) days’ leave with pay, in total, for the purposes of travel for these two (2) periods.
- Leave Related to Critical Illness (NEW)
- 17.09 Leave Without Pay for the Care of Immediate Family
leave granted under this clause for a period of more than three (3) months shall be deducted from the calculation of “continuous employment” for the purpose of calculating severance pay and from the calculation of “service”;
time spent on such leave for more than three (3) months shall not be counted for pay increment purposes;
time spent on such leave for a period of three (3) months or less, shall be counted for pay increment purposes.
- Leave with pay for familyrelated responsibilities
The Employer shall grant leave with pay under the following circumstances:
- to provide for the immediate and temporary care of a child where, due to unforeseen circumstances, usual childcare arrangements are unavailable. This also applies to unexpected school closures for children aged fourteen (14) and under, or to children over the age of fourteen (14) who have special needs;
- to provide time for the employee to make alternative arrangements in the event of fire or flooding to the employee’s residence.
- Attendance at conferences and conventions
- To the above end, the employer will set aside a minimum of one opportunity per year, per employee, ensuring that all have access to a minimum of 37.5 paid hours per annum, exclusive of travel, to participate in activities described in section 18.03, 18.04 of the collective agreement, exclusive of mandatory training.
- An employee may voluntarily not consume all or part the preceding allotment, in order to take a maximum of 75 hours in another year.
- . Both parties recognize that timely travel approvals result in lower travel cost, therefore the employer will make every effort to approve the attendance to conferences, conventions, and career development events in a timely fashion.
- Consultation with regards to contracting out shall include, but not be limited to, the influence on working conditions, complexity of tasks, information on contractors in the workplace, future resource and service requirements, skills inventories, knowledge transfer, position vacancies, workload, and Managed Services.
- Sexual harassment
Penological factor allowance
Designated security level of the penitentiary Maximum Medium Minimum $2,000 $1,000 $600
Replace current allowances with $2500.00 allowance regardless of the security level.
- Salary Protection
Every employee who is reclassified pursuant to a new classification standard or job evaluation plan, to a new classification or job evaluation level with a lower maximum rate of compensation than the current maximum rate of compensation for the employee’s current classification level, shall be paid at the classification or job evaluation level that has a maximum rate of compensation equal to, or greater than, the maximum for the employee’s current classification level.
- Medical Appointments
XX.01 Employees should make every reasonable effort to schedule any medical or dental appointments on their own time, however, in the event that medical or dental appointments cannot be scheduled outside of working hours, employees shall be granted leave with pay to attend medical or dental appointments.
- Classification Language
Occupational Group Structure Review and Classification Reform for the Applied Science and Patent Examination (SP) Bargaining Unit
This Memorandum is to give effect to the agreement reached between the Employer and the Institute in respect of employees in the Applied Science and Patent Examination (SP) bargaining unit.
Notwithstanding the Employer’s position that classification is an exclusive employer authority and the Institute’s disagreement with this position, the employer is committed to engaging in meaningful consultation with the Institute with respect to the review and redesign of the SP Occupational Group structure, followed by meaningful consultation regarding Classification Reform, relating to the development of job evaluation standards for the SP Occupational Group.
Meaningful consultation on the Classification Reform will include consultation with the Institute on the development of job evaluation standards which reflect and evaluate, in a gender neutral manner, the work performed by the employees in the SP Occupational Group. It will also include ongoing dialogue with respect to providing employees with complete and current job descriptions detailing the specific responsibilities of the position.
The parties agree that meaningful consultation on the development of job evaluation standards shall take place within thirty (30) days of the signing of this collective agreement. New job evaluation standards shall be completed no later than December 30, 20XX, for Treasury Board Minister’s consideration toward the objective of negotiating new pay lines for these job evaluation standards in the subsequent collective agreement.
- BI-02, AG-02, CH-02 and PC-02 Wage Increases
The issue of wage increases is always the last item to be negotiated with the TB in collective bargaining. My document, submitted in June, has been taken into consideration but i am not yet sure which of the three options proposed will be considered in the negotiation. They have not yet completed their strategy in this regard. This item will probably not be discussed until June.
- New Proposal for Sick Leave
Replace with the Employee Wellness Support Program
The new program will include a number of key features;
- Full 26 weeks of 100% income replacement;
- A three-day paid qualification period for short-term disability benefits;
- Nine fully-paid sick days;
- Three-day carryover of unused sick leave days;
- Qualifying chronic or episodic illnesses will be exempt from the waiting period;
- The accumulation of current sick leave credits will cease on the implementation date of the EWSP;
- Existing sick leave banks in excess of 26 weeks can be used prior to going on LTD;
- Travel time for diagnosis and treatment;
- An employee on the EWSP will be considered to be on leave with pay;
- Full costs of administering the EWSP will be borne by the employer; and
- Family-related leave will increase by one day.
- 2018 Election
The results gave Debi Daviau an easy victory. The members recognized the substantial contribution she made during her last term. Note also the surprising, easy victory for Stéphane Aubry, whom most of you know. Two former pro-Debi candidates were ousted from the Committee. We therefore have a Quebecer among the full-time Vice-Chairpersons of the Board as well as a representative of the SP Group, Norma Domey. The only unfortunate thing is the win by Gary Corbett, a former PIPSC President, who is against Debi's vision, fortunately only a part-time Vice-President. We hope that this new Committee will succeed in working together in unity. As President of the Quebec Region, Yvon Brodeur was re-elected, not surprisingly. We wish him success in pursuing these activities.
- Election of New Treasurer
Aude, after many years of service and involvement in the union, decided to take a break and leave this responsibility to someone else. First of all, we thank you, Aude, for all the work you have done for the union in organizing the meetings and for serving as Treasurer.
Since no one else wanted to take over this position, Sébastien Clément stepped up again to serve on the Sub-Group's Executive Committee, for the first time as Treasurer. Aude will help to familiarize him with his new duties, which will take no more than three hours a year.
- Organization of Future Meetings
A lively discussion took place towards the end of the meeting regarding the location of the meetings. Some prefer that they take place at the LFC after work, to attract as many people as possible, others prefer the atmosphere of a restaurant or bistro. It was concluded that important meetings where we would have a lot of information to share would take place at the LFC from 5 to 7 p.m. and that less important meetings, organized around a theme, could take place at a restaurant or a bistro.
With respect to the organization of meetings, NO ONE WANTED TO COMMIT TO ORGANIZE them other than Don. Pierre had a good idea, suggesting we write down all the names of the members of the Sub-Group and put them in a basket. The person whose name is drawn by a member of the Executive Committee in front of the other members of the Board and Pierre Godbout would be the organizer for the next meeting.
To complete this, Georges intends, after the holidays, to identify potential restaurants and caterers located near the LFC in order to facilitate the work of the organizer, who would only have to call to make the reservation or order.
- Mobilization of Support for the Bargaining Team
A mobilization strategy was developed in 2018 to give PIPSC greater visibility in the media and with the employer and Treasury Board. This strategy was presented at our meeting in Vancouver by Suzel Brousseau, Senior Negotiator for the SP Group. As part of this approach, they asked us to support the Bargaining Team by taking a group photo with several people carrying the slogan "I support my Bargaining Team". The photo was taken at the end of the meeting by Catherine Béliveau. Thank you, Catherine!
I hope that this report will encourage you to keep a positive attitude in our mutual fight!
Wishing you all a happy holiday season!
President of the SP Sub-Group,
NRCan, Quebec Region