Frequently asked questions about the bargaining process

1. Where can I find my current collective agreement?

All members of PIPSC are part of a group. Your group is determined based on their work, classification and employer. This structure allows each bargaining unit to determine its bargaining priorities and strategies. It also allows each unit to deal with concerns specific to its members' professions.

Your group has an executive team, elected by you and your colleagues. Your group also selects the bargaining team that will represent you in negotiations with your shared employer. You can find your current collective agreement on your Group Page.

2. Why should I pay attention to the bargaining process?

Bargaining is collective. That means rather than negotiating your terms of employment individually, the union leverages the collective power of all members in your group to ensure you get the best deal possible.

This bargaining process is what shapes your collective agreement, and your collective agreement is what shapes everything from your working conditions to your salary. The more you follow this process – and participate where you can – the more likely you are to end up with working conditions that meet your needs.

3. How does the union keep in touch with me during this process?

We will send you regular updates via email or text message to let you know how the bargaining process is going. We will also post updates on this page, and on our social media platforms. Make sure your contact information is up to date, and that you are following us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

If you have specific questions during bargaining, you can send them to your shop steward or group bargaining teams!

4. Is anything expected of me during the bargaining process?

First of all, collective bargaining begins and ends with members, so it is crucial that you make sure your bargaining team knows your priorities. How can they represent you to the employer if you’re not telling them what you want? So when your bargaining survey comes out, please always take a few minutes to complete it.

Secondly, you will also have the opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback to your bargaining team throughout the process through events (online and in-person) and via email. Your bargaining team wants and needs to hear from you.

Finally, it is very important that you read all communications from your Group, and that you show up to events. This will ensure that you have the most current information on the process. It will also enable you to chat with your colleagues about bargaining. You can even host a lunch and learn in your workplace to make sure everyone knows how to stay informed.

5. What sort of issues are discussed during collective bargaining?

Through negotiations, PIPSC bargaining teams and the employer’s representatives reach a collective agreement which contains provisions establishing the terms and conditions of employment, paid and unpaid leave, rates of pay, hours of work, and the rights and duties of the parties to the agreement.

6. Are there any issues not on the table during bargaining?

There are some issues that we do not bargain. There are other issues where ability to bargain varies from employer to employer.

For example, for federal government employees, we cannot bargain on your pension, your health or dental benefits, classification and staffing of positions, or administrative system changes (such as the dreaded Phoenix).

This is not to say the union doesn’t advocate for improvements and action on these important issues, but that work is done outside of bargaining. As an example, we have been working with other unions and partner organizations to review and improve the Public Service Health Care Plan (PSHCP).

7. Will any salary changes be retroactive?

Generally, yes. Once your new collective agreement is ratified and signed, the implementation of the new agreement begins. This will include any pay increases that need to be applied retroactively. The retroactive payment period starts from when the previous collective agreement expired, and ends when your salary is adjusted to reflect the new rates of pay.

You are entitled to a personalized retro payment based on your work history, which includes things like overtime, acting assignments, etc. Some compensation is not subject to retro pay however, such as shift premiums or lump sum allowances.

Once your new collective agreement is ratified and signed and implementation begins, your bargaining team will provide updates on how and when you can expect your retro pay.