UTE  LOCAL  51
Union of Taxation Employees - Toronto West TSO
Home Executive News Bargaining Bylaws Contact Us President's Reports Links

UTE LOCAL 00051

President’s Report 2006

October 18, 2006

On behalf of myself and the Executive Council, we would like to welcome each and every one of you to Local 00051’s sixth annual general meeting.

Another year has come and gone but what a year it has been. In January of 2006 the Union of Taxation Employees (UTE) finalized the Memorandum of Understanding for the grievances dealing with the definition of a day for the application of the following leaves:

  • Leave with Pay for Family-Related Responsibilities (Article 43)

  • Marriage Leave with Pay (Article 45)

  • Leave with or without Pay for Other Reasons – Personal Leave (Article 54.02)

As a result, employees subjected to the CRA /PSAC collective agreement who had to complete the above-mentioned leave (difference between the 7.5 hours and the scheduled hours of work) by using compensatory time, vacation leave with pay or authorized leave without pay will have their records corrected.

It is the employer’s objective to make the corrections as soon as possible at the national level.

The period of retroactivity has been determined by the filing of the first grievance which was filed by a UTE member on April 1, 2002 up until December 9, 2004 when the latest collective agreement clarified the definition of a day as being 7.5 hours.

The employer has confirmed that the application of this settlement will also apply to all employees of the Agency.

On April 1st former CEUDA members employed by the CRA became UTE members. These are the members that work for Corporate and Common Services at the TSO , Keaton Warehouse and the Ontario Regional Office. I would like to take this opportunity to welcome them to UTE Local 00051.

In the first week of May I attended the PSAC Triennial Convention which was held in Toronto . At this convention clear priorities were established for the union for the next three years. In order to meet these priorities, the Convention adopted a progressive budget and resolutions with dues increase that will allow the PSAC to better represent the interests of members, as well as all Canadians, at work and in their communities.

This means there will be an average dues increase of 29 cents per member per month. The actual dues percentage will rise to 0.8963% from the current 0.8889%. This increase will take effect on January 1, 2007.

At this convention, delegates also gave direction to rebuild the PSAC Strike Fund through a special strike dues of $5.00 per member per month between July, 2006 and December 2006, and $2.75 per member per month from January 2007 until the Strike Fund has a positive balance of $25 million and then the regular strike fund dues will increase from the current 35 cents to $1.00 per member per month. Members who earn less than $30,000 will pay a reduced amount to help rebuild the strike fund. They will pay $2 per member per month from July 2006 until the strike fund has a positive balance of $25 million.

In my previous report, I had informed you of the CRA ’s intention to activate the ACS -SP job descriptions. Their deadline for implementation was to be March 31st and at that time CRA would have brought forward a motion to have the Collective Agreement opened to incorporate the new classifications and its pay bands. It came as no surprise to us that this employer was unable to meet their set deadline. Just recently we received an e-mail from the Assistant Commissioner of the Human Resources Branch stating that the Agency is moving ahead with the implementation of short format work descriptions as of December 2006. As such, there will be a number of information sessions being held this month. These information sessions will be given jointly by our union SP contacts and management SP contacts Our union SP contacts are Kirnal Matharu and Rocco Scalera.

Let’s talk about the Agency’s Observe and Attest Initiative. The Agency’s new Observe and Attest Initiative is aimed at allowing managers and Team Leaders to observe employees’ performance and attesting that employees either meet or do not meet the threshold levels for:

  • Client Services Orientation (CSO),

  • Effective Interactive Communication (EIC) and

  • Teamwork and Cooperation (T&C).

The Agency expects that most employees will be able to meet the levels required for their jobs. For those employees found not to demonstrate the required levels, the necessary support will be provided to assist them in their development. Members of the MG Group will be required to meet the threshold levels for Conflict Management (CM), Team Leadership (TL) and Developing Others, (DO) before they are trained and authorized to Observe and Attest the aforementioned (CSO,EIR,T&C) competencies for their employees.

Those members of the MG Group who do not meet the threshold levels and are therefore not authorized to Observe and Attest will be assisted in their development. The training for managers, Team Leaders and your Executive Council were held during the month of June of 2006.

The Agency has taken the position that recourse against the Observe and Attest initiative consists only of Individual Feedback, followed by Decision Review. In fact, they maintain that employees wishing to challenge their assessment in terms of Observe and Attest are precluded from filing grievances due to the prohibition in the Public Service Labour Relations Act (PSLRA) where it states that a grievance cannot be filed where there is another form of redress established in or under an Act of Parliament.

The Union of Taxation Employees (UTE) is opposed to the Agency’s position in this matter. In fact, UTE strongly holds that employees wishing to challenge their assessment pursuant to observe and attest should file grievances. UTE firmly believes that the prohibition contained in the PSLRA does not apply in this instance as recourse against Observe and Attest is not contemplated in the PSLRA. Furthermore, the recourse provided by the Agency is not the same as redress, as contemplated by the legislators. Finally, the Agency has insisted that Observe and Attest is not part of the Staffing Program and therefore, as it is not part of the Staffing Program, it is our belief that employees have the right to file grievances against their assessments.

However, UTE does suggest that employees, in addition to filing grievances, should also avail of the Individual Feedback and Decision Review processes provided by the Agency as both systems of recourse/redress may stand independently.

Another employer initiative implemented is the harmonization of audit ranges which provided for the expansion of the combined income and GST/HST audit program from the PM-2 to the PM-3 and AU-1 levels effective April 1, 2006.

In order to conduct these combined audits, the employer established uniform revenue ranges. For PM-2 auditors, the income ranges were lowered and their workload no longer include audits of corporations for GST/HST.
  
The work descriptions were revised but the substantive grade and level remained the same. Our members were advised of these changes by town hall meetings held on August 9th and 10th, 2006. To this date, the employer has not confirmed either way whether our members will receive acting pay as a result of these changes.

Another initiative being implemented is the Union-Management Initiative (UMI). The philosophy of UMI supports both the informal and formal methods of resolving disputes and conflicts, with the focus on being proactive, minimizing conflict where possible, and achieving resolution at the lowest possible level. The UMI philosophy is based on five principles:

  • Promote resolution of issues at the lowest possible level.

  • Focus on improving relationships between union and management resolving conflict in our work environment.

  • Promote the use of interest-based negotiations while maintaining the right to use a rights-based mechanism.

  • Support Agency values.

  • Seek to resolve issues in a fair and reasonable manner.

The Atlantic Region has exercised this initiative since 1997 and they say it works. Not that it will eliminate filing grievances completely but it will minimize it. The results with UMI can be immediate and not as time consuming as a grievance. 
  
The rollout for UMI is scheduled for this month. 
  
Now I want to take a few minutes to talk about « WFA », the word that lately each of us keep hearing more frequently. What is « WFA « ? A workforce adjustment (WFA) situation occurs when the employer restructures its operations in such a way as to eliminate the job or function of one or more indeterminate employees or transfers the job or function to a federal agency, another level of government or the private sector. 
  
Whenever work of a specific nature is relocated away from a work place, there are rights that the members are entitled to:

  • Receiving a letter giving the member six months to decide whether or not they wish to relocate with the work or be declared surplus and receive a reasonable job offer.

  • Relocation, with the work, at the employer’s cost.

  • Training for up to 2 years for a position that will be the reasonable job offer.

  • Promotion without recourse rights.

  • Appointment without recourse rights.

  • Reasonable job offer.

Members should not be accepting:

  • Deployments

  • Temporary assignments that are not directly linked to a future appointment as in a reasonable job offer.

In all cases, you must remember that when you are work force adjusted, it must be in writing. Your reasonable job offer must also be in writing. 
  
A reasonable job offer can be at equivalent or lower levels and the employee must be mobile and trainable. 
  
There is much that one can say about WFA and my report obviously is not all inclusive. I can only strongly recommend that if you the member are affected or will be potentially affected, please contact a union representative. We know about WFA and we can inform you of your rights and ensure that all of your rights under the collective agreement are adhered to. 
  
Since the last year we’ve had so many members affected and because we do not know when it will stop and/or where it will end, as directed by the UTE National Office, I am in discussions with the Director to try and establish a local joint Work Force Adjustment Committee. Our goal as union representatives on the committee will be to provide advice, guidance and recommendations to management and to assist employees who are affected or surplus. We will take a proactive role in ensuring that the rights of the members are respected and that the obligations of managers are fulfilled.
   
Well it’s that time again where we will be getting our last raise on November 1st, 2006 from this Collective Agreement which expires on October 31, 2007 and we will be entering in negotiations with the CRA .   
The UTE National Bargaining Committee is now calling for input from the Locals for bargaining demands in preparation for the upcoming round of contract negotiations. 
  
To facilitate input by our membership, I have attached to this report a « BARGAINING DEMAND » form that is customised for our Local. You can fill out a copy and send it to a member of our Bargaining Committee. Our Bargaining Committee consists of Greg Sabat, Chair, Richard Moon-Wan and Rocco Scalera. This will give the Bargaining Committee and the Executive Council an opportunity to review it, comment, and approve it for referral to the National Bargaining Committee. 
  
Alternatively, you may use the on-line form found at: 
  
http://www.ute-sei.org/English/committees/bargaining/bargainingdemands.cfm  
  
Please make sure to advise the Executive Council if you do. We still have to approve it for referral. Attached is a copy of Bulletin 04/06 from Brother Denis Lalancette, 2nd Vice President and Chair of the Bargaining Committee which explains the process. 
  
Last but not least over the past year, I have represented you on the Health and Safety Committee. I have also dealt with various member issues, filed and presented grievances and attended the following:

  • Annual General Meetings for Barrie, Toronto East, Toronto North and Toronto Centre held April 2006

  • The Presidents’ Conferences in Ottawa

In closing, I can assure you that I will continue to represent you, to the best of my ability and would like to take this opportunity to remind you that this is YOUR union and whether you become involved in the union as a Steward, Executive Council member or simply a member at large, your continued support is always welcomed, and to say that we can’t do it without YOU.   
  
In Solidarity, 
  
Rita Hinchliffe
President, UTE Local 00051 
Toronto West