April 17, 2023
The Union bargained for another three days in April.
At the end of these sessions, we began “package bargaining,” which involves each side crafting packages of proposals to be agreed to as a whole or not at all. This helps to narrow the issues and therefore to identify the primary objectives of each party. It also means that we are now talking about money.
The Employer’s wage offer is not a surprise. We are being offered the salary increases over three years that most of our public-sector colleagues have accepted:
- A small flat increase (equal to 25 cents an hour) to all steps on the salary scale effective on the first day of the first full pay period after April 1, 2022,
- An additional 3.24% increase also effective on the first day of the first full pay period after April 1, 2022,
- An additional 6.75% increase effective on the first day of the first full pay period after April 1, 2023 (this includes a cost-of-living adjustment of 1.25%),
- An additional 2% increase effective on the first day of the first full pay period after April 1, 2024, plus a possible cost-of-living adjustment of up to 1% based on the BC Consumer Price Index issued as of March 2024.
What’s still in play, then?
First, we have concerns about the way that the flat salary increase has been calculated.
Second, we are troubled that the employer is proposing that wage increases apply only to current and retired members and not to members who worked during the relevant time but who are not working on the date of ratification. We are opposed to this.
Third, we are debating the options for spending the small amount of money available to each public sector union (the “Flexibility Accommodation Mandate”). This money cannot go toward salary increases but can fund other changes to collective agreements. It amounts to .25% of total CCFA compensation in the first year and .5% of total CCFA compensation in the second year and ongoing. The Employer has made several proposals for spending this money. We have our own proposals. The costs of potential changes must be reckoned, of course, and here we continue to be frustrated that the employer has not provided all the costing information we require.
Fourth, we are also discussing rights-focused or process-focused proposals. You already know some of the union concerns, such as regularization, hiring, workload, and scheduled development. You are also aware that the employer’s concerns include right of first refusal for term work, revision and rescission of term contracts, appraisal, and layoff.
The employer presented the first package, and now the union is crafting its first counter-package. We have agreed to one on-line meeting with the employer to present our proposal package, and then we go back to meeting in person to exchange as many packages as it takes to come to an agreement.
As in previous rounds of bargaining, we have been playing both offense and defence. Our job is to do our best to reach an agreement without accepting proposals that do immediate or extensive harm to our members. It’s a fine balance.
Our next in-person bargaining days are May 29, 30, and 31 (times and locations TBD). Once again, we are inviting you to observe our bargaining sessions with the employer on any or all of those days. If you’re interested, please contact Kelly Pitman at ac.nusomac@namtip.