September 7, 2017
Dear Mr. Hamilton,
When we met at our May national union management consultation meeting, you asked me whether there was anything that you could do to help complete our current bargaining. I had indicated that we needed to resolve a long outstanding concern over classification reform, but we didn’t have the opportunity to discuss further at that time.
Now, our respective bargaining teams are returning to negotiations on September 19 to 21. There remain only two issues to be resolved, classification and pay. We really haven’t discussed pay in detail, but I believe that our sides can work through that matter in due course. I would like to bring our classification concerns to your attention in the hope that you can help us to resolve our differences.
While classification reform itself is not a bargaining issue, it is commonplace to negotiate understandings during bargaining to conduct classification reform. This has in fact been done during this very round of bargaining by at least two groups that I am aware (PSAC PA Group and Nav Canada). Both of these developments make it clear that CRA has chosen to avoid classification reform rather than the argument that has been presented to us, that CRA can't do classification reform.
Our goal is to have our work measured against the Agency Classification Standard (ACS). Our employees’ work is currently measured against classification standards that are thirty to fifty years old and do not comply with pay equity (it doesn’t measure effort or working conditions). Our jobs are currently being compared to standards used when technology was much simpler, punch cards were cutting edge IT and tax returns were 1.5 pages long.
CRA claims that it wants to be a modern world class tax organization, but CRA is measuring the work of its employees using standards established in the 1960s and early 1970s, some factors being so old that they're no longer relevant.
I am urging you to support your employees’ request to be evaluated using the ACS which has already been used for the vast majority of CRA employees (all UTE SPs and all MGs). Our remaining 10,000 AFS members are only asking for what has already been provided to virtually every other CRA employee. CRA has even previously agreed to proceed with ACS, but this was halted by the Expenditure Restraint Act, a restriction that is no longer in place. The parties would negotiate implementation at the next round of collective bargaining.
As we are meeting again for bargaining on September 19th, I am requesting that you reply to us prior to that meeting so that we know whether our upcoming round will have a reasonable prospect for success.