As we wrote last week, our RO/RCO bargaining team will be meeting to negotiate with NRC management for a new collective agreement on October 11 and 12. At this meeting we will be negotiating the non-financial items on our list of demands (such as conference attendence and a number of other items our members asked us to include in the new collective agreement). Pay negotiations will start at a later date. The dates for the following meeting are set for December 5, 6 and 7, immediately before the RO/RCO AGM on December 8.
Thank you to everyone who completed the survey to choose slogans to support our RO/RCO negotiation team and left us other suggestions and messages of support. We will be ordering t-shirts and other items with the slogans for members - they will be ready before our December meeting.
We are asking you and all our members to do two things to support our bargaining team in October:
1) Talk about bargaining and the importance of getting a new collective agreement during breaks and lunch with other members. If you have any questions send them to us: firstname.lastname@example.org
2) We have ordered PIPSC Better Together pins and we are asking you - all our members - to wear them on your shirt or lanyard at work on October 11 and 12. RO/RCO member reps will be distributing them in your location. If you are willing to distribute pins in your location or need a pin, contact us: email@example.com
Many of you indicated in the slogan survey that you would like more information on several topics. The most requested topic is info about the bargaining process.
Here is a diagram illustrating the key steps in the bargaining process:
1. PIPSC sends a bargaining survey to members when the collective agreement has expired. Our collective agreement expired in June 2014 and the survey was sent in September 2014. We had an excellent response from RO/RCO members to the survey.
2. We formed bargaining team of RO/RCO members. The list of members is here:
3. The bargaining team used the 2014 survey results to establish our bargaining demands, including better pay, conference attendance, scientific integrity, removal of the double bar, more vacation, etc. Since that time we updated it to respond to new concerns raised by our members. The demands were ready in June 2016 and we continued to update them until finalized in June 2017.
4. In the past, NRC management as a separate federal agency had the flexibility to bargain directly with the RO/RCO team. That process changed and now Treasury Board directs NRC management. This means that any bargaining proposals put forward by NRC management must be first approved by Treasury Board.
5. The bargaining groups representing PIPSC members working for federal departments directly under Treasury Board complete their bargaining before the separate agencies. In practice, that means that NRC and the other federal research agencies - CFIA, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission - wait until that bargaining is concluded or almost concluded before starting to bargain.
6. The federal bargaining group with members most like RO/RCO members is the PIPSC RE (Research) group that includes the RE-RES (Research Scientists) RE-REM (Research Managers) and DS (Defense Scientists) categories. When the RE group began to bargain with the previous (Harper) government, Treasury Board was offering them (and all the federal groups) pay increments of 0.5% per year. TB also wanted to radically change the sick leave provision in federal collective agreements. These proposals were unacceptable to PIPSC and the decision was made to postpone negotiations until after the outcome of the Fall 2015 federal election.
7. Soon after the new (Trudeau) government was sworn in November 2015, PIPSC signalled that it was ready to bargain. The new government however was not ready to do this right away. The PIPSC RE group returned to the table in March 2016.
8. During the summer of 2016, Treasury Board gave all PIPSC bargaining groups the choice of dispute resolution method: binding arbitration or conciliation-strike. After considerable discussion, most of the PIPSC research groups, including RO/RCO, chose the conciliation-strike route. We will explain this process in more detail in our next bargaining update. Basically it gives RO/RCO members more options in negotiations.
9. The RE group continued negotiations and came to an agreement with Treasury Board in December 2016. We wrote about this, with links to news articles at the time, in our February 2017 newsletter. You can access that newsletter from our archived site:
10. The RE collective agreement for researchers working in federal government departments has set a precedent for our RO/RCO negotiations with NRC and Treasury Board - we will explain that in the next update. The RE contract was ratified by RE members in March 2017 and signed in June 2017. You can read or download the new RE contract, including the new rates of pay for Defense Scientists (DS) and other RE classifications, from their website: http://www.pipsc.ca/groups/re
11. Since February 2017, PIPSC and NRC have been trying to establish bargaining dates for the RO/RCO group. Unfortunately our PIPSC negotiator had to go on indeterminate sick leave in March. Fortunately, our new negotiator, Nick Pernal, also worked with the RE group and so is familiar with the concerns of federal researchers. He quickly got up to speed with NRC RO/RCO issues and, in collaboration with the RO/RCO bargaining team, Nick finalized our list of bargaining demands.
12. It was not possible to find dates during the summer when both the RO/RCO team and the NRC team could meet to bargain. In late September, we established the date for the October 11-12 bargaining meeting. We sent NRC the RO/RCO demands and they sent us theirs. After our bargaining meeting in October, we will make provide a summary of key demands and make these available to members.
13. The next steps include further negotiations and if required, the dispute resolution method. We will explain those steps in the next update. The last step is ratification of the collective agreement and signing by both parties. NRC has a specified number of days (typically 90) to provide retroactive pay and revise ongoing pay.
We look forward to your show of support for the bargaining team on October 11 and 12!
PIPSC NRC RO/RCO bargaining team