We are Leaders in our Profession! Congratulations NR Bargaining Team Members!
This message has been in development for more then 12 years!
There comes a time when a rare event occurs which requires me to personally comment and thank members who have contributed greatly to the obtaining of a significant milestone for our members.
In 1999 our NR volunteers lead a discussion with Treasury Board during our contract negotiations which proved that our wages were out of phase with our professional salary scales. We were awarded a "catch up" Recruitment and Retention allowance which was referred to as the TA (terminal allowance) which represented 15% of our wages. For political reasons which are difficult to understand the term "Recruitment and Retention Allowance" was defined by our employer as an addition to our wages, and was at risk during all future bargaining sessions.
At each and every opportunity over the past 12 years, we have brought to the bargaining table our demand to roll in the recruitment and retention allowance into our base wages. Over the past 12 years, the 15% R&R was affected by pay legislation, which decreased the 15% value of the R&R to approximately today’s definition of 13.5%, a significant reduction. The risk of further reductions continued.
During the past two bargaining sessions Treasury Board inconsistently offered a partial roll-in of our R&R which at best, would have rolled in 40% of the R&R while placing at risk potential disappearance of the remaining 60% of the R&R. Your NR bargaining team has maintained a 12 year position in discussions with Treasury Board: roll-in 100% of the R&R into base pay and nothing less!
On October 26th of this year 2011 during bargaining sessions with Treasury Board we were informed in face to face discussions with Treasury Board that: the need for a R&R allowance was no longer required. Your bargaining team listened almost with complete patience, a discussion by management team representatives on the Treasury Board Team describe why the allowance was no longer required. When one of the Management representative from PWGSC spoke at the bargaining table as to why the allowance was not required, our bargaining team representative Randy Dhar could not contain himself and had to be asked by our bargaining team to ignore the unqualified comment. Bargaining is tough work!
When the bargaining session concluded after three long and intense days, Treasury Board had moved on its opening position of a partial roll-in our R&R allowance, to a complete 100% roll-in of the R&R. After 12 years, our unwavering position had been offered to us by Treasury Board!
Our bargaining team members, and PIPSC support of staff and political members are to be congratulated.
Our Bargaining team coordinator Al Arseneault is a land surveyor, and he was successful in bringing to the bargaining table an argument on the need to address ENG-SUR pay scale comprehension. The salary grid corrections which Treasury Board proposed and we negotiated are not a complete fix of the problem yet, are an improvement. Al is to be congratulated for his great work during this and past rounds of bargaining.
Our Bargaining team during our last three intense days of bargaining were captained by David Young. David is an NR Can Engineer. Dave's relentless arguments and discussion with the bargaining team and his one on one discussions as our bargaining team captain were excellent.
The bargaining team was a close and tight team which were willing to explore all arguments and opinions within the team sessions. Yves Cousineau and Pierre Richard, engineers employed by Transport Canada brought professional sound logic to the team. Randy Dhar is an architect who works with PWGSC, is the immediate past president of the Royal Institute of Architecture of Canada and in that role Randy is often meeting and travelling all over the world with leaders in Professional Architecture. Geoff Kendell, an Engineer with Indian and Northern Affairs completed his first round of bargaining and brought many new views to the team.
As the final and 7th member of the bargaining team and NR Group President , and now having concluded my 8th round of collective bargaining with Treasury Board and being involved 12 years ago when the R&R was defined and applied to our compensation package, I now reflect on what we have accomplished!
A warm thank you to our PIPSC Staff negotiator and group resource Michel Gingras. Michel did a remarkable job in working with our team while leading our discussions with the Treasury Board lead negotiator.
We as well were supported by our PIPSC VP of Bargaining Debi Daviau, PIPSC Engineering Champion Don Burns and our NR National Executive.
We are leaders in our Profession. We are the very first Treasury Board Group who has negotiated a new collective agreement. A collective agreement which had expired less then one month earlier on September 30th, 2011.
We welcome all of your comments and note that we have 17 nr subgroups located throughout Canada and it appears that their is interest for additional subgroup creations in centres such as Montreal, the NCR and perhaps Kingston. We will provide a team bargaining team member as a resource for a meeting to discuss our efforts with your local NR members. A number of these meeting have already been completed.
Tim Kirkby P.Eng.
NR Group President