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The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada > Institute Groups > eNgineering, aRchitecture and Land Survey (NR) Group > NR Group Newsletter - March 2013
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ENGINEERING, ARCHITECTURE AND LAND SURVEY (NR)

NR GROUP NEWSLETTER

March 2013

NR GROUP EXECUTIVE

Name Title Telephone # Email address
Tim Kirkby President (613) 931-2214 e-mail
Pierre Richard Vice-president (514) 633-3602 e-mail
David A. Young Sub-Group Coordinator (613) 943-9265 e-mail
Joan Muise Secretary (902) 496-5532 e-mail
Al Arseneault Treasurer (613) 596-2540 e-mail
George Achakji Communications Coordinator (819) 997-7028 e-mail
George Achakji Membership Coordinator (819) 997-7028 e-mail
Luc Thibodeau Chief Steward (514) 496-3336 e-mail
Robert Willman By-Law Coordinator (780) 988-5439 e-mail
Geoff Kendell Delegate Selection (604) 666-5160 e-mail
Bill Spruin Member-at-Large (819) 994-8491 e-mail
Randy Dhar Member-at-Large (416) 512-5796 e-mail
Angelo Guglielmo Member-at-Large (819) 994-8491 e-mail

In this issue:

  • Message from the NR National Group President, Tim Kirkby.
  • NR Group AGM 2012, and Subgroup Presidents, Montreal.
  • PIPSC AGM Ottawa, Nov 2012
  • Notice of NR Group AGM 2013
  • Recognition of Canadian Forces Service
  • Government's Deficit Reduction & Workforce Adjustment (WFA)
  • Stewards Can Improve Workplace through Involvement
  • Selection Process for NR Delegates to PIPSC AGM
  • PIPSC Life Membership

Message from the NR National Group President - Tim Kirkby

98.5%...What a Number !!! The Terminal Allowance was Terminal !!!

On October 01, 2012 our long standing Terminal Allowance, i.e., all the Recruitment and Retention Allowance arrived in your Pay check and salary. The stress and political baggage that we all carried for many years as to exactly what our pay compensation was defined as was finally clarified. No longer do we have to face a financial institution and perhaps more importantly a "partner" and try to explain that the allowance was part of our salary. On October 01, 2013, an economic increase of 2% in salary will start.

I now will share with you that very very few NR members disagreed with our recent contract negotiations. A mass celebration and words of joy arrived from all work locations! Thank you!

Now the NR National Executive are planting seeds for improvements for the next round of bargaining which will define a new bargaining team and mandate no later then January 2014 however perhaps as soon as the fall of 2013. Collective Bargaining never ends.

Finally I would like to thank all NR members and PIPSC members outside of our Bargaining group who expressed their support to me this past summer as I have struggled with a loss. Knowing that life is so precious, we should hold every moment and understand that life is not to be missed. Hug your loved one(s).

Thank You,

Tim Kirkby, NR National Group President

NR Group AGM 2012, and Subgroup Presidents Meeting - Montreal

The NR Group Executive has decided to move the NR Annual General Meeting to cities where we can facilitate the start up of Sub-groups and meet. The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) has started a Sub-group in Montreal in 2012, and they hosted our Annual Sub-group Presidents meeting in April 2012. The day included a tour of the CSA facility and presentations from the Space Agency engineers and scientists explaining some of their projects and the interesting work that they do. This was followed by an update on the new contract as well as the process for rolling in the Terminable Allowance (TA), and the payout options of Severance Pay. We also had an excellent presentation and discussions on WFA provided by PIPSC Montreal Office (ERO), which for many was timely. The next day we held our AGM and it was well attended. Along with other business, we presented our retiring negotiator, Michel Gingras with a token of our appreciation. We now have Evan Heidinger, our new NR Group Negotiator. Welcome Evan.

PIPSC AGM Ottawa, Nov 2012

This year’s PIPSC AGM was scheduled to be held in St. John’s Newfoundland, however a strike by our friends at PSAC union at the St. John’s airport, made it impossible for us to hold the meeting there, without crossing a picket line, which we don’t do. After considerable scrambling by staff and travel agents the PIPSC AGM was relocated to Ottawa. We had an interesting two days, with lots of resolutions to consider. Some of our PIPSC By-laws were changed, many items went through hot discussions, and NR delegates were often contributors to the discussion. A full record of the proceedings can be found on www.pipsc.ca. On Friday noon we held our second annual march on Parliament Hill, to protest cuts to the public service. We were joined on the Hill by our union friends from the CLC, CAW, and PSAC, as well as two opposition politicians, one NDP and one Liberal, (see photos below). All speakers were very powerful, and we closed the protest with a rousing chorus of Oh Canada, led by VP Debi Daviau. When you think of it “We stand on guard for thee” is really what we all do, As Public Servants.

The following are some of the resolutions & decisions of the AGM 2012:

  • Resolution F-15 DUES INCREASE: That the dues be increased by $7 per member per month. ''Was Defeated''. So there will be ''No Increase in Union Dues for the Year 2013''
  • BY-LAW 6 - CATEGORIES OF MEMBERSHIP: A Resolution for Removal of Associate Member Category of Membership (Sponsor by the Board of Directors) – Was Carried.
  • Resolution F-11: which requires that PIPSC withdraw its affiliation with the CANADIAN LABOUR CONGRESS (CLC) effective January 1, 2013. Was Defeated.
  • Resolution F-19: to hold all future PIPSC AGMs in the NCR effective 2014. Was Carried.
  • Resolution F-16: that PIPSC create accessibility standards and policies to ensure that all electronic and printed communication is accessible to people with disabilities was Referred to BOD.
  • There was no time left for the ''Late Resolutions'' to be discussed before the AGM adjourned. More details are provided at www.pipsc.ca.

Notice of NR Group AGM 2013

The NR Group AGM 2013 will be held in May 2013 in Toronto. A notice of AGM was sent out to NR members on Februrary 28, for registration.

Recognition of Canadian Forces Service

Finance Minister Flaherty announced in his 2012 Budget speech that the Government wanted to allow Federal Public Service employees to include previous military service with PS service when calculating vacation leave. Shortly thereafter, PIPSC was approached by Treasury Board with a request to negotiate appropriate language in each Collective Agreement applicable to PIPSC members. There are six Treasury Board Bargaining Groups affected: AV, CS, RE, SH, SP, and, of course, NR.

The Negotiations resulted in an Agreement signed on August 30th, which will be included in all six Collective Agreements at Appendix A. The Agreement states, among other things, that:

“Effective April 1, 2012 on a go forward basis, any former service in the Canadian Forces for a continuous period of six (6) months or more, either as a member of the Regular Force or of the Reserve Force while on Class B or C service, shall also be included in the calculation of vacation leave credits …”

This means that effective April 1st, 2012, when the Employer calculates the amount of Vacation Leave credits to which an Employee is entitled, they will have to take into account the employee’s previous CF Service. For example, an employee with 20 years’ CF service, and 10 years in the Public Service, will now see their Vacation Leave credits calculated on the basis of 30 years’ service, rather than 10.

NOTE: There is no retroactive calculation nor credit for previous Fiscal Years. The new method is on a “go forward” basis only, beginning in the current FY.

The NR Agreement, which has been signed and printed already, will not be reprinted. Nevertheless, this new provision now forms part of that Collective Agreement and must be implemented by the Employer. NR members with previous Canadian Forces service should review their leave entitlements and credits to ensure that their leave banks have been adjusted. Should it appear that they have not been given proper credit for CF service, they should request that the appropriate adjustments be made.

Members who are not satisfied with the Employer’s response in this regard should consult their PIPSC steward or a PIPSC Employment Relations Officer.

Government's Deficit Reduction & Workforce Adjustment (WFA)

The Government’s Strategic Review Process requires departments and agencies to review their programs, their services and to increase efficiencies and effectiveness. Managing expenditures, accountability, fiscal responsibility, streamlining internal operations; redefining priorities and transforming the way business is conducted often results in reorganization and realignment of the workplace. This could ultimately lead to Institute members being declared surplus.

All PIPSC collective agreements contain rights, entitlements and protection in cases of members being declared surplus. Depending on the applicable collective agreement, this can include the right to placement in another position within the organization and/or recall rights in the event of a layoff. The processes and entitlements in PIPSC collective agreements are contained within Workforce Adjustment and/or Employment Transition provisions. The WFA is part of the collective agreement and is enforceable within the grievance process, and disputes may be referred to an adjudicator at the Public Service Labour Relations Board.

WFA is a government jargon for lay-off. A WFA situation arises when the service of an indeterminate employee is no longer required because of: Lack of work; Discontinuance of a function; or a Relocation in which the employee does not wish to relocate. This may involve entire work sections, functions or departments.

The primary objective of WFA is to ensure continued employment. It does not necessarily mean continuation of work in the same or a similar position, or occupational group. An indeterminate employee must be informed in writing that their service will no longer be required beyond a specified date. When this formal notification occurs, the employee then becomes subject to the WFA provisions of the collective agreement and is considered an affected employee. When an employee is informed of a WFA situation, one of the two following can occur:

1. Where the employer can predict that employment will be available, the employee will receive a Guarantee of a Reasonable Job Offer (GRJO).

OR,

2. Where the employer determines that there is no likelihood of employment and cannot provide this guarantee, the employee will not receive a guarantee of a reasonable job offer. Instead, the employee will become an “Opting Employee” and will be given options to choose, and he/she has 120 days to choose one of the following three options (A, B, or C):

Option A: Limited Surplus Priority (12 months)

The member has the same rights as a surplus employee in receipt of a GRJO for priority appointment to another position for which the member meets the essential qualifications for a period of twelve (12) months. Should the member not receive a reasonable job offer within that period, he or she will be laid off.

If an employee chooses to resign prior to the end of the 12 month surplus priority period, the employee may be entitled to a lump-sum payment for the remainder of the surplus period, up to a maximum of six months.

Option B: Cash-Out Payment

The employee is entitled to the Transition Support Measure (TSM) which is a cash payment based upon the employee’s years of service in the public service, which varies from a minimum of ten weeks pay to a maximum of fifty-two weeks.

Employees exercising this option must resign; however, they are also entitled to severance pay in accordance with the collective agreement in addition to the TSM cash payment. Employees selecting this option relinquish their priority rights.

Option C: Education Allowance

Employees may opt for an education allowance which pays a maximum $10,000 for tuition, books and mandatory equipment to attend a postgraduate university program. Employees selecting this option relinquish their priority rights and:

  • must resign and
  • are entitled to severance pay in accordance with the collective agreement in addition to the education allowance.

OR

  • Delay departure, to a maximum of 2 years,
  • May receive the education allowance in one or two payments, and
  • May participate in benefit plan while paying both employer and employee shares

If you receive notification that you are surplus or will become surplus, we encourage you to contact a Steward or your Regional Office for information and assistance.

Stewards Can Improve Workplace through Involvement

Stewards are the official representatives of PIPSC in the workplace. The status of Union Stewards permits them to communicate issues with members & colleagues in the workplace, listen to their concerns, and discuss with management in order to positively resolve issues and adequately implement management’s decisions. The involvement of the Steward improves Employer-Employee communication through Union-Management Consultation (UMC). Consultation is the springboard for communications, it’s recognized by the Employer and it can be used to discuss all workplace issues. Consultation meetings are designed to develop and maintain sound and harmonious union/management relations and to provide members with greater participation in the decision-making process.

If you are interested in being involved in your union, please consider becoming a steward. Training is provided at no cost to you. You will find more information on the PIPSC Web site (www.pipsc.ca). The NR Group Executive welcomes the following new Stewards who have completed their stewards basic training: Shah Alamgir (ELS - ONT), John Eng (ELS - NCR), Minerve Malialin (AR - QUE), Abdul Shakor (NCR), Eric Thibeault (ELS QUE), Zaheeruddin Choudhry (ELS BC).

Selection Process for NR Delegates to PIPSc AGM

Selection Process for NR Delegates to PIPSc AGM

Several members were asking about the selection process that we used this year in the selection of our NR Delegates to the Institute (PIPSC) AGM. As you are probably aware, the Institute’s supreme decision-making body is its Annual General Meeting. Between the AGM’s, the Institute’s decisions are made by the PIPSC Board of Directors (BoD.) The BoD consists of 15 members: the President and four Vice-Presidents (2 Full-time and 2 Part-time) are elected by all members in all 6 Regions, and 10 Directors (4 from the NCR, and one from each of the other 5 Regions, as well as the Advisory Council Director.) While every member is allowed to attend and observe the AGM, only 423 delegates attend and have voting rights, including 200 delegates selected by the 6 Regions and 200 delegates selected by the Groups, plus 15 BoD members and 8 Executive members of the Retired Members Guild. In 2012, the NR Group’s share of the 200 Group delegates was only 11 delegates.

Our NR Group selects its delegates from a list of applicants (NR Group delegate application form.) We can’t just send the Group Executive because it may be larger than our allotment (by two, in 2012.) Last year, 31 valid applications were received by the deadline. The first criteria is to identify those that are Regional delegates, because our members have a better chance of getting a Regional seat, as there are more of them (also, none can vote twice.) The next criteria, is to identify any delegates to the Group AGM who are active in NR Group affairs. Lastly, we look for synergies and if cost efficiencies would be achieved by NR delegates who would be travelling to the AGM already.

In 2012, the list of the 11 NR Group delegates, along with substitutes, was sent to the Institute on June 1st. The Institute sent to each individual an e-mail for web registration, which ended on July 13th. We maintained a list of substitutes (including those whose applications were received after the deadline) in case any delegate would be unable to attend. Delegates are asked to please let us know as soon as possible if they are unable to attend.

For your information: 2 PIPSC Executive members (President Corbett and Vice-President Burns,) the 2012 AGM Parliamentarian, and 17 Regional delegates, in addition to our 11 Group Executive delegates, were NR members at the 93rd PIPSC AGM.

PIPSC Life Membership

NR Group Executive member, Bill Spruin (NR-ELS,) was awarded an Institute Life Membership in 2012. Bill received his Life Membership from President, Gary Corbett, during the 2012 PIPSC AGM Dinner. The Life Membership Award recognizes outstanding service of enduring value to the Institute by a Regular or Retired member of the Institute who has demonstrated leadership for at least 10 years. Congratulations Bill!

If you have any items of interest, questions or suggestions for the next newsletter please contact G. Achakji.

Best Regards,
George Achakji, P. Eng.
NR Group Communications

Photo by John White

Delegates at the NR AGM 2012 held in Montreal. Appearing in the front row (from left) are NR Group Exec: Bill Spruin, Bob Willman, Al Arseneault, and George Achakji. (Photo by John White)

Photo by Joan Muise

PIPSC Rally, in front of the Parliament building. (Photo by Joan Muise).

Photo by Joan Muise

PIPSC Rally, Pierre Richard and Luc Thibodeau (Quebec Region) in front of Parliament building. (Photo by Joan Muise).

Photo by John White

NR Exec celebrated with Bob Willman his first-day in his Retirement from PWGSC. Above photo (from left) are Tim Kirkby and Bob. In the photo below, George Achakji is greeting Bob Willman with a speech, and David Young and Mrs. Young are shown in the back. (Photos by John White).

Photo by John White