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National Research Council - Research Officers and Research Council Officers (NRC RO/RCO)

NRC RO/RCO Newsletter July 2012

Research Officers and Research Council Officers Group Executive Members (2012)

President Daryl Wong Vancouver 604-294-9075
Vice-President Daniel Durand Victoria 250-363-0052
Secretary Mary Zborowski Ottawa 613-990-1054
Treasurer Lawrence Mak St. John's 709-772-5350
Member-at-Large John Rendell Winnipeg 204-984-7167
Member-at-Large Bert Buettner Ottawa 613-998-1820
Member-at-Large Pengfei Liu St. John's 709-772-4575
Member-at-Large Jeff Zidichouski Charlottetown 902-566-7441
Member-at-Large Keith Yeung Victoria 250-363-0067
Member-at-Large Gino DiLabio Edmonton 780-641-1729
Member-at-Large Paul Thorburn St. John's 709-772-4755

A Word from the President

This newsletter is meant to be a tool to communicate with you, the members. In this year of re-structuring of the National Research Council I feel there is a greater need for communications to be both ways, to get more feedback from you so that the executive can get a better understanding of how the council transition is affecting you and your workplace. You can contact your local PIPSC representative or steward. You can email me directly. This address can be used for confidential information for email from your private email address.

I have also asked each group executive member to take the lead role as the contact point for specific institutes, programs, and branches (using the previous nomenclature until the new ones are in place). The contact information for the group executive can be found on the PIPSC web.

The contacts are:

John Rendell - NINT, IBD, PBI
Daniel Durand - IMI, IAR (Montreal), BRI, IIT (Gatineau)
Keith Yeung - HIA, IFCI
Mary Zborowski - Corporate branches (SOP, A/E, FB, HRB, KM, EO, IMSB, PPS, CCRB, ASPM, DFS)
Jeff Zidichouski - INH, IMB, IIT (NB), IBS
Pengfei Liu - CNBC, IAR
Paul Thorburn - IOT, CHC,
Lawrence Mak - CSTT, IMS
Bert Buettner - IRC, IRC (London)

ICPET, INMS, SIMS are missing a local representative and we need volunteers to serve.

Send us emails about what is happening at your workplace so that we can share with the others at NRC.

Negotiations Update

Following the first meetings with NRC management on Oct. 27-28, 2011, our group had a change in PIPSC negotiators. Due to her heavy workload, Suzelle Brosseau, our long time negotiator, was unable to continue with our group. Another negotiator, Denise Doherty-Delorme, was assigned to our group in December 2011. First meeting with Denise and our Group Negotiations Team was on January 19, 2012 in Ottawa, to review proposals from both sides and for Denise to learn about NRC and the role of RO/RCO’s. Meetings with the NRC Team followed on January 20-21 with some progress made. Both sets of proposals, NRC and RO/RCO, can be found here on the PIPSC web site .

Next meetings were scheduled for February 22-24 in Ottawa. However, a few days before, a very tragic event occurred. Denise’s husband died suddenly and unexpectedly. Our sincere sympathies are with Denise and her family. Naturally, the scheduled meetings were cancelled.

Our present status is that we have a third PIPSC negotiator in the person of Michael Urminsky, new to our group and to NRC. Next meetings are planned for June 27, RO/RCO Team and Michael, then with NRC on June 28-29. We are optimistic that progress towards a new contract will be made before July 19, 2012, the first anniversary of the expiry of our previous agreement. Note that the provisions of that contract still remain in effect until a new agreement is reached.

A reminder to review Article 25, Severance Pay, of the old contract, as this will be a deciding issue in the negotiations. Of interest is the settlement reached by the NR (Engineer, Architect and Land Survey) Group of PIPSC, which specifies that their terminable allowance (TA) will be included in salary. In exchange, severance pay will cease to accumulate for voluntary resignation or retirement. See for more details. For Engineering, the former TA ranged from $6 152 to $14 802 per annum.

Executive Committee Activities

The Executive Committee met in Ottawa on February 2-3, 2012, visiting ICPET and IRC. First order of business was the election of the officers of the Group; President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer. According to Group Bylaw 7.1, these officers are to be elected by the Executive at its first meeting following its taking of office. Lunch meetings were held with the RO/RCO's of ICPET on February 2, and with those of IRC on February 3. As well, consultation meetings were held with the DG's of each institute on each visit day.

Next Executive meetings were held in Winnipeg on May 24 and Edmonton on May 25. The former IBD in Winnipeg has been hard hit with layoffs, affecting a substantial portion of the staff in Winnipeg and the entire group in Calgary. The Executive will provide as much support as it can for those facing an uncertain future. Needless to say, NRC in Winnipeg is not a happy place. Again, a lunch meeting was held with staff RO/RCO's and a consultation meeting with the Medical Devices Portfolio Manager.

At NINT in Edmonton, the only institute remaining at NRC, the Executive met with the staff RO/RCO's over lunch. A consultation meeting with the Executive Director and Director of Research was held in the afternoon.

The next Executive meetings are planned for Ottawa on July 12-13.

As NRC has many locations across the country, exec visits will normally occur on a 3-4 year cycle. However, if you feel a pressing need for the executive to visit your workplace sooner rather than later, please contact President Daryl Wong.

Information on the IBD Layoffs

On April 17, 2012, Vice President Roman Szumski visited the NRC facilities in Winnipeg to announce the elimination of three of four research groups in Winnipeg and Calgary as well as a significant number of support positions. The groups eliminated are the former IBD's Bioinformatics, Magnetic Resonance Technology, and Magnetic Resonance Research and Development groups. As a result, IBD's presence in Calgary is completely eliminated, and the only remaining group in Winnipeg is the Spectroscopy group, which lost two staff members as a result of the layoffs.

In total, 41 continuing and 16 term positions were eliminated. Of these, 20 were continuing RO/RCO members, and 4 were term RO/RCO members.

One RO/RCO member from the MR Technology group was transferred to work in the Wheat flagship, while 9 employees (5 RO/RCO's) from the MR Technology and MR R&D groups were transferred to work in the Printable Electronics flagship.

The reasons given by V.P. Szumski for these cuts were that MRI research has few Canadian industrial receptors, and that clinical studies of disease are now seen as more suited to the academic environment.

In addition to the layoffs, NRC also announced its intention to sell both of its buildings in Winnipeg. The staff remaining in Winnipeg will eventually work in leased premises at an as yet undecided location.

The MRI and neuroscience activities at the former IBD's Halifax location, IBD-Atlantic, were untouched by these layoffs.

Joint Consultative Committee (JCC) Report

The JCC meets quarterly to provide a forum for the frank exchange of information between management, RCEA and PIPSC, and to ensure that any issues, at a national level, are dealt with promptly. For more details, see the NRC Human Resource Manual, Annex 5.2C - Terms of Reference for Labour Management Consultation Committees.

At the March 15th meeting, NRC management presented a formal update on the NRC strategy and related management activities, all details of which have been by now distributed by staff by means of letters from HR and other management communications. Of particular concern and discussion was the evolution of LLMCC (labour relations) and COSH (safety and health) committees, which in the past were tied to NRC’s Institute/Branch/Program structure. NRC recognized that these structures need revision for the new NRC structure (in which staff connected to a division, portfolio or program may be distributed across a variety of locations). NRC has committed an update as soon as possible (and OSH, by April 1st). JCC also received formal notification from the Secretary General’s office of the new Communication Branch, and of the new Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector, which came into effect April 2 and become part of all NRC employees’ conditions of employment. NRC is preparing a feature story on Zone and email messages to all staff. NRC’s policy on use of social media also was presented, and a Zone article later was launched on April 2. On the union side, RCEA and PIPSC representatives raised and discussed issues relating to: several specific and unduly lengthy harassment investigations in progress; the situation relating to staff with PhDs in TO positions; anticipated staff challenges with NRC’s restructuring; concern towards how the Deficit Reduction Action Plan (DRAP) will be managed at NRC; requests that management not unnecessarily request medical notes from staff (which are ever-increasingly difficult to obtain); and concerns for term employees and the benefits they may or may not receive from a WFA package. Union representatives also shared concern about safety and health issues, and evolution of the local labour management committees.

For more details of this JCC meeting, please contact Mary Zborowski. However if you wish to pursue some of these issues or have others raised at JCC, contact Daryl Wong, the Group’s President, or any of the executive members. Please note that to bring one of your issues to JCC, we might request a short (1 or 2 page) discussion document which we can send to JCC in advance of the meeting. --- Mary Zborowski

Member representation

As presented in the article on JCC, above, both NRC management and Union representatives are concerned with the future of committees critical to staff safety and well-being. While occupational safety and health will be dealt with quickly for legal and liability reasons, the make-up of LLMCCs will be harder to sort. Related to this issue is how we, your executive team, can best communicate with you, the Members. In the past, with the I/B/P structure, it was relatively easy to identify institute or branch representatives, who liaised with the executive, represented you as delegates to our AGM, and helped us arrange local lunch meetings with Members on our visits around the country, lunch-and-learn sessions, and a few other mundane issues such as booking rooms for our local meetings. Please be advised that the executive is working hard to determine logical groupings of Members in the new NRC structure. This will take some time, as NRC is changing. Our only link to know *where* our Members are in the organization is NRC’s PID, is also changing, it seems almost daily. Some groupings will be logical: for example grouping a given city’s members together, but some will require more creative thinking, especially in the now diverse National Capital Region. Please be patient as we sort this out. However, if you wish to continue to be a contact in some way between the Members in your place of work and the union executive, contact Keith Yeung, who maintains the list of Member representatives. During all of this, remember that your Stewards serve all Members, regardless of their geographical location or position within NRC’s structure. ---- Mary Zborowski

Bits & Bytes

RO/RCO Group AGM is planned for Thursday, October 25 in Ottawa. Mark your calendars. More details will follow.

PIPSC AGM will be November 16-17, 2012 in St. John’s. The RO/RCO Group delegates (we are allowed five) are Daryl Wong, Daniel Durand, Mary Zborowski, Keith Yeung and Jeff Zidichouski. Observers are Pengfei Liu, Lawrence Mak and Paul Thorburn.

Email - PIPSC asks that you receive correspondence by email. There is a form. You can specify that you receive these messages at a home email address. The messages are very short as they generally do not contain any information, but direct you to a specific bit of the PIPSC web site.

Did you know? PIPSC has agreements with a number of companies in a program called ServicePlus, your member benefits program where you can take advantage of preferential rates and savings on a variety of products and services available exclusively to members. Rent a car from Avis, travel on VIA Rail, stay at a Delta Hotel - some examples of how you can save $. For more details, see

As always, the Executive Committee tries to keep all members of the RO/RCO Group informed, with varying degrees of success. Most recent information will be on the PIPSC web site, under groups - see

Quips and Quotes

To the optimist, the glass is half full.
To the pessimist, the glass is half empty.
To the engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

  1. Home is where you hang your @.
  2. The e-mail of the species is more deadly than the mail.
  3. A journey of a thousand sites begins with a single click.
  4. Speak softly and carry a mobile phone.
  5. Oh, what a tangled web site we weave when first we practice.
  6. The geek shall inherit the earth.
  7. Don't byte off more than you can view.
  8. What boots up must come down.
  9. Virtual reality is its own reward.
  10. Modulation in all things.
  11. Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach him to use the Net and he won't bother you for weeks.

Publish Date: 18-JUN-2012 02:43 PM
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