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Health Services (SH) Group


March 2012


Representative Title Position E-Mail
Joanne Bouchard President NU-Health E-mail
René Campbell Vice-President PH E-mail
Bruno Gagnon Secretary PS E-mail
Terry Hupman Treasurer DE E-mail
Stephanie Hatchard MAL SW E-mail
Lynn Blackwood MAL ND E-mail
Simone Gardezy MAL NU other departments E-mail
Maurice Aubé MAL OP E-mail
Gerry Saunders MAL NU-CSC E-mail
Jeff Whitehead MAL MD E-mail
Bhim Bathia MAL VM E-mail
Eric Fleurent MAL NU-VAC E-mail
Lynn Olson MAL NU-EMA E-mail
Gabriel Drouin MALA NU-CSC E-mail
Ginette Tardif MALA NU-Health E-mail

**MAL = Member-at-Large

***MALA = Member-at-Large Appointee

SH Bargaining Team
Ginette Tardif, President NU-Health Ontario
Eric Fleurent NU-VAC Quebec
Pat Sears NU-CSC Prairies
Colin Muise NU-DND Atlantic
Ruth Walden NU-EMA NCR
Jeff Whitehead MD-DND NCR
Stephanie Hatchard SW-CSC Ontario
Jerome Fransblow PS-CSC BC


Your Bargaining Team reached a tentative agreement with the employer on Thursday, February 23, 2012. This round of bargaining was initiated under a very different context, in that we knew we could only reach a negotiated settlement if the employer's severance pay deal was included in the deal. Another significant challenge was under the Expenditure Restraint Act (C-10), where until 2013, the Treasury Board does not transfer any new money to departments to cover any salary increases to their employees. As a result, any salary increases negotiated at the table must be funded from the respective departmental budget. It is important to note that all federal departments are currently under pressure to find spending cuts and to rationalize expenses.

In addition, it must be further noted that during the last round of bargaining, C-10 precluded us from addressing any monetary issues and this made our task even greater. The SH Group is composed of nine different professions, all with very different needs and even within one profession, the needs of our members can vary significantly. The team was very surprised to learn we not only had to deal with the severance pay issue, but we had to also manage several employer demands that ultimately would have resulted in a very negative impact on our members.

As previously reported, we had three days of face to face bargaining in October 2011 and an additional three days in November 2011. During these six days while we had made significant progress, a number of important items were still outstanding:

  • The employer demands to extend the hours of work for non-shift nurses from the current 07:00 to 18:00 to 07:00 to 22:00.
  • Reducing the notice to change a shift from 72 to 48 hours.
  • Introducing a cap on call back to only one guaranteed payment per 8 hours and eliminating a minimum payment each time employees are called back.
  • Introducing a cap on vacation carry over (currently there is no cap).

During the bargaining process, it became very clear the employer would only receive a monetary mandate to address retention and or recruitment issues.

National Rates of Pay

The employer was not prepared to discuss during this round of bargaining, the elimination or reduction of regional rates of pay. The employer could not get a mandate for this round of bargaining because of the complexity involved in addressing this issue.

Internal Relativity and Retention/Recruitment

While the team made proposals to address internal relativity for the OP, the SW, the VM and the PS, these attempts were not successful.

When we tried to address the internal relativity of OP-1 salary with Physiotherapist Assistants at DND, we were told that this was not a real issue as there is not a problem in recruiting new employees and further, they are able to retain their current physiotherapists.

We received a similar answer when trying to address the relativity of SW-01 and 02 with WP4 or the SW pay scale compression. The employer had the same position regarding the VM salary relativity with CFIA-VM.

The only issue that could be addressed during this round of negotiations had to be linked to retention and recruitment. The employer only considers there is a retention problem when they have more employees leaving the public service than the number of employees being hired. In the opinion of the employer, there no retention problem for OP, SW, PS, VM, PH, DE and most nurses. It also became clear that the departments that employ these classifications do not support extra compensation for these employees.

With this tentative agreement, we were able to address some significant outstanding issues for our members:

  • Roll-in of the TA (Appendix C) for MD and a market adjustment to their rates of pay.
  • A new allowance for nurse practitioner.
  • NU-CHN at CSC will now be entitled to the allowance (Appendix L) that previously was only for NU-HOS.
  • The allowance for the retention of NU CHN in remote or isolated communities is increased by $1,000 (Appendix F).
  • The NU-EMA will continue to be paid as PM-04 and PM-05, and the parties have agreed to reopen the collective agreement when the complaint in front of the Human Rights Tribunal is resolved. However, the NU-EMA will receive an economic increase on October 1, 2011, 2012 and 2013.
  • Employees will continue to accumulate severance pay until the date of the signing of the collective agreement.
  • The employer withdrew their proposal on hours of work, notice of shift changes, call back and vacation cap.

The employer will implement the provisions of the collective agreement within 90 days of signing.

The Team Recommends Ratification of this Tentative Agreement to the Members

The Team believes this is the best tentative agreement that could be obtained at the bargaining table. The Team debated if going to binding arbitration would be more beneficial. It is important to note that any outstanding issues would be submitted to a third party and the original pay proposal from the employer did not include any of the adjustments offered in this tentative agreement. Further, there is no guarantee that what would be awarded by a third party is what we currently have obtained in this tentative agreement. In particular, the Team was concerned about the employer's demands on hours of work, overtime, call back, etc. While not all members of our group are getting extra money this round, the current tentative agreement does provide extra compensation for a large number of our members.

While we did not solve all of our problems, we did make steps in the right direction. Not only did we get some improvements to our collective agreement, just as importantly, we did not have to make any concessions on the current working conditions for members of the SH Group.

Your SH Bargaining Team

The SH Group Executive would like to take this opportunity to thank the members of the bargaining team, our negotiator, and the research team for all of their work in the last year in trying to improve our Collective Agreement. The SH Group Executive discussed this tentative agreement on Saturday, March 10 and recommends to members to vote in favour. Recognizing the challenges still ahead for our group, the SH Group Executive will start planning a strategy for the next round of bargaining after the signing of this Collective Agreement.

Joanne Bouchard, President

Publish Date: 13-MAR-2012 09:20 AM
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