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The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada > News & Events > Communications Magazine > Vol. 36, No. 4, Autumn 2010 > The Expedited Bargaining Saga
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The Expedited Bargaining Saga

"This is about concession bargaining and, if we do it, we will open the door to more concessions that will affect the public service of the future."
-Gary Corbett, PIPSC President

AV Group

AV Bargaining Team (left to right): John Rankin, Gerry Hunder, Ray Paquette, Vice-President Debi Daviau, Mike Minckler, Yvon Brodeur, Sue Ramsay and David Calvert (Negotiator PIPSC).

RE Group

RE Bargaining Team (left to right): Thomas Landry, Peter Hoyt, Harold Martel, Émilie Gagné (Research Officer PIPSC), Louis-Simon Lussier, Denise Doherty-Delorme (Negotiator PIPSC), Group Chair Humayoun Akhtar, Lorraine Gadoury, Christine Barrass and Matt MacLeod.

SH Group

SH Bargaining Team (left to right): Kalapi Roy (Research Officer PIPSC), Joanne Bouchard, Maurice Aubé, Group Chair Shirley Friesen, Lyne Morin (negotiator PIPSC), Ginette Tardif, Gabriel Drouin and René Campbell.

NR Group

NR Bargaining Team (left to right): Pierre G. Richard, Randy Dhar, David Young, Al Arseneault, Michael Urminsky (Negotiator PIPSC), Group Chair Tim Kirkby, Yves Cousineau and Hector Ewing

CS Group

CS Bargaining Team (left to right): Marcel Journeay, Dee Farough, Deborah Kruz, Tawfik Said (Research Officer PIPSC), André Lortie (Negotiator PIPSC), Guy Abel, Pierre Touchette, Deborah Butler, Robert Scott, Brian Thompson, Group Chair Luc Carrière and Robert Tellier.

SP Group

SP Bargaining Team (left to right): Steven Tupper, Lisa Kelly, Enzo Barresi, David Johnston, Chris Roberts (Research Officer PIPSC), Mariette Kulin, Thomas Landry, Jamie Dunn (Negotiator PIPSC) and Scott Edwards.

In mid-September, a phone call unexpectedly brought the Institute Treasury Board Groups (AV, RE, SP, SH, CS, NR) back into full collective bargaining mode. Earlier in the month, rumours had been circulating that the five bargaining units of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) had entered into a round of secret negotiations with Treasury Board.

PIPSC President Gary Corbett was approached by Treasury Board officials to explore the possibility of “expedited bargaining". This was a first: Treasury Board approaching the bargaining agent before the expiry of collective agreements. TB presented the request as a means of providing the government with “economic certainty” in the years ahead.

At a meeting on September 22, the six Treasury Board groups agreed to pursue this option. Preparations hastily commenced on getting ready to bargain. Each bargaining team met separately to define priorities for the group-specific bargaining tables, followed by an all-groups plenary to define the general approach and to reach a consensus on the macro demands. One representative from each group was designated to participate at the macro-table with PIPSC negotiators.

As the groups prepared for bargaining, details of the PSAC tentative agreement were revealed. PIPSC bargaining teams were alarmed that the PSAC agreement sacrificed severance to supposedly avoid layoffs.

In all likelihood, PIPSC would be offered the same deal as the PSAC. However, PIPSC members were not willing to consider concessions. Surrendering severance pay would mean employees would have to sign contracts that would represent a step backwards in terms of their compensation and compromise the government’s future ability to attract and retain the best and brightest. Asking PIPSC members to relinquish their right to severance pay would place them in an untenable and conflicted position. The groups had already made a number of concessions by accepting to enter the expedited process (i.e. reduced bargaining team, reduced number of demands and limited time to develop demands and survey members). Lastly, accepting to negotiate outside normal bargaining terms would create a precedent. Consequently, the Institute leadership and group representatives unanimously decided not to accept the government’s invitation to participate in an expedited bargaining process.

The Institute has a long history of bargaining in good faith with the government of Canada. PIPSC members are highly-qualified professionals who have always sought cooperation with their employer to resolve workplace issues. However, the government’s position on severance is a major concession which Institute members were not prepared to discuss.

Normal collective negotiations are scheduled to resume as contracts expire over the next months. Institute representatives look forward to returning to the bargaining table in good faith according to that schedule.

Press Conference

At a press conference held on October 26, PIPSC President Gary Corbett announced that six Groups (AV, CS, SP, NR, RE, SH) had unanimously decided to halt participation in exploratory expedited bargaining with the Treasury Board of Canada. In front, Vice-President Debi Daviau, President Gary Corbett and Walter Belyea, Chief Negotiations Officer. Behind (from left to right) Thomas Landry (SP); Humayoun Akhtar (RE). Shirley Friesen (SH), Luc Carrière (CS), Ray Paquette (AV) and Tim Kirkby (NR).

Contract Expiry Dates

RE September 30th, 2010

CS December 21st, 2010

AV June 21st, 2011

NR September 30th, 2011

SH September 30th, 2011

SP September 30th, 2011