We're back to the table July 19th with a conciliator and the employer.
Negotiating a strong collective agreement requires a clear vision, determination, and the ability to keep pace even when the going is rough. This round of bargaining with the government of Yukon has all the markings of a marathon but we are going strong, ready to meet the next challenge.
Your bargaining team consists of workers elected by your peers from the participants at last year's Bargaining Conference. The two elected teams have represented your interests in the initial non-monetary discussions, and again at the table for the monetary bargaining discussions.
PSAC officially filed for conciliation when our talks stalled out in late spring - the first time we have done so in over 50 years of contract negotiations with the Yukon government. We wanted bargaining to progress, but could not move forward with the employer at that time. YG bargaining is always difficult but we have never, in our history, had to enlist the aid of the Yukon Public Service Labour Relations Board to reach a deal with this employer.
Your bargaining team will meet with the board appointed mediator and the employer's team next week, and we are ready. They've heard from workers and they know what matters to you. With your support, they will do everything possible to hold the line to preserve your rights, hard-won thanks to the efforts of many previous bargaining teams and their dedication to upholding the collective bargaining process. Below are just a few of the items the team is holding out for at the bargaining table.
Send your bargaining team a message of support right now using this online form.
What is your Bargaining Team fighting for?
The employer wants your severance pay. In fact, they're trying to use severance as a bargaining chip against a negotiated pay increase; if we agree to get rid of severance, they've offered a princely .8% bump to your increase in the first year. That will give you a net benefit of the square root of no *$# way, and we're not taking it.
They want to make sure no new employees will have any severance provisions - new colleagues won't have the same rights you do, and we don't believe in two-tiered workplaces. Severance pay is part of your negotiated wage package - eliminating that provision is a wage claw back and we don't do concession bargaining.
The employer is offering paltry wage increases. Your team is holding fast for a wage increase that's fair and will help to keep pace with skyrocketing inflation.
We haven't seen the CPI this high since 1973, and a 2% pay raise isn't going to make much difference against inflation of 7.2% and more. You are doing everything you can to stretch your dollars, but without a decent pay increase, you'll be losing ground. We're fighting for your ability to pay your bills and keep food on the table.
The employer wants to cap your ability to accrue comp leave in lieu of overtime pay. Your bargaining team knows time off is critical for mental health and well-being, and they are fighting to protect this provision; your extra time on the job should be restored to you when you're able to take leave.
For too many YG workers, low staffing levels mean that overtime is a fact of life. Many of you aren't given much choice either; refusing overtime shifts is often not an option, whether overtly stated by management or a reality of the needs of the job. Your commitment to the job and those you serve means you'll work the overtime to make sure important work doesn't grind to a halt.
Compensatory leave in lieu of overtime payout is one negotiated benefit that helps exhausted workers maintain work-life balance. When a worker is called upon to work overtime, knowing the extra hours are being banked for time off can be a light at the end of the tunnel. And while it's true that many workers have had vacation denied due to operational requirements (critical staffing levels), protecting the ability to choose banked time off is a priority in this round.
YG is trying to restrict your ability to get your personal time back in the form of comp leave. They've offered an arbitrary annual maximum accrual limit, and once you've reached that cap, you'll be paid out in taxable wages. And even if you use some of those banked hours (trading them back for time away from work), any further overtime will be paid out in wages - taxable, of course. Once you've maxed out the comp hours, you can't refill that leave bank until the next year. We don't bargain concessions, and this is a big one.
What can you do?
- Send your bargaining team a message of support right now using this online form.
Send us a photo of you and your co-workers holding a sign that reads WE SUPPORT OUR BARGAINING TEAM! We'll share it with the team.
- Sign up for email updates - talk with your colleagues and be ready for whatever comes next.
- Most importantly - attend any bargaining update meetings your Local or YEU has planned for the next couple of months. Sign up for email updates - talk with your colleagues and be ready for whatever comes next.