I'd like to submit a proposal - how do I get started?
You can start by submitting your bargaining ideas as a bargaining proposal. The proposal forms are available either by clicking the button, or through a special bargaining bulletin that should be in your mailbox shortly. You can return the hard copy input form to your Local President or to the YEU Hall at 2285 2nd Avenue.
We encourage you to get involved - attend the Local bargaining meetings, talk with your coworkers, add your comments on the workplace changes you want to see and get the proposal to us by the deadline date of May 24.
What makes a good bargaining proposal?
Every round we receive bargaining proposals asking for things that are already provided for in the collective agreement, or represent things that people would “like” to have in their collective agreements. Please make sure your idea is not already included in the collective agreement. If there is language in the collective agreement that you want to improve on, explain why in your submission.
The strongest demands come out of demonstrated workplace needs such as:
- situations where we have filed a grievance and lost because of problems with the existing contract language;
- situations where normal requests are being unreasonably refused by management; and
- demands related to significant changes in workplace conditions, for example the introduction of new shift schedules or a change in jobs.
If you don’t have a copy of your contract you can view it anytime: click the linked button.
General topic areas are not limited to the following items and can include the removal of an existing article or what you think is missing from our agreement; for example, paid pandemic leave for testing or the Right to Disconnect. Below are some general topic areas to consider when thinking about Collective Agreement Improvements.
Diversity in the Workplace - A diverse workplace includes everyone, regardless of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital or family status, religion, age, language, culture, background, interests, views or other dimensions. It could also include the necessary supports for training and accommodating differences in the workplace.
Mental Health – Mental health, like physical health is critical to the wellbeing of individual workers and by extension to their families or dependents. Things like funding for mental health advocates, Employee Assistance Program improvements and ready access to other culturally appropriate supports could be considered here.
- Telework or Remote Work – Given the continually increasing reliance on technology, privacy and other protections for workers can be considered in this general topic. Those who work from home should be able to shut work off and disconnect electronically based on the work schedule.
Work Life Balance – This may include vacation leave improvements, cultural leaves and other provisions like schedule enhancements.
- Fair Wages- This includes shift premiums, community allowances, certifications, classification levels as well as general economic increases applied to all positions.
What will happen to my bargaining proposal?
Every member in good standing has the right to have their say.
This round of negotiations, we will be collecting all individual bargaining ideas that are submitted to YEU no later than May 24.
All timely bargaining proposals will then be forwarded to the appropriate Local for review. Each Local will hold a Local meeting(s) where members will discuss the ideas and proposals. Members in attendance will then vote to establish a priority list and submit it to YEU no later than June 17.
Please watch your Local event page for meeting dates and try to attend, so you can support and explain your submission and help to set your Local's list of priority proposals.
At these same Local meetings, members will elect their representatives to the bargaining conference. The same deadline of June the 17th will be applied for the submission of the names of the local representatives.
Late proposals or proposals that have not been reviewed by the local will not go forward.
The bargaining conference will be held August 10-13 in Whitehorse. At the bargaining conference, elected delegates will review the hundreds of proposals normally received over three short days.
That makes it extra important to make sure your proposal is clear and easy to understand for delegates who may not have experienced the same problem and will be considering your bargaining proposal.
Conference delegates will also elect the bargaining teams.
Who can attend the Bargaining Conference?
Additionally, the President and Local Vice-Presidents will attend. There will be up to 4 representatives from the Regional Women’s Committee in attendance, along with a number of other designated PSAC Regional Committee members in attendance, subject to Regulation 15 and PSAC approvals.
Conference delegates review all submitted proposals in order of priority as assigned by the Locals.
Delegates will debate each proposal's likelihood of success at the bargaining table, and select the proposals that will go forward to the negotiating table.
If you wish to nominate someone as a Local delegate to the Bargaining Conference, please click the button to access the online form. Hard copy forms are also available
Who negotiates on my behalf?
Delegates who have been selected by their Local to attend the Bargaining Conference will elect the bargaining teams. There are two teams – one is called a Pre-Bargaining Committee the other is the Monetary Team.
- The pre-bargaining team works on operational issues like scheduling, editorial changes and proposals that do not require increased financial costs.
- The monetary team deals with any unresolved pre-bargaining proposals as well as all other proposals that have a monetary implication.
What's it like to be on a Bargaining Team?
For some, the idea of joining a Bargaining Team is exciting and energizing. Being part of the process, helping determine the future of your workplace can be very rewarding. For others, the very idea is unimaginable; “what does it even mean? How on earth would I know what to do?!”
YEU has the highest percentage of total PSAC Bargaining Units; more contracts than any other component in the PSAC overall. You can be sure that on any given day, a YEU Local is bargaining somewhere in the Yukon.
Each bargaining unit is assigned an experienced negotiator by PSAC National. That negotiator meets with each team to finalize proposals. Training is also provided to all team members. Bargaining is not easy, but it’s incredibly empowering.
We asked a few recent Bargaining Team members to let us in on how they felt about the process. The quotes come from a few teams and a few different employers. While no two bargaining experiences are the same, there are certain universals that were reflected in the feedback we received.
We asked “were you intimidated?” Here’s what we heard:
“I loved the equal playing field!” and
“This was my second time at the table, I felt honored to be chosen by my peers once again and enjoyed the experience - I would definitely do this again.”
“It was like every one of you was standing behind us as we were at the bargaining table”
From another activist, being a member of the bargaining team meant a lot. In fact it provided “the most satisfaction I have experienced as a union member”
So think about it. Maybe this is where you can lend your voice to your union.
In the words of YEU President Steve Geick;
“Bargaining has been the most exciting, rewarding and frightening union activity in my 40 years of activism; do it!”
How do delegates and the bargaining committees decide what makes it to the Bargaining table?
Each round of negotiations involves a series of trade-offs; some excellent proposals will be advanced, and some excellent proposals will not make it to the final round. The difficult decisions made at each stage take into account likelihood of success, cost, and what may benefit the greatest number of members. Sometimes it's a critical item that may only impact a small group of members, but will do so profoundly.
Generally, bargaining team members focus on supporting the decisions made at the bargaining conference. Each round of bargaining offers different challenges, and the group must weigh each proposal against the desired outcome and what happens during the course of face to face negotiations.
If a round of bargaining is likely to be very focused on wage and benefit increases, the team may decide (for example) to forego pushing for other costly gains that might diminish the likelihood of the employer accepting desired wage increases.
When does bargaining begin?
Once your elected teams are in place, they will meet with the PSAC negotiator prior to the start of negotiations to put the finishing touches to a final bargaining package.
Normally, negotiations start after notice to bargain is served, usually within three to four months of the expiry of the current collective agreement. That means later this fall as the contract expires December 31.
What happens when the current contract expires before a new one is ratified?
The terms and conditions of the expiring contract remain in effect through the negotiating process until a new contract is ratified.