The employer began our meeting earlier this week chastising your negotiating team for the size of your bargaining package. They went on to tell us that the current collective agreement was a “mature” document and all that was needed was a little modification. Further, they were not anticipating such a detailed package. They then requested that we take another look at our package with a view to reducing the number of proposals.
Your bargaining team firmly believes that our bargaining package reflects the wishes of the members in our bargaining unit. It has been 5 long years since we were at the bargaining table. We have all worked diligently over the last 7 months to ensure that your input was reflected in this package. Your bargaining team stands behind this package and will not be bullied into reducing our package because the employer did not “anticipate” a detailed package.
We went into our meetings this week anticipating that we could start to deal with monetary proposals. In fact, we provided the employer, in advance of our meeting this week, with a list of information (eg. Payroll costs, annual leave useage, call-back and standby costs) we required to be able to discuss in depth our monetary proposals. The employer’s response to our request was that they did not bring with them the information we required. They advised us that Bill Ricketts would be gathering that information but could not provide us with any time frame as to when we might receive it.
Your bargaining team met with the employer for a total of one hour and fifteen minutes over the first two days. We met with them for one hour and 30 minutes on day 3. It seems that the employer is not interested in negotiating a fair collective agreement with your bargaining team. They seem more interested in building their case to put in front of an arbitrator down the road.
While we are very frustrated, your bargaining team will continue to try to achieve what we've been elected to do and that is negotiate a fair collective agreement. We have also put the employer on notice that we will not entertain the negotiation of concessions or rollbacks to our current terms and conditions of employment.
Our next meeting with the employer is scheduled for November 17-19 inclusive.
Brothers and sisters we thank you for your trust and understanding. We will continue to work on achieving a fair and equitable collective agreement on your behalf.
Your Negotiating Team.