Author: Nielene Chand

CRA Bargaining: PSAC and UTE table wage proposals; Agency fails to respond to member concerns

December 7, 2018

The PSAC/UTE bargaining team met with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) on December 3-6 to continue negotiations for a new collective agreement. While there was considerable discussion on several matters of concern to our members, Agency representatives did not respond with meaningful counterproposals. 

Union wage proposal

The PSAC/UTE wage proposal aims to: (1) Achieve fair annual wage increases that exceed current inflationary trends; and (2) Introduce a market adjustment that would close the gap between CRA workers and their former co-workers at the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

The Canada Customs and Revenue Agency (CCRA) was a government agency that was split into the CRA and CBSA in December 2003. Over time, this led to vastly divergent pay for workers doing similar work in each organization. PSAC/UTE believes CRA workers deserve to be compensated fairly. Agency representatives committed to providing a response to the union wage proposal at the next bargaining session in January. 

Key concerns still not addressed 

The PSAC/UTE bargaining team also reiterated previously tabled priorities for this round of bargaining: 

  • Increased work-life balance, with an emphasis on improved access to leave. 
  • Improved conditions for call centre workers, including scheduling rights and better protections. 
  • Protections against excessive term employment, along with more permanency and job security. 
  • Protections against the expansion of shift work, as well as new rights for employees scheduled to work evenings. 
  • Union rights in the workplace, consistent with what other federal employers have agreed to.  

While there was some constructive discussion around call centres and family-related leave, the CRA ultimately provided little of substance in response to the bargaining team’s various proposals. The only progress made during this session pertained to some ‘housekeeping’ matters. 

The bargaining team is scheduled to return to the table the week of January 21. PSAC and UTE are calling on the CRA to return to the table in January ready to address these key concerns for our members.  

Be sure to go to ute-sei.org and psacunion.ca for more information and to subscribe for regular updates. Should you have any questions, please contact your UTE Local President. 

PSAC/UTE members at the Canada Revenue Agency 
My Contract – My Voice

Update on Bargaining – National Day of Mobilization

November 22, 2018

(Video also available)

Hello,

Today, I would like to give you an update on a topic that is particularly close to your heart, namely your contract, your collective agreement!

Our bargaining team will resume talks with CRA’s team from December 3rd to 6th, 2018.

As you can imagine from our latest messages, negotiations are not going as quickly and smoothly as we would like. In fact, negotiations are hardly making any progress! This situation is totally unacceptable!

This is why on Tuesday, November 27, we are organizing a National Day of Mobilization to increase pressure on the CRA and Treasury Board. Our goal is to grab the attention of the employer as well as the public and the media as much as possible.

Locals will be conducting a variety of mobilization activities and it is essential that you participate in these activities on a massive scale to send a clear message to the employer.

The CRA AND Treasury Board need to feel that our members are behind their bargaining team and want to see movement at the table as soon as possible to get a new contract.

We must all exert more pressure and express how sick we are with this situation.

Enough is enough!

We will certainly not wait 4 years before getting a new contract.
Sisters and Brothers, it’s time to get involved!
Help us help you!
Strength in unity!

Let’s move forward together!

Thank you.

Marc Brière
National President

CRA Bargaining: PSAC and UTE push for job security and new protections

October 26, 2018

The PSAC/UTE bargaining team met with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) on October 23-25 to continue negotiations for a new collective agreement. While the team raised a number of key issues like job security, scheduling protections, and improving working conditions in call centres, the employer did not move to resolve them.

Job Security

The team tabled proposals concerning the Workforce Adjustment Appendix (WFA) in our collective agreement. Our WFA proposals would enhance job and income security for employees, and would ensure greater options for any employees that are declared surplus in the future. The team also proposed changes that would minimize favouritism and provide for recognition of employees’ years of service with the Agency. 

Hours of Work

Presently, CRA employees fill thousands of evening shifts, with new requests for evening and/or weekend work being submitted to the Union by the Agency on a monthly basis. Moreover, the employer indicated in bargaining that as a result of service renewal, they are interested in increasing evening shifts. In response, the bargaining team made it clear to management that the collective agreement must include new protections around the scheduling and assigning of hours of work.

Call Centres

The team had considerable discussion concerning the terrible working conditions in CRA call centres across the country, and the need for new rights for those working in those centres.

The bargaining team is scheduled to return to the table the first week of December. PSAC and UTE are calling on the CRA to return to the table in December ready to address these key issues.

Be sure to go to ute-sei.org and psacunion.ca for more information and to subscribe for regular updates. Should you have any questions, please contact your UTE Local President.

PSAC/UTE members at Canada Revenue Agency 

My Contract – My Voice

Victory: PSAC wins major improvements to Public Service Dental Plan

October 2, 2018

After lengthy negotiations and an arbitration process, PSAC has won a major victory for the Public Service Dental Care Plan, which will result in substantial improvements for your coverage.

“The government dragged this process out by trying to get us to accept reduced coverage for our members,” said Chris Aylward, National President of the Public Service Alliance of Canada. “But our position has always been that our members deserve better, and I’m very pleased that the arbitration panel agreed with us.”

The major highlight is a 47% increase to the annual maximum for routine and major services. The current maximum of $1,700 per year will gradually increase to $2,500 per year as follows:

  • $2,000 per year starting on January 1, 2019;
  • $2,250 per year starting on January 1, 2020; and
  • $2,500 per year starting on January 1, 2021.

Additionally, as of January 1, 2019, the following changes will be made:

  • Dental implants will be covered. Implants had been partially covered by deeming them to be another procedure (i.e. bridge or denture). This would often lead to gaps in (or problems with) coverage. They are now covered in their own right.
  • Coverage for replacement fillings for children will be possible 12 months after the initial filling was done (instead of 24).
  • Congenitally missing teeth will be covered until age 21 (up from 19).
  • Coverage during suspensions is improved.
  • An allowable break in service to become eligible for the plan is extended from 5 to 7 days. Ability to have coverage for extra scaling approved retroactively. Currently, this may only be approved going forward.

The full text of the new dental plan will be posted online in the near future.

The government made a large number of proposals to the arbitration panel that sought to weaken the dental plan. Very few of them were accepted and the ones that were accepted are small and have a very minor impact on plan members. These are:

  • Charges for oral hygiene instructions will now be limited to once per lifetime per adult (and remain once per year for children).
  • Coverage is eliminated for minor issues such as:
    • The assistance of a second oral surgeon.
    • Dental professional peer consultation.
    • Trauma control if done at the same time as treatment for caries or pain control.
    • Enlargement of the canal or pulp chamber as a part of dental treatment separate from doing a root canal.

Any other proposals that are not mentioned above will remain status quo without change.

CRA bargaining: Little progress to date

September 14, 2018

Our Bargaining Team reiterated the key concerns of members that need to be addressed in this round of negotiations.

Our PSAC/UTE Bargaining Team met with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) on September 11-13 to continue negotiations for a new collective agreement. While some matters were resolved with respect to leave without pay and leave for staffing processes, the CRA spent considerable time focusing on employer proposals.

We again pointed out to the Agency that we are interested in improvements for PSAC/UTE members at CRA, and will not take steps backwards. With respect to our key issues, we again reiterated that the following matters need to be resolved:

  1. Precarious work: CRA has one of the worst track records in the public service when it comes to term and student employment.
  2. Hours of work: Issues have arisen around hours of work, with employees being increasingly scheduled for evening work.
  3. Call centres: Many problems that require resolving within call centres.
  4. Work-life balance: Staffing issues and increased work-life balance.

A copy of our proposals and those of the employer can be found at psacafpc.ca/cra.

We will be tabling wage proposals at a future date, once we have had the opportunity to fully discuss our non-economic proposals and have employer payroll data. We are scheduled to resume negotiations October 23rd. We’ll be sure to provide updates as we progress.

As always, membership solidarity and support are the key to us achieving a fair contract. Together, we can make CRA a better place to work.

Be sure to go to psacunion.ca or www.ute-sei.org for more information and to subscribe for regular updates. Also, should you have any questions please contact your UTE Local President.

PSAC/UTE members at Canada Revenue Agency 

My Contract – My Voice

CAS Can Do It – The campaign continues

August 22, 2018

The CAS Can Do It Campaign is underway across the country.  The goal is to have CRA pay its employees directly from the CAS system, rather than the failed Phoenix pay system.  With less than a month to go, we are impressed with the number of cards and hard work put in by our local representatives and support of our members.  We are asking you to get as many cards as you can signed at Labour Day functions and any other events where your local is present, including Membership Appreciation Events. 

Some Locals have had nearly 100% of their cards signed, and that is great.  Extra cards can be signed by family members, as they are affected by the failed Phoenix pay system as well.  If you have not signed a card, or wish to take some home, please see your local steward or executive member. 

In Solidarity,

Jamie vanSydenborgh
Regional Vice-President, Southwestern Ontario
Chair, Political Action Committee
UTE-SEI