On Wednesday, December 1, CATCA CAW Local 5454 filed its legal notice to bargain, and talks began with the NAV Canada team at the Four Points hotel in Halifax.
Discussions began with opening remarks by Richard Dixon, Vice-President of Human Resources, who focused on the culture of problem-solving (rather than confrontation) which has been strengthened over recent years. He expressed satisfaction at the early resolution of bargaining in 2009, before expiry of the collective agreement and without any third party assistance, and the fact that both sides had set a schedule of talks to try to match that achievement this time.
On the Union’s behalf, Greg Myles also underlined the value of collaborative problem-solving, which has meant that most issues are now resolved at the local level. He spoke with pride of the professionalism and dedication to safety of Canadian controllers, their embrace of new technology, and their contribution to NAV Canada’s bottom line and success. Turning to the economy, Greg noted that the transport sectors had rebounded faster than expected. He spoke also of the increasing importance to Union members of work/life balance issues besides the need to share in the fruits of enhanced productivity.
Both sides then exchanged and explained documents (CATCA) (NAV Canada) outlining the main themes and concerns they wish to address in this round of bargaining. Building on the successful method followed in the 2005 and 2009 rounds, groups were formed for “brainstorming” aimed at putting forward as many options for solution as possible. Issues covered in these initial discussions were primarily “non-monetary”, beginning with a variety of staffing issues (National Bid, Deployment, distribution of vacancies between seniority bidders and ab-initios, Penalties, Deferrals, Rehires, Understaffed Units). As we did previously, ideas are freely shared without rushing to try to reach agreement (or disagreement) at this first stage.
The next round of meetings will take place in Vancouver, from January 10-14 inclusive. We take this opportunity to wish all members and their families the very best of a happy and safe holiday season!