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Bargaining Bulletin No. 5

Fourth week of bargaining – February 7-10, Winnipeg

Much ground was covered from Monday morning to Thursday noon, including responses to proposals from previous sessions, and some new topics:

  • Seniority bids: Initial discussions centred on the problem of deferrals in short-staffed units/specialties; the ‘50% rule’ (the sharing of available training seats between seniority bidders and new trainees); how the company deploys controllers within a facility; the restrictions on ‘transfer down’ bids; the usefulness of knowledge tests; eligibility criteria and whether existing penalties should be changed, clarified, or made more uniform; and a review of the ‘internal seniority bid’ process which was instituted on a trial basis in 2007. Talks on these and related topics will continue in the coming session.
  • Hours of work: The committee struck last time gave its initial report, outlining a variety of new shift cycle patterns which they had analyzed, with particular attention to the number of weekend rest days and total days of work per year produced by each option. Both parties thought the committee had done an excellent job, and it will continue its work to determine the viability of the various options. In addition to innovative schedules, talks continued about mutual interests surrounding short notice shift changes, longer advance notice of schedules, clarifying the 10-hour rule and exceptions, problems in ‘day for day’ shift exchanges with oneself, the length of time to transition to new schedules during re-optimizations, the experience with ‘weekend worker’ trials, the ‘0529’ rule, the amendment of shift cycles during training, and more. There were also continuing discussions about the work week of non-operating employees.
  • Other topics: The union reviewed its concerns about proficiency and currency as raised in the previous round (2009) which remain unresolved. A detailed joint presentation was made about the particular housing problems facing present and future Fort McMurray controllers. Responses and updates were provided on concerns raised in earlier talks, including: chronically understaffed units; refresher training; the potential impact of technological change; parking problems at some towers; looking for ‘green’ options with respect to production of the collective agreement; and care and nurturing leave.

Most areas of interest have now been canvassed at least on an initial basis. The next bargaining session is scheduled for the week of March 7 in Ottawa. We appreciate everyone’s patience and support, and look forward to continuing productive discussions at that time.