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Exploratory talks begin with Treasury Board

As you are aware, your collective agreement with Treasury Board expired June 30, 2009. Much has transpired since the last time we were in bargaining, including a worldwide economic crash; the federal Expenditures Restraint Act (which prohibits total compensation increases in the public service beyond 1.5% per year, ending this year); and late in 2010, a new agreement (expiring in 2014) covering over 95,000 PSAC members involving a tradeoff between severance and an enhanced wage increase.
Yesterday, your Union met with representatives of the employer to explore the possibility of reaching an expedited agreement, covering the period since July 1, 2009 and going forward into the future. Attending on our behalf were CAW national staff representative Abe Rosner and elected representative Steve Dryden. The employer was represented by negotiator Cynthia Nash (assisted by Guy Lauzé), with Jennifer Taylor and Lynne Marttinen of Transport Canada also in attendance.
Though not a formal bargaining session, the talks focused broadly on what both sides needed to get a collective agreement in the short term, rather than initiate a months-long and potentially very difficult ‘normal’ process. Topics included possible improvements to travel status leave, bereavement leave, and family-related leave; overtime rates; problems related to retention of highly-skilled and experienced staff; and of course, the employer’s desire to see all unions sign on to the same severance proposal as PSAC. The atmosphere was positive and constructive, and a second meeting will be scheduled within the very near future.
We very much appreciate your patience in dealing with a complex labour relations situation at the federal level. Together, we were able to make significant gains in 2008 after years of effort, but the scene is much different today. Our commitment remains to work toward the best agreement possible and submit it for your approval.