President, Misty Hughes-Newman,TEAM 2007 Year End Message
President, Misty Hughes-Newman,TEAM 2007 Year End Message December 21st 2007
To all TEAM members
As we quickly approach the end of 2007, I want to recap TEAM’s year. The lines of communication were wide open this year as we kept you, the members; informed on every aspect of the contract negotiations with MTS. Your participation, support and feedback were unprecedented and it is great to have the membership so involved. With many roadblocks overcome and many more yet to be dealt with, the support of the members allows TEAM to forge ahead. Some of the key highlights of the 2007 are:
TEAM strengthens the Communications Action Network (CAN)
2007 saw continued growth in our membership’s Communications Action Network (CAN). Membership turnout was unprecedented throughout the year at informational meetings utilizing member Communication Action Representatives (CARs) to actively engage our members and increase the flow of communication from the members to the bargaining committee and from the bargaining committee to the members. At this point, 80% of our members have CARs to disseminate information.
2007 Collective Agreement Negotiations has many firsts
This round of bargaining has been markedly different from anything that has gone before; not least is the Company's tabling of something that does not (and will not) form part of a new Collective Agreement, then the rush to get into Conciliation, then Mediation, and then to issue a notice to terminate our Collective Agreement. From our members we have received unprecedented support through participation in committees, communications, workplace activities, meetings, and of course the strong "No" vote on the Company's last offer. Communication Action Network representatives and members have played a significant part in the efficient distribution of information and the growing member involvement. Another first for TEAM was the need to file an Unfair Labour Complaint against MTS for bargaining in bad faith. A recent development on this front is the addition of both CEP and IBEW to the complaint as they are parties to the pension lawsuit, and the introduction of a DC will also impact their members. This recognition by the Labour Board strengthens the case against MTS, and a successful Unfair Labour Complaint may well remove one of the biggest roadblocks to achieving a new Collective Agreement.
Court Dates Pushed to 2008 Due to MTS’S Failure to Provide Actuary’s Expert Report in Pension Lawsuit
This has been a very active year in the pension lawsuit. The Manitoba Court of Appeal heard the company’s appeal over the denial of the summary judgment motion at the Court of Queens Bench in 2006 by Justice Kennedy. The Appeals Court unanimously denied the appeal and confirmed Justice Kennedy got it right and our case is destined for trial. This is a great ruling for us and bodes well for the future outcome of the lawsuit. With their decision the Court of Appeal reaffirmed that the pension lawsuit has merit.
Furthermore, not withstanding MTS’s commitment to provide their Expert Report by August 31, 2007, then November 9, 2007, then November 16, 2007, we have not received the expert report to date. Our Lawyers and MTS’s lawyers went before the trial judge, Justice Deborah J. McCawley on November 14, 2007 and she determined that their was not enough time (10 Weeks) staring in mid December to complete the trial in by the end of January 2008. She is willing to accommodate the start of the trial in January 2008 by hearing the evidence of Harry Restall and Ken Beatty. She is also prepared to hear motions and opening statements for our case in January. The remainder of the case however would be heard in September to November 2008. On November 16, 2007 there was a case management conference held with Chief Justice Marc Monnin and a full preemptory schedule was set out. The schedule included dates for motions, future case management conferences, an agreed to book of documents to be provided to the courts, opening statements and a new date for MTS to provide its expert report, that being January 7, 2008. As part of the motions to be heard over the next few months are motions for our cost to defend the summary judgment motion, summary judgment appeal, and throw away cost incurred because we were not able to proceed with the trial in November as scheduled due to the lack of the expert report MTS was to provide.
As you can see this is quite an aggressive schedule, not withstanding adjournment and many things will need to be attended to and accomplished, assuming there is no settlement.
TEAM Renews Labour Relations Retention Contract with Law Firm
The TEAM office renews contract for TEAM and its members, with D’Arcy & Deacon LLP barristers & solicitors.
I wish you the very best throughout the holiday season and may you and yours have a peaceful and rewarding year in 2008.
The TEAM office will be closed from December 24, 2007 to January 2, 2008 to allow staff to use up some holiday days. If anyone requires information during that time please notify an executive board member or leave a message at the TEAM office at 984-9470. The office will reopen January 2, 2008.