Negotiations Update - Response to Kelvin Shepherd's Email June 7th 2013

To:             All TEAM-IFPTE Local 161 Members
From:        TEAM Office
Date:         June 7, 2013
Re:            Negotiations Update - Response to Kelvin Shepherd's Email

We were taken aback yesterday by MTS President Kelvin Shepherd’s erroneous account of our position at the negotiating table.

We agree with Mr. Shepherd that “it is important that you know the facts” and can accept that each side will place its own spin on them.  What we cannot accept is that Mr. Shepherd did not present the complete picture and that MTS did not honour the agreement that communicating bargaining positions would only occur after TEAM had received communications on such positions and had a chance to respond to MTS.  The email from Mr. Shepherd was sent to our Chief Negotiator (who was on his way to an arbitration preparation meeting with legal counsel and a member) just nine minutes before it was emailed to the general membership.

After receiving MTS’ latest position on Wednesday afternoon, our Negotiating Committee indicated that it would consult with its Bargaining Committee, Executive Director and its members. Dates for further negotiations were agreed.  By its very nature, MTS’ either/or proposition needs careful consideration by your Bargaining and Negotiating Committees to determine a counter offer. Let us be very clear, both positions outlined in Mr. Shepherd’s email are not offers to the members. They are options to be considered by our Negotiating Committee. It appears that putting this information to employees without proper explanation is an attempt to pit members against each other.

The resulting flurry of emails and calls, the vast majority expressing anger at this tactic, delayed our update to the membership.

We disagree with Mr. Shepherd’s comment that “we have not been able to make significant progress”.  We have seen significant movement from both MTS and TEAM on pay; we have moved from being 12% apart to being only 4% apart.

Proposals also need to be considered in the context of the bargaining process, where it is protocol that at the beginning, all matters to be discussed are put before the other party and some proposals are withdrawn in return for progress on others. Mr. Shepherd did not provide you with the full details of TEAM’s offer.  He left out several important proposals which you asked us to bring forward on your behalf such as options to provide vision care, compressed work week and Criteria for Appendix D.  MTS has rejected all of our monetary and most of our non-monetary proposals

To imply that a 1% increase in VPP is the same as a 1% increase on base pay is disingenuous. MTS’ characterization of TEAM’s proposal to convert VPP to base pay is a year over year recurrence is misleading.  TEAM proposed a one-time cost neutral increase in 2014.  Compared to base pay, VPP has much less value, it is not pensionable and due to its uncertain nature does not carry the same weight as base pay when applying to mortgage or loan brokers.  

We want to share in MTS’ success; we are its key drivers, but given the recent email to members implying that this year’s VPP may be in jeopardy, VPP is not a consistent or predictable source of income.  We also want fairness in the VPP.  We all see the injustice of a 5% difference in the VPP for 301-305 and 306-308. Overwhelmingly, members want to be treated fairly and have wage increases that take inflation into account, protect the value of MTS jobs and are competitive enough to attract top talent needed to operate in a more innovative and efficient manner.

With your support we can and will do better than this.

Pay Adjustments and Inflation

   2010 to 2012



MTS Allstream (CEP)


Winnipeg CPI


Manitoba CPI


SaskTel (CEP)


Canada CPI


Negotiated wage adjustments across Canada:
    Private Sector   
    Federal Jurisdiction
    Information Sector



Pierre Blouin, CEO:
     Base pay only       
     Total Compensation



Wayne Demkey, CFO:
     Base pay only
     Total Compensation



Kelvin Shepherd, President MTS:
     Base pay only
     Total Compensation



   A spreadsheet of all Non-Executive Officers compensation is available here.

   2010 to 2014

MTS Allstream (IBEW)


   2010 to 2015

MTS Allstream (CAW)



Approx. 12%

Note: Collective Agreements are negotiated at varying times of the year and each has its unique nuances.  The figures shown above are the headline increases for the specified time period.

TEAM-IFPTE Local 161
204-984-9470 or 1-877-984-9470