To: All Employees in TEAM’s Jurisdiction (Certification Order Number 8516-U)
From: TEAM Office
Date: June 12, 2013
Re: TEAM Negotiations Update FAQ
In response to questions generated by the Notice of Strike Vote we have prepared the following FAQ.
Q. Why are you asking for a strike mandate?
A. A strike mandate allows us to bargain from a position of strength. It’s our lever to apply pressure in the same way that the termination of the Collective Agreement and threat of a lockout are the Company’s. MTS will not take us seriously until we have such a mandate. They see us as weak, scared, and willing to take a poor offer rather than to fight for a fair deal. An unsuccessful strike vote will seriously weaken our negotiating position
Q. If we give TEAM a strike mandate, will we be out on strike?
A. We hope the mandate itself will be sufficient to move negotiations to a quick conclusion. It has been effective in many other negotiations, including at MTS. A strike mandate does not necessarily mean that there will be any job action or a complete withdrawal of our labour. We may work to rule e.g. go home on time, turn off our cell phones, have a proper lunch break etc.
Q Why aren’t we voting on an offer?
A. We’re still in negotiations and back at the table on July 2nd. Both the MTS “offers” you have seen, are negotiating positions to which our Bargaining and Negotiating committees are preparing a response. We will vote on an offer when we have one that we can bring to the membership. We cannot recommend an agreement that offers less to TEAM than IBEW, CEP or CAW members are receiving.
Q. Do you think we can get a better deal with a strike mandate?
A. Yes. It is widely known in collective bargaining that a strike mandate gets a better deal.
Q. What will happen at the Strike Vote meeting?
A. There will be a short presentation followed by a secret ballot. Voting instructions will be provided. Beverages will be available. For identification purposes bring your driver’s licence or your MTS photo ID.
Q. Why hasn’t TEAM shared what they are asking for?
A. TEAM has shared what they are asking for at member meetings, through email updates and on the TEAM website (see the final question below). With regard to the specific details of proposals, they change during the course of the negotiating process, sometimes several times. To review the current status of our proposals click here, but bear in mind that we are still in negotiations, things will change, and some proposals mean more to some members than others.
Q. Are you going to be surveying the members?
A. No. We surveyed the members prior to negotiations; we held focus groups and invited comments and feedback. We have received a lot of feedback from members during this negotiating process. The ultimate survey will be the ratification vote when members will have the opportunity to accept or reject what is on the table.
Q. What has TEAM done to keep me informed?
A. Over one year ago, May 22, 2012, an email was sent to every member advising that we were looking for volunteers to sit on the Bargaining Committee whose role it is to develop the proposals for the Negotiating Committee (see Bylaws 17.2 and 17.3 for the committee’s objectives). The Bargaining Committee developed the TEAM Bargaining Survey and every member was encouraged to complete the survey in October of 2012. The feedback from the survey formed the basis of our proposals. At the Annual General Meeting in November, we asked for feedback for negotiations and presented the high-level overview of the survey results. The complete survey results were posted in December. The high-level proposals were presented at member meetings in January. A meeting was held in March to discuss the overtime and call-out issues. Focus groups were also held for other areas of specific interest e.g. the Graduate Program. On May 6th and 7th updates were provided on the MTS offer and their response to TEAM’s list of proposals. We held negotiations update related meetings in April and May and had between 20 to 30 minutes of each meeting for Q&A. We have also responded to email queries from individual members, both to the individual and through FAQs such as this. Updates have been posted on our website, Facebook and Twitter.