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TEAM Bargaining Update

From The Bargaining Table

On Thursday and Friday of last week, your bargaining committee met with the Company in front of the federally appointed conciliator at the Fairmont Hotel in Winnipeg. Although it was only two days of bargaining, the rate of progress towards achieving a fair collective agreement has accelerated somewhat in recent weeks. There are still important issues unresolved which impact significant numbers of the TEAM membership today, and where TEAM and the Company still need to make meaningful progress.
On the Thursday, the Company responded to our tabling of all outstanding non-monetary and monetary proposals on August 29, and then tabled their monetary proposals. A comprehensive TEAM response was prepared late into the night, and into the next day, and was presented to the Company on the Friday. TEAM moved significantly on key areas of contention for the Company, including contractors in a layoff and guaranteed training days. A significant number of other proposals were further revised, where reasonable, to address the Company’s objections. TEAM and the Company mutually agreed to meet again in the week of September 17, with the meeting now being confirmed for Wednesday September 19th 2007. As you are probably aware, the mediation process formally ends on September 13th, however, both sides are committed to avoid any work disruption, and in-line with past communiqués from the Company it was reiterated that they had no plans to lock out TEAM. Your bargaining committee has also blocked out the 20th and 21st for bargaining in anticipation of a productive session with the Company on the 19th.
Also on the Thursday, a meeting of your Communication Action Representatives was held over the lunch hour. The attendance was excellent, with many attending in person, and a large number calling in from across the province. A bargaining update was presented with more detail on the critical outstanding issues still to be resolved, and how the introduction of a DC pension plan will impact MTS pension plan members and retirees. Our guest speaker, John Doyle, Research and Communications Co-ordinator of the Manitoba Federation of Labour, provided a case study of where a DC pension plan was introduced when an existing DB pension plan was already in existence. He elaborated on the disruption it caused to individuals, the workplace, the business, and the eventual bailing out of the DC pension plan members, at the Company’s expense, in the transition back to a DB only pension plan for all employees. Bargaining and Campaign next steps were discussed, along with a question and answer period. Members continue to ask “What can they do?” and “How will TEAM complete negotiations?” For the answers please contact your CAR (Communication Action Rep). If you do not have a CAR please contact the TEAM office and we will help organize your area. 
We continue to pursue a fair collective agreement while recognising the need to find a balance of employee and business needs.
Your TEAM Bargaining Committee