TEAM and MTS Allstream met, yet again, on April 17th and 18th. Unfortunately, since collective bargaining began in February, absolutely no movement of any significance has occurred on the part of the Company. In the hope of generating some dialogue around basic issues important to MTS Allstream professionals, and at the very least, determine if MTS Allstream really had any intention of meaningful bargaining at this time, TEAM decided to soldier on in the face of this one-sided negotiation. TEAM moved onto the second non-monetary issue our “work-life balance” proposals; all were promptly quashed, with the Company indicating it would also not offer any counter-proposals.
MTS Allstream’s Chief Negotiator, Don Rooney, made it perfectly clear that he was operating on the authority and mandate of the CEO and the Board of MTS Allstream. Therefore, we can only assume that the tact taken of not engaging in bargaining with TEAM, is at the explicit direction of CEO Mr. Blouin and Chairman of the Board Mr. Stefanson. TEAM’s Chief Negotiator encouraged the company’s bargaining committee to go back to their Principals to acquire a new mandate that allowed them to say more than just “No, No, No” to every proposal. Mr. Rooney replied, “We deal with our principals as we see fit”. Mr. Rooney further indicated that saying “No” to everything was indeed bargaining.
The only substantive action that was taken during recent bargaining by the Company was in a lengthy statement from the Chief Negotiator who indicated that if TEAM did not “cease and desist” sending out letters to customers legal action was implied. It is apparent that the Company has no intention of bargaining in a productive manner, but rather is attempting to muzzle TEAM from informing stakeholders of the lack of progress at the bargaining table. Mr. Rooney also indicated that the request for us to stop writing letters to customers came from the MTS Allstream Board.
In the recent business outlook meetings at MTS, the MTS Allstream CEO prides himself on the concept of “open communication”. However, it would appear that the concept does not apply to all. MTS Allstream, through its Chief Negotiator, indicated that they wanted us not to write to customers or the MTS Allstream Chairperson or Board of Directors. We are finding it extremely difficult to reconcile why the Company does not have issue with TEAM keeping some stakeholders abreast of bargaining yet not others. As we have previously stated, TEAM is made up of union members but also MTS Allstream employees, customers and shareholders. It is not only our right, but also our duty, to keep our fellow members, customers and shareholders aware of the negative approach mandated by those in charge of MTS Allstream.