Re: TEAM-IFPTE Local 161 Bargaining Agenda 2007
The Telecommunications Employees Association of Manitoba – IFPTE Local 161 (TEAM) is proud to present our TEAM bargaining agenda for 2007 to the MTS Negotiation Committee.
This bargaining agenda is the result of much hard work, including many one-on-one meetings with individual TEAM members, surveys, and numerous small group meetings and larger feedback meetings.
This is the bargaining agenda of the over 1,000 MTS professionals represented by TEAM in Manitoba. MTS professionals have clearly and succinctly identified important issues and concerns, and they expect these to be addressed in this round of negotiations.
Our members bargaining agenda can be summarized as follows:
- Team Representational Issues
- Work/Life Balance
- Job Protection/Security
- Career Progression
- Career Development
- Early Retirement and Voluntary Severance
- Letters of Understanding and Policies
TEAM Representational Issues
The TEAM and MTS Collective Agreement is a joint document. We believe the better the Collective Agreement is administered, the better it is for both Parties.
TEAM wishes to add language to the Collective Agreement to ensure that TEAM staff have free access to the workplace, in order to conduct business arising out of the Collective Agreement, which includes meeting with members in the workplace.
We believe this is in the interests of MTS as well.
In order to administer the Collective Agreement efficiently and effectively, TEAM seeks a well trained and informed leadership and area representative structure. Meetings, training and conferences are integral to an effective representation of MTS professionals, timely problem solving, and the efficient administration of the collective agreement, which is to the advantage of both TEAM and MTS.
TEAM seeks to include specified release time under this Collective Agreement, to be paid by MTS for the purposes of TEAM members attending union meetings, training and conferences.
In order to further ensure the Parties have an effective Collective Agreement, MTS professionals need to be adequately represented in the workplace. TEAM has an area representative structure, in order that any TEAM member can consult with a TEAM representative in their area. The purpose is to resolve issues and concerns as quickly and as expeditiously as possible. In order to represent a TEAM member, TEAM Area Representatives need the freedom to perform such functions.
TEAM wishes to include language in the Collective Agreement to ensure that such designated Area Representatives have the ability to give such representation, and that they can take the time to do so.
If the Parties are to have an effective Collective Agreement that deals with and resolves workplace issues, as well as promotes a healthy and positive working relationship between the Company and it’s professionals, employees in the workplace must know that they can participate in the activities of their representative organization and raise issues and concerns with the Company, without any fear of reprisal, blacklisting or negative impact on their performance reviews and careers. Sadly this is currently not the case.
TEAM seeks to include express language in the Collective Agreement that there will be no discrimination, intimidation, interference or reprisals exercised or practised by the Company, or its supervisors, against any TEAM member participating in TEAM or its activities, or exercising any rights established by the Collective Agreement or the Canada Labour Code.
1. Excessive workload
MTS professionals repeatedly mention excessive workload and burnout. With layoffs and VRIPs the problem is only getting worse.
TEAM wishes to address this issue.
As part of the excessive workload, members find it difficult to take vacations or to take all of their vacation entitlement at the same time. TEAM wishes to address this issue. Employees who wish to take vacation should be able to do so in the year they are actually entitled to take it.
As part of excessive workload, there is an expectation employees do not need to incur overtime. There is a fear of PP&R consequences if overtime is utilized.
TEAM wishes to address this issue.
In a number of respects, the Maternity, Paternity and Parental provisions of the Collective Agreement need to be updated and brought into conformity with the provisions of the Canada Labour Code.
TEAM is of the view that Compassionate Care and Bereavement Leave need to be expressly provided for in the Collective Agreement. Ensure MTS Policy in this regard is compliant with the Canada Labour Code.
This is self explanatory.
It is the personal experience of MTS professionals, and their strongly held view, that MTS inappropriately utilizes contractors at the expense of long service employees.
Contractors stay too long. They are not always brought in for an express time limited need, doing work that could, if the Company were willing, be performed by existing bargaining unit members. They do not pass on their skill sets to MTS employees. Rather, they often take up opportunities. Through contractors, MTS furthers the reduction in overall workforce skill and ability, and diminishes the number of jobs in our communities. Regular full time members are laid off while contractors continue in the workplace.
TEAM wants fairness for loyal MTS employees and seeks limits on the MTS use, duration and renewal of contractors.
MTS professionals strongly believe that their loyal and long service with the Company must have a role during a layoff. Currently, service is all but meaningless.
TEAM seeks to have net credited service play a role in layoffs.
Currently, MTS need only notify TEAM of layoffs. There is no positive obligation to engage in meaningful discussions as a means to either avert or mitigate such layoffs. This is unfortunate and we believe has tragic consequences for our members.
TEAM believes such a requirement should be expressly referenced in the Collective Agreement, and is in the best interests of MTS professionals. TEAM cannot perceive how it would also not be to the benefit of MTS.
TEAM’s position is that the single vs. multi-incumbent distinction requires far greater certainty, particularly as it has such wide and serious implications for the careers and future employment of MTS professionals.
Designation should not be unilateral. There needs to be greater certainty and it must be clear for everyone if there is to be fair application.
TEAM is proposing that express provisions be included in the Collective Agreement to provide such certainty for all.
TEAM cannot fathom why MTS would not want the opportunity to recall a skilled, loyal employee with actual MTS experience in the event of a need at work subsequent to a layoff. Currently, the ability to recall is very limited. It should be extended.
Category 4 is inadequate.
MTS professionals want a commitment from MTS that it will maintain current work in Manitoba and keep jobs in our communities, as distinct from moving/transferring such work to Allstream. MTS professionals also seek a commitment from MTS that it will grow Manitoba operations and not simply the Enterprise Division.
MTS professionals deserve protection in the event of MTS outsourcing or sell-offs. MTS is in the position to provide such protection.
TEAM wants to see language in the Collective Agreement requiring lots of advance notice and no less than a minimum in the event of outsourcing or sell-offs; require the Parties to meet and negotiate mitigation; provide redeployment training, offer lateral moves, and other measures. There should be no layoffs of MTS professionals due to outsourcing and sell-offs.
9. No performance of the work of other MTS employees in the event they are on strike or locked out.
The process is undefined and uncertain. It is identified by many MTS professionals as a concern. It impacts on careers. It is about fairness and transparency. The process needs to be reviewed and specified in the Collective Agreement so there is certainty for everyone.
TEAM members have identified the lack of career opportunities, and that too many opportunities going to contractors, out-of-scope Actors and Terms rather than TEAM employees, as a major impediment to career advancement.
Currently, performance reviews are at the sole discretion of MTS. The performance review system is neither transparent nor certain, and there is no right to challenge an inaccurate or unfair review. It is an issue repeatedly identified in TEAM member surveys.
TEAM wishes to discuss, amend and incorporate the PP&R into the Collective Agreement, as well as a transparent PP&R process and right of recourse.
The lack, or insignificance of career progression, was identified by MTS professionals in our surveys.
As part of the PP&R, the Collective Agreement must expressly provide for the supervisor and employee establishing a yearly career progression plan, with the requirement that managers follow up, again with a right of recourse for the employee if the follow up is not done or is not done satisfactorily.
TEAM members want the opportunity to pursue lateral transfers as part of career progression and advancement. TEAM seeks wording in the Collective Agreement to establish such a process and to make it effective.
7. Technology progression opportunities
Incorporate into the Collective Agreement: Letter of Understanding – Progression from Programmer Classification (302IT) to Programmer Analyst Classification (303IT) and from Programmer Analyst Classification (303IT) to Senior Programmer Analyst Classification (304IT) within MTS Communications Inc. October 28, 2003
MTS professionals repeatedly mention problems with respect to training, as constituting an obstacle to career advancement and job security. The absence of training, inadequate training, the lack of opportunity to pursue training, along with unfulfilled PP&R training plans, are common complaints.
TEAM seeks to expressly reference the importance of training in the Collective Agreement, as well as define what constitutes training, the amount of training that is available to MTS professionals, and ensuring that actual access to training is provided.
Provide re-training opportunities to members working in areas where work is to be phased out, sold, contracted out, or transferred to a new location.
Training needs and goals must be identified in the PP&R, with a responsibility on the supervisor to implement. MTS professionals must have a remedy to ensure training needs and goals are fulfilled.
4. Strengthen intent and purpose of “Grad Scale”
Incorporate Letter of Understanding – University Graduates/Community College Salary Schedules into the Collective Agreement. April 29, 2005
Early Retirement and Voluntary Severance Packages
Renew the VRIP in the context of a Collective Agreement that provides training, limits contractors, prioritizes career progression, and recognizes seniority. MTS professionals want their careers and want to work.
YPG paid 10 weeks pay for the non-competition commitment.
Eliminate the “C” scale as it is inherently discriminatory and runs contrary to the principal of equal pay for equal work. Almost 1/10 of TEAM members are on the “C” scale and the overwhelming majority of these are women.
TEAM wishes to include the current benefits plans as part of the Collective Agreement.
The Parties have been unable to effectively manage the Blue Cross Benefit Plan through the existing Joint Benefits Committee. TEAM wishes to reference the Joint Benefits Committee in the Collective Agreement, specify it terms of reference and mandatory quarterly meetings.
This was recommended by the Joint Benefits Committee consultant. It would broaden the premium base and make the Plan stronger and fairer, and pave the way for a re-opener and enhancements.
This was repeatedly mentioned in the TEAM bargaining surveys.
The Parties have been unable to upgrade or enhance the Blue Cross Health benefit plan in any significant way.
The current status quo is ineffective and unfair to MTS professionals and other MTS employees. In order for the Blue Cross Health plan to adapt and grow, it requires regular MTS contributions. It cannot simply rely on employee contributions. MTS needs to become a true plan partner and bear its share of plan contributions.
Letters of Understanding and Policies
This is self explanatory.
These are the issues and concerns of the MTS professionals in Manitoba, who run MTS and are critical to making it a profitable Company for shareholders. MTS needs to renew its commitment to its employees during these negotiations, by seriously and genuinely addressing their issues and concerns. In the end, we believe it is about fairness and respect.
This is our expectation for bargaining.
TEAM reserves the right to amend, add to or delete to this bargaining agenda.
Yours Very Truly,
TEAM-IFPTE 2007 Negotiation Committee
Cc: TEAM membership