Enhanced Packages Negotiated for TEAM Members
This is a follow-up story to the previous TEAM bulletin ‘Termination of TEAM Members at Media/YPG’ (see http://www.teamunion.mb.ca).
On October 5, the TEAM Office, your Executive Board, and a representative of the IFPTE met with the members of MTS Media and presented the status of TEAM/YPG negotiations around severance terms, retention payments, and the related grievances against MTS. The TEAM lawyer was in attendance to answer questions relating to notice periods under the law and the release/non-compete document that members were being asked to sign.
The monetary amounts on offer from YPG on October 5 were not well defined, with the possibility that some members would receive less than the Collective Agreement provides. Also, many of the release document terms were wholly unacceptable as they restricted the members’ rights to any pension lawsuit award, protect their pension funds from transfer out of the MTS pension plan, and prevent claims against MTS in respect of the outstanding grievances. TEAM strongly recommended against the YPG offer. Despite deadlines set by YPG to pull the offer, the members unanimously supported TEAM’s recommendation. With the members’ full support, TEAM committed to negotiate for a better package, and the removal of all unacceptable terms in the release document.
October 6 to 17: TEAM conducted an extensive analysis of the YPG offer with respect to the CA, notice periods under the law, and how each and every member was impacted financially. At the same time, the lawyers for TEAM and CEP addressed the release document issues. TEAM found that for around 50% of the members, they were, in fact, being offered the same or, in the case of those eligible for bridging, significantly less (by as much as $30,000) than they were due under the CA. And, they were still being asked to sign the release document! TEAM’s attempts to have YPG acknowledge these shortfalls, revise the terms of the release document, and offer a real enhancement in severance and retention, had reached stalemate.
To break the stalemate, and with another YPG deadline due to pass that evening, on October 18, TEAM met with the Media members to explain the lack of progress, show how some members were losing out to the tune of up to $30,000, and to propose the implementation of a strategic plan to re-engage them in the negotiation process. The strategic plan included a public, legal and corporate campaign against YPG. And, even with the possibility that half the members could lose what had already been won (potentially up to $15,000 ea.), support for the campaign was overwhelmingly.
The next day, TEAM called YPG and laid out the unresolved issues and the mandate from the members to execute a strategic campaign and what that entailed. YPG, to their credit, immediately responded with a date to re-convene negotiations.
On Wednesday October 25, 2006, TEAM and YPG were back at the negotiation table. Both sides were focused, with YPG actively listening to TEAM’s arguments, quickly grasping what was being proposed, weighing the pros and cons of each TEAM proposal. By mid afternoon, TEAM and YPG had reached a tentative agreement that, subject to lawyer approval, was a proposal that TEAM could recommend to the MTS Media/YPG membership.
The negotiated Enhanced VRIP and Enhanced Severance packages provide MTS Media members with the following:
- For all members:
- Their full entitlement as per the CA under the VRIP Letter of Understanding and Article 26.6 – Severance amounts.
- As per the notice period to the minister, an absolute minimum severance of 10 weeks, regardless of years of service.
- An extra half a week’s pay for each year of service for employees with over ten years service (to $10,000).
- Non-competition clause limited to actual weeks of VRIP/severance pay.
- No restriction on actions against MTS relating to the pension plan funds, the members’ right to return to MTS, or the members’ right to choose who they work for.
- For members that were terminated in October
- Without deduction from the VRIP or severance amounts, full regular pay during the TEAM/YPG negotiation period (4 weeks pay).
- For those taking severance, an extra 10 weeks pay or minimum of $10,000.
- For members departing in December and March
- An extra 10 to 14 week’s retention payment.
The enhanced proposal was presented to the Media members on November 3, 2006, with all members subsequently signing the YPG release document.
TEAM canvassed the Media membership to find out who wanted to return to MTS, and only five declared that they wanted to return, with many others saying that they had simply had enough of MTS. Of the five that want to return to MTS, TEAM has been successful in having one member reinstated at MTS, and is actively pursuing the reinstatement of the remaining four. TEAM anticipates being successful in arbitration, should MTS insist on allowing it to go that far.
Regarding the pension plan funds, TEAM has written Mr. Blouin and Mr. Tellier (YPG), putting them on notice that if the funds are transferred from the MTS to the YPG pension plan, that TEAM and CEP will proceed with legal actions to avert the transfer.