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Negotiations Update - Career Development Proposals

TEAM MEMO
To:          TEAM-IFPTE Local 161 Members
From:      TEAM Office
Date:       April 19, 2016
Re:          Negotiations Update - Career Development Proposals


In response to member requests for more information on our proposals, this memo covers the non-monetary proposals relating to career development.  Details of other non-monetary and monetary proposals will be provided in upcoming memos.

Like many unions that represent professionals, our Collective Agreement does not rely heavily on seniority, consequently, to progress in our careers at MTS we need to expand and develop our skill set, have confidence that we are assessed fairly on those skills and the work we have done, and when unsuccessful on a job posting, to understand where we need to focus our efforts to be successful next time.

In feedback from members, including our negotiation surveys, concerns were raised about career development at MTS, and with increasing frequency, members are telling us that one of the main reasons for resigning is lack of career opportunities.  Our proposals are intended to address the concerns and increase opportunities for career development.

Acting Appointments

Acting Appointments are important in enabling TEAM members to advance in MTS.  Typically they represent between 7% and 14% of TEAM positions in any given pay period.

We have a long running struggle with MTS regarding the proper administration of the Collective Agreement articles pertaining to Acting Appointments.  TEAM currently has three active Policy grievances against MTS specifically relating to Acting Appointments, one of which is scheduled for arbitration on May 19th and 20th.

The arbitration relates to over 70 Acting Appointments that TEAM asserts should have been posted because the opportunities were for 12 months or longer, or MTS had reported the durations as just shy of 12 months, e.g. 11 months and 28 days, avoiding the requirement to post.  In almost a third of the cases the acting opportunities were given to employees from outside TEAM’s jurisdiction.

Over 42% of respondents to our October survey indicated they do not think the current Acting Appointment process is applied fairly, with many commenting that too often it appears people have been hand-picked for the opportunities.  Some expressed concern about the advantage an actor has over other applicants when the position is finally posted.  Responses to our follow-up survey in February reinforced these concerns.  Analysis shows that in over 90% of cases the actor is the successful candidate on the permanent posting.

Members say they often don’t know when an acting opportunity exists, sometimes even in their own area, and would like to be made aware of such opportunities when they become available.

TEAM is proposing:

  • When MTS asserts that the acting assignment will be for less than 12 months, and can therefore be filled without a posting, MTS will provide TEAM with the reason the assignment will be for less than 12 months.
     
  • When the acting assignment results from someone leaving a position permanently, and the position is not being eliminated, it will be posted immediately as a permanent position, and filled on a temporary basis by a time-limited acting assignment until the posting process is complete
     
  • TEAM members be made aware of acting assignments that are expected to last for at least 3 months but less than 12 months, to provide the opportunity to contact the hiring manager to express interest and put their names forward for consideration.

Job Postings

The ability to compete for and win new positions through the job posting process is another critical element of career development at MTS.  Other than a job re-evaluation, the job posting process is the only way to obtain a permanent promotion in TEAM.  As such, it is crucially important that employees’ skills, abilities, and knowledge are assessed in a fair and consistent manner in relation to other applicants and the requirements of the position.  This is especially true in times when postings are infrequent, like in 2015, when there were 56 postings vs. 123 the year before.

Over the past few years we have heard from an increasing number of members who have lost faith in the fairness and impartiality of the job posting process, including some who believe that the outcome of job postings is pre-determined.  MTS’s recent decision to no longer have a representative from Human Resources at interviews has further eroded confidence in the process.

TEAM is proposing:

  • Interviews should be conducted by a minimum three-person panel, with one of the interviewers being a “neutral party”, such as someone from Human Resources, or a supervisor or Director from a VP Group that is different than that of the posted position.
     
  • The role of the “neutral party” on the interview panel is to ensure the integrity of the process, ensuring that interviews are discrimination free and candidates are fairly assessed.  The “neutral party” will debrief applicants who are not successful.

Lateral Transfers

TEAM members can also develop their skills through lateral transfer opportunities.  Over the past three years at least 74 positions were filled by lateral transfer.

Our Collective Agreement includes a provision to enable TEAM members to formally request consideration for lateral transfer opportunities.  Between 2013 and 2015 at least 40 members submitted a Lateral Transfer Request, and of those, it appears six were successful in attaining a transfer.  Members want to be confident that if they submit a Lateral Transfer Request that the list will be reviewed as part of the posting process.

TEAM is proposing:

  • When MTS is considering whether to fill a position by lateral transfer, the hiring manager will review lateral transfer requests to see if a qualified candidate is available for transfer.
     
  • The wording be modified to reflect the past practice of switching two or more TEAM members between jobs at the same salary group.
     
  • Removal of wording that says a member can lateral to a lower rated position, because that is not a lateral, and the ability to move to a lower rated position is/will be covered in other areas of the Collective Agreement.

Redeployments to Lower Rated Positions

During the redeployments in Network Services in 2015 and the recent downsizing across all VP groups, a number of members were moved to lower rated positions.  Although their pay did not change, in career development terms, for some this downward move has been a significant and sometimes painful step backwards.

TEAM has raised these concerns at the negotiating table and is exploring options to address both the non-monetary and monetary aspects of this matter.


TEAM-IFPTE Local 161
204-984-9470 or 1-877-984-9470
team@teamunion.mb.ca
www.teamunion.mb.ca
twitter.com/teamunion161
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