- What is the timeline for the consolidation of the two bargaining units?
There is no specific timeline for the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board (FPSLREB) to make its decision on the consolidation. However, the joint application filed with the Labour Board includes a statement of facts indicating the parties are currently engaged in negotiations for one consolidated collective agreement and would benefit from a timely determination of the application.
This should help fast-track the process but, ultimately, the timeline is in the hands of the Labour Board. We are hopeful that it will be expedited and a decision rendered soon.
- What is the impact of this consolidation on the current round of negotiations?
The only substantive impact on this round of negotiations is a slight delay as we reorient our negotiations with the goal of consolidating the two agreements into one, while taking into account changes in members’ working conditions that resulted from the pandemic. We will continue to be guided by the priorities set by delegates at the national bargaining conference in the fall of 2019.
- Why did PSAC agree to the employer’s request to merge the two bargaining units?
We always say that there is strength in numbers, and in this case, a consolidated bargaining unit would provide us that strength. In cases of future strikes, the employer won’t be able to play one unit against the other since both groups would be part of the same united, single bargaining unit and collective agreement.
We would also have the opportunity to improve and harmonize the terms and conditions of employment for members from both the Regional Offices and Field Units simultaneously. After analyzing the employer’s application, we also concluded that our prospects of resisting it at the Labour Board would be dim and would only needlessly delay bargaining.
- Will members of the FI and RO units be able to vote on the proposed consolidation?
No, a vote is not legally required under the Act in this matter. Unfortunately, the wishes of employees do not weigh heavily in the Labour Board’s determination of appropriate bargaining units.
- Each of the two units is currently on a different dispute resolution route. Which one will we be on during this process?
If the board hasn't issued a new, single certificate when we reach impasse, each unit will stay on the route it has previously chosen. Currently, the FI unit is on the arbitration route and the RO unit is on the conciliation/strike route. However, the legislation does allow us to apply for a change of route with the Labour Board.
Once the board issues a single, consolidated certificate, everyone will have to be on the same route. This requires PSAC to declare its new dispute resolution process prior to serving a fresh Notice to Bargain (NTB).
FAQ: Statistical Survey Operations bargaining and consolidation
March 23, 2021