The AJC’s Negotiation Team negotiates on behalf the membership to determine the terms and conditions of employment.
The parties to the collective agreement process operate under the terms of the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations Act.
HOW BARGAINING WITH TREASURY BOARD WORKS
Getting ready to bargain
The process of preparing for collective bargaining begins long before the expiry of the current agreement. Throughout the term of a collective agreement, the AJC collects information on how well the agreement is working for members and areas where improvements or additions to the collective agreement are needed. This information comes from members, the AJC’s labour relations staff, the Governing Council, the Executive, labour board and court decisions, other federal unions, ongoing bargaining issues that were raised but could not be addressed in prior rounds of bargaining, etc.
It’s important to know, however, that some important issues are negotiated separately. The AJC is a member of the National Joint Council (NJC) along with 18 other federal unions, including larger federal unions such as PSAC and PIPSC. Benefits such as health care and dental plans are negotiated separately through by NJC bargaining agent side representatives and have their own schedule for bargaining. All NJC members provide input, since these benefits cover the entire federal public service. Ad hoc input calls to the membership are also issued to allow members to propose improvements.
In advance of each round of collective bargaining however, outside the NJC negotiations, the Governing Council approves the composition of the AJC’s Negotiations Committee from members of your elected Governing Council. In March 2022 the Governing Council appointed the Negotiations Committee for the next round of collective bargaining, who shall be responsible for negotiating with the Employer (TBS). The Committee is led by the President and is composed of a balanced representation of members from the Governing Council
Under the Terms of reference link approved by the Governing Council, the Negotiations Committee is responsible for:
- Determining the AJC’s bargaining strategy;
- Identifying the AJC’s bargaining priorities;
- Attending bargaining sessions with the employer and other related bargaining proceedings;
- Retaining counsel, in consultation with the Executive Committee, to facilitate bargaiinign and to represent the AJC in other related bargaining proceedings;
- Collecting and analyzing relevant bargaining information;
- Commissioning bargaining-related studies or surveys where appropriate;
- Consulting the AJC membership on bargaining priorities;
- Preparing and tabling bargaining proposals;
- Considering the employer’s proposals and, where appropriate, preparing and tabling counter-proposals;
- Recommending to the Governing Council that a vote of the membership be held, for example, to ratify a proposed framework or a collective agreement.
The input of AJC members is the most critical step in determining the AJC’s collective bargaining priorities. Before the AJC issues its notice to bargain and collectively bargains with Treasury Board, we must survey members to find out what they think are the key issues that require improvements to their working conditions - whether it’s leave provisions, better work-life balance, increased salaries, or other issues that can be collectively bargained. Members and Governing Council representatives alike, are asked to provide input on bargaining priorities. At the same time, the Negotiations Committee looks at the changes we were not able to achieve during previous rounds of bargaining and what other unions are negotiating, as well emerging issues that may affect working conditions.
Once we’ve received input from members, the AJC’s Negotiations Committee will review all the priorities identified by the members and determine how to prioritize them all for the upcoming round of bargaining to help inform its overall bargaining strategy. An initial set of bargaining demands that fall outside the scope of bargaining NJC directives is then tabled.
TB tends to engage in Pattern bargaining and so often times, issues like severance pay or systemic racism and discrimination are led by one of the larger bargaining agents with the expectation that other unions will follow suit. The NJC bargaining agent side have formed a bargaining subcommittee that allows them to cross-share and work together to ensure that proposals and approaches are consistent with all BA priorities and are comprehensive. Sick leave was an area of collaboration in the past where BAs were able to jointly defeat TB’s attempts to eliminate sick leave banks. Common issues to all our NJC Bargaining Agents (BA) members could include such things as the elimination of the right of set-off, remote work, the right to disconnect and steps to address systemic racism and discrimination