What’s the current process of Bargaining?
- Input is sought from membership via survey and feedback directed to Governing Council Representatives.
- Notice to bargain is issued within a prescribed deadline normally prior to the expiry of the Collective Agreement. The AJC has opted and continues to either exercise its statutory right to binding interest arbitration, or where no such right exists, seek the consent of the Employer to agree to binding interest arbitration where the parties reach an impasse. Should the AJC wish to proceed with strike action in the event of an impasse, this change in approach must be approved by a majority of the membership prior to engaging in the collective bargaining process with the Employer.
- Negotiation Team, which is mandated by the Governing Council, reviews input and develops a negotiation strategy.
- Negotiation Team prepares collective bargaining proposals.
- Negotiation Team and Treasury Board meet and negotiate the changes to the Collective Agreement.
- Once both sides reach a tentative agreement, the parties seek ratification from their respective decision makers. In the AJC’s case, the AJC conducts a ratification vote for registered membership approval.
- Currently, if an impasse is reached, either party may request that the FPSLREB establish an arbitration board to rule and issue a binding arbitral award.
What happens to my terms and conditions of employment once notice to bargain has been issued?
The status quo. The terms and conditions of employment applicable to the employees in the bargaining unit continue to be in force. This "statutory freeze" on the terms and conditions of employment remains in force until a new collective agreement is reached, or an arbitral award is rendered. Note that this freeze is not absolute, but instead refers to "business as usual" and changes cannot be made that would not be within the reasonable expectations of the parties.
What can be bargained?
The AJC can negotiate increases to the rates of pay, as well as improvements to other working conditions, such as leaves of absence, flexible working arrangements, to name a couple.
Flexible work hours
Did you know that…
The Collective Agreement recognizes the importance of a flexible working schedule allowing lawyers to balance personal and professional obligations? However, this flexibility must be reconciled with the employer’s legislated right to manage hours of work. As a result, such flexibility is subject to operational requirements and managerial approval. Lawyers may enter into alternate work or flexible work hour arrangements with the approval of their manager, who is expected to exercise their discretion in a non-arbitrary, discriminatory or bad faith manner. That said, lawyers in question must work an average of 37.5 hours per week over a 4-week period. What a lawyer can’t do, is to take it upon themselves to set his or her own schedule without management approval.
What can’t be bargained?
Under the FPSLRA, some terms and conditions of employment are not currently negotiable. A collective agreement may not, directly or indirectly, alter or eliminate any existing term or condition of employment or establish any new term or condition of employment if:
(a) doing so would require the enactment or amendment of any legislation by Parliament, except for the purpose of appropriating money required for the implementation of the term or condition; or
(b) the term or condition is one that has been or may be established under the Public Service Employment Act, the Public Service Superannuation Act, or the Government Employees Compensation Act.
This means that, for example, a collective agreement may not cover pension issues, benefits payable on injury or death, the assignment of duties, and the classification of positions.
Did you know that...
...the conversion from term to indeterminate employee cannot be bargained? Indeed, pursuant to section 59(1) of the Public Service Employment Act, the conversion from term to indeterminate employee will take place “at the end of the cumulative period of employment specified by the employer in circumstances prescribed by the employer”, which are outlined in section 7.2 of the Term Employment Policy.
For more information on the matter, please refer to the AJC FAQs for Term Employees. If after consulting our FAQs, you still have questions, do not hesitate to send your inquiry to email@example.com.
Did you know that...
...the Public Service Pension Superannuation Act governs all aspects of the public service pension plan? Indeed, everything including eligibility, contribution rates and even death benefits are legislated and thus are not subject to collective bargaining. The sole power to amend or modify your pension plan rests with the government. All bargaining agents can really do is to lobby on your behalf.
Did you know that ...
…promotions are not subject to collective bargaining. The Public Service Employment Act and the Financial Administration Act regulate the Employer´s right to manage its human resources through delegated authority. Although the AJC actively advocates on behalf of its members and supports all career development programs that may be put in place by different Departments, it simply cannot direct the employer to offer or increase promotional opportunities through the bargaining process.
Did you know that...
…classification levels are not the subject of collective bargaining. Are you regularly doing work above your current classification level and feel you should be reclassified to a higher level?
Since classification levels are not the subject of collective bargaining, there is very little the AJC can do to help you unless you submit an individual request to the AJC to support the filing of an individual job content grievance on your behalf. For more information on job content, acting pay and job classification grievances, including the process to follow to request support, please refer to our online FAQ relating to job descriptions and classifications.
Health Care Benefits
Did you know that...
…health care benefits are negotiated at the National Joint Council level? There is a cyclical review conducted every three to five years that allows bargaining agents to send their proposed changes to the health care plan.
What if an agreement is not reached?
If the AJC and the Employer are unable to reach an agreement, the AJC will avail itself of the dispute resolution processes under the FPSLRA. For more information on the FPSLRB´s dispute resolution mechanisms, please click here