The following letter was sent on October 28, 2016 to Prime Minister Trudeau on behalf of all UCTE Treasury Board members.
October 28, 2016
Dear Prime Minister:
When you were elected, we believed when you said that “I know that each and every time a government employee comes to work, they do so in service to Canada, with a shared mutual goal of improving our country and the lives of all Canadians.” Regrettably, this statement is undermined by the lack of effort by the Treasury Board to negotiate a fair collective agreement. We are so disappointed.
In your open letter to public workers dated September 25, 2015, you promised many things. You said “I believe that in order to have a public service that is valued by Canadians, and a source of pride for its members, it must be valued by its government.” You promised real change for the public workers and yet nothing has changed since we began negotiations under the former Conservative government. Your negotiators are still not wanting to have meaningful discussions about the workforce adjustment appendix that, as we saw in 2012, does not work in a fair, transparent and impartial manner. Your negotiators are still wanting to replace the negotiated sick leave with a short-term disability plan. Your negotiators are still offering only a 0.5% yearly wage increase despite members of Parliament and Senators receiving a base salary hike of four times that much. Where is the promised change?
To say federal government workers are disappointed is minimizing the impact. Do you realize that there have been 11 sets of bargaining with 5 of these meetings having taken place since your government has come to power? And the original Conservative marching orders remain.
Public workers continue to be misused and mistreated by their employer. In the year that you have been in power, federal workers continue to live with an expired contract since 2014; have had the risk of financial ruin thanks to a Phoenix pay system debacle that is over a year in counting for some workers; and continually being asked to do 2 and 3 times more work thanks to hiring freezes and cutbacks in all modes of transportation safety and oversight.
It is time to honour your commitment to “restore trust in – and respect for – our public servants.” Treasury Board needs to stop wasting taxpayers’ money by coming to the table with the intent to dictate and not negotiate fairly. You need to send someone to the table that can actually make decisions and move negotiations forward so we can reach a deal and get on with our work. Your government needs to give the Treasury Board a mandate that supports the promises you made in your September 25, 2015 letter – the promise to work with labor organizations to achieve a fair and negotiated collective agreement.
Federal employees take pride in their work and their mandate to keep the public safe; they are only asking to be treated with the same respect by the Treasury Board.
UCTE National President