Collective bargaining has been moving very slowly since it commenced in the fall of 2018. A comprehensive exchange of language has occurred but little progress has been made in addressing myriad differences between the union and management. We are hopeful that the employer will agree to a series of additional bargaining dates but as of the end of March we only have one scheduled date for bargaining.
Your bargaining committee has approached negotiations with a vision and proposed solutions to common workplace issues that are in the best interest of our members and the business. In our key roles as professionals in supervision, engineering, finance and IT, we understand the needs of the business and know what’s required to ensure that we produce clean, safe, and affordable electricity well in to the future.
Our members have maintained and passed on the expertise to safely and efficiently operate the facility since the opening of the plant in the 1970s. It’s imperative that our members play central roles in transferring that core knowledge as we continue to 2055 and beyond. However, we are finding that contracting out is eroding our 40-year knowledge base that needs to be valued and maintained to ensure the safe and efficient operation of the plant. This knowledge base cannot be found in contractors outside of the workplace. It is essential that the knowledge base is transferred to employees who are rooted in the community with their families.
As a bargaining committee we are committed to the safe and efficient operation of the facility and that includes the ability to maintain the health and wellness of our members through a comprehensive benefit plan that meets our collective needs. The shift by the employer from Great West Life (GWL) to Green Shield Canada (GSC) has led to considerable suffering by many members and retirees. We are committed to bargaining a fix to these problems. We are not prepared to agree to concessions on our benefits that would increase the suffering of those same members and retirees.
In summary, the employer has adopted a concessionary approach to bargaining as it seeks out increased contracting out, more flexibility, reductions in benefits, and changes to our pension. These concessions are being sought at a time when the employer is projected to have a fully funded pension and enjoy stable and profitable earnings over the next business cycle. Since the corporation is doing well, we believe Society members should also do well and that a fair deal is possible.