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Civilians complaining about Police/Emergency Services' Pay

YZT580

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The union doesn't want a long term settlement. It would put them out of business and their executives would have to go back to work on the floor: huge cut in pay. Without the negotiation process, the union would be left with nothing to do but represent workers in management disputes and most of them are resolved at the local level by unpaid reps.
 

brihard

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The union doesn't want a long term settlement. It would put them out of business and their executives would have to go back to work on the floor: huge cut in pay. Without the negotiation process, the union would be left with nothing to do but represent workers in management disputes and most of them are resolved at the local level by unpaid reps.
...Yeah, that’s very much not in accordance with reality.

Out of any union executive, yes, a couple will be involved in collective bargaining, but most of that work is done by hired lawyers and negotiators. It’s not Sgt so-and-so who got elected to the union and who negotiated and locks down the deal. They work in concert with the professional negotiators.

Union executives have a ton on their plate. While it’s true that most disputes and minor and are resolved locally by union reps, there are always enough big ones that require higher intercession. There are always ongoing issues and initiatives within the employer that require higher level union involvement.

If you think union executives are idle when not at the bargaining table, I would suggest getting to know a few and learning more. The half dozen that I interact with regularly or semi regularly certainly don’t fit what you describe.
 

YZT580

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...Yeah, that’s very much not in accordance with reality.

Out of any union executive, yes, a couple will be involved in collective bargaining, but most of that work is done by hired lawyers and negotiators. It’s not Sgt so-and-so who got elected to the union and who negotiated and locks down the deal. They work in concert with the professional negotiators.

Union executives have a ton on their plate. While it’s true that most disputes and minor and are resolved locally by union reps, there are always enough big ones that require higher intercession. There are always ongoing issues and initiatives within the employer that require higher level union involvement.

If you think union executives are idle when not at the bargaining table, I would suggest getting to know a few and learning more. The half dozen that I interact with regularly or semi regularly certainly don’t fit what you describe.
Carried a card for 32 years and yes, I know they are not idle and I know that they work hard but I also know that many situations that they end up being involved in could have been resolved at the local level except that they were pushed up the ladder in order to prove a point or achieve what they perceived was a larger goal. I have also had my union group sold down the river so the larger union could gain a larger settlement for a smaller group. I might also point out the sad demise of caterpillar in Canada because of union intransigence. Most of the union members that I know and that I worked with would gladly have taken a COLA contract kept the union strictly as a shield between themselves and the owners (management) just as you said above. With that I totally agree.
 

brihard

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Carried a card for 32 years and yes, I know they are not idle and I know that they work hard but I also know that many situations that they end up being involved in could have been resolved at the local level except that they were pushed up the ladder in order to prove a point or achieve what they perceived was a larger goal. I have also had my union group sold down the river so the larger union could gain a larger settlement for a smaller group. I might also point out the sad demise of caterpillar in Canada because of union intransigence. Most of the union members that I know and that I worked with would gladly have taken a COLA contract kept the union strictly as a shield between themselves and the owners (management) just as you said above. With that I totally agree.
Respectfully, carrying a card doesn’t man you have good eyes on the inner workings. I would suggest that just because work is not visible or apparent to you, doesn’t mean it’s not there getting done. I couldn’t tell you most of what a unit CO or Adjt do, and when I was a troop it was mostly invisible to me. But I know they had a ton on their plate.

your earlier post was plainly hyperbolic. That sucks that your union got subsumed into a larger one. I’m glad that mine is and will remain independent. It makes it easier to keep focused on the important stuff.
 

YZT580

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Which is protecting the members and their jobs first and foremost. I believe it was Dofasco that never unionized. Instead they provided regular raises similar to what the Stelco folks got but they also maintained an active inter-action with their workers to ensure that grievances were resolved quickly and peacefully. It was the preferred mill in which to work. The entire union system is set up on a confrontational basis: it hasn't changed in that regards since the first union was formed. Management seems to be able to gain raises without going on strike so why must the workers, who can least afford it, have to walk out? but I digress, sorry. I vote for long term settlements with cost of living factored in.
 

lenaitch

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^^ Businesses like Dofasco, Honda Canada and I'm sure there are others are able to make it work but it requires a very collaborative management culture and constant attention to keep the unions away from the gate. In the public sector environment - the topic of this thread - it is much more difficult because there are multiple layers of competing interests in the chain beyond the immediate management level.

Collective agreements are, in a sense, confrontational in that it sits in between management and labour and sets the framework (along with legislation) how they interact with each other on the range of topics it covers. They are not just money, they cover topics such as various types of leave, benefits, often scheduling, overtime rules, and on and on.

My former association (union) represents close to 10,000 members and its full time staff, elected board and others, have to deal with managing benefits, member relations, employer relations, legal, etc. Any collective agreement requires ongoing attention. Sometimes it is simply a matter of different interpretations of the meaning of words used in a particular section of the agreement.

I am a fan of long-term agreements as they provide stability and predictability for both sides, but there there is a big gap between long-term and perpetual.
 

Eaglelord17

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So it is acceptable for a union to be formed in perpetuity without any requirement for periodic ratification from their membership (most unions in Canada were voted in by people now long dead, some under very sketchy circumstances), yet the idea that a salary gets more or less fixed in perpetuity is absurd? You would still have to vote on it to have it accepted, and much like the union existing you would only need to do it once. You can still also negotiate to have the salary changed due to changing factors such as job markets changing as well, it wouldn't do away with collective agreements. They would still have to be done as per when they expire.

I would also put politicians and their ilk on this system as well as then they would only be receiving what everyone else is.

Another way to possibly do it would be like how most jobs have for pensions. If they started on the previous system they can keep that, but if they are new hires they move into the new one (much like the I.E. 20 and I.E. 25 with the military or how I am on a defined contribution pension well the older co-workers are on defined benefit).

This doesn't remove collective agreements or bargaining, what it does do is keep everything level, and in my opinion allows unions to focus on what they should be focusing on, working conditions and the environment your in. The wage becomes out of the control of the government and the union, which is about as fair as it can be as neither side controls it.
 

Good2Golf

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So it is acceptable for a union to be formed in perpetuity without any requirement for periodic ratification from their membership (most unions in Canada were voted in by people now long dead, some under very sketchy circumstances), yet the idea that a salary gets more or less fixed in perpetuity is absurd?
Did you actually read lenaitch’s post? He said clearly that he favoured long-term agreements, NOT perpetual ones. In no way did he preclude regular decision-points to ensure the spirit of the long-term agreement basis was still being met.
 

brihard

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So it is acceptable for a union to be formed in perpetuity without any requirement for periodic ratification from their membership (most unions in Canada were voted in by people now long dead, some under very sketchy circumstances), yet the idea that a salary gets more or less fixed in perpetuity is absurd? You would still have to vote on it to have it accepted, and much like the union existing you would only need to do it once. You can still also negotiate to have the salary changed due to changing factors such as job markets changing as well, it wouldn't do away with collective agreements. They would still have to be done as per when they expire.

I would also put politicians and their ilk on this system as well as then they would only be receiving what everyone else is.

Another way to possibly do it would be like how most jobs have for pensions. If they started on the previous system they can keep that, but if they are new hires they move into the new one (much like the I.E. 20 and I.E. 25 with the military or how I am on a defined contribution pension well the older co-workers are on defined benefit).

This doesn't remove collective agreements or bargaining, what it does do is keep everything level, and in my opinion allows unions to focus on what they should be focusing on, working conditions and the environment your in. The wage becomes out of the control of the government and the union, which is about as fair as it can be as neither side controls it.
The legal mechanisms exist for employees to decertify or change unions if they wish.

Do you have any idea what goes into certifying and building a union? It’s a major, major process. If represented employees want to get the necessary majority together to make those changes, right on. But you seem to be teasing at the notion that a union, once established, shouldn’t automatically stay certified absent a successful decertification initiative by the represented employees. Frankly, that’s absurd. It would out a tremendous burden on the union, would increase union related expenses to the employees, and would disrupt collective bargaining and routine union representative work.

We get it, you’re uninformed in labour law and are committed to a half-baked idea here. But you’re not operating anything close to the realm of legal reality.
 

lenaitch

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I suppose the big thing I'm missing is how something can be both perpetuity fixed and subject to periodic negotiation.
 

mariomike

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So it is acceptable for a union to be formed in perpetuity without any requirement for periodic ratification from their membership (most unions in Canada were voted in by people now long dead,
In our town the police, fire and ambulance formed three separate unions on three separate dates in 1917 and 1918.

I don't recall any periodic ratifications during my time.
 

Eaglelord17

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The legal mechanisms exist for employees to decertify or change unions if they wish.

Do you have any idea what goes into certifying and building a union? It’s a major, major process. If represented employees want to get the necessary majority together to make those changes, right on. But you seem to be teasing at the notion that a union, once established, shouldn’t automatically stay certified absent a successful decertification initiative by the represented employees. Frankly, that’s absurd. It would out a tremendous burden on the union, would increase union related expenses to the employees, and would disrupt collective bargaining and routine union representative work.

We get it, you’re uninformed in labour law and are committed to a half-baked idea here. But you’re not operating anything close to the realm of legal reality.

'Legal reality' is a subjective as that can be changed by the government at any point in time. I have never stated that my idea is fully developed, but it is a potential solution to the slow but steady growth of public sector wages well beyond what is happening in the private sector. This growth is eating into the effectiveness of government operations due to cuts having to be made to accommodate it, and results in one of three things. Loss of services, increases in taxes, or accumulation of public debt. Currently we have had all 3 happen in recent years without any of the covid spending, and it shall likely become significantly worse before it gets better longterm.

This is a tangent but why is it a absurd idea that once in a while we should have to re-certify it? I personally like the Swiss model of government where the people have to vote every once in a while just to have taxes levied on them. It keeps the power where it belongs (the citizens or in this case the union members). Forced membership in a organization to have a job isn't right, but that is how our unions work. Freedom of association should work both ways and not require people to be part of unions to work a job. If you have no concerns about the legitimacy of the organization requiring a vote on the unions existence every say 10 years isn't unreasonable or arduous they run votes all the time.

I suppose the big thing I'm missing is how something can be both perpetuity fixed and subject to periodic negotiation.
The idea is the wages are tied to the Canadian average. Hypothetically there is a huge increase in wage for a specific job in the private sector, that average multiplier could be renegotiated to a higher rate. Pretty simple stuff.

Did you actually read lenaitch’s post? He said clearly that he favoured long-term agreements, NOT perpetual ones. In no way did he preclude regular decision-points to ensure the spirit of the long-term agreement basis was still being met.

I get that, my point was that a union is a perpetual agreement, so why is it so unreasonable for them to agree to fixed wages that automatically account for incomes going up and down?
 

Bruce Monkhouse

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You keep talking about how bigger the public sector raises are, take away the MP, MPP's Judges,teachers, and I think you'll find we lack quite far behind over the last 2 decades.
GF is going to be making more at Costco as a customer rep then being a customer rep for the Ontario Govt makes once she hits the 5th year of her employment there.

CUTS?? I don't believe there are 'cuts'....when was the last time money to something actually went down? When was the last time a Govt shrunk in size in Canada? 'Cuts" in Canada mean the EXTRA money every group is asking for is not going to be given.......

School board says they need 4 billion next year instead of the 3.6 they got this year and get told only 3.8, ...."it's a cut!!"
 

brihard

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You remain incorrect.

For one, nobody is forced to be a member of a union. Now, if you work under a collective agreement, you will likely have to pay union dues, but that is not the same as union membership. Freedom of association protects you from having to actually join. Unions are a corporate entity with bylaws and membership criteria. Generally there is a (frequently nominal) feee to join. Joining the union tends to give you voting and candidacy rights, and information undated the union sends to members. It is not necessary to be a union member to benefit from all of the provisions of a collective agreement. You are not a member of a union until you voluntarily sign up. You may simply need to pay dues because you benefit from their efforts on your behalf.

To claim that ‘legal reality’ can be changed by the government at any time is also not accurate, or at least not to a sufficient extent as to be relevant to the discussion. Much of this is not merely statutory, but arises out of the Charter right to freedom of association. While the Charter could hypothetically be amended (with such great difficulty that I doubt we’ll see it happen due to the political realities of constitutional law), or S.33 could be invoked for finite periods to upend S.2, the reality is that collective bargaining rights are a recognized consequence of a Charter right. This was examined at the SCC level, for instance, in the 2015 Mounted Police Association of Ontario v Canada case that ultimately allowed the Mounties to unionize. It was explicitly recognized that the right to form an association to advance collective interests and to meet an employer on more equal terms is a protected Charter right. So no, this cannot be simply changed. A statutory law to effectively dissolve and/or subject a union to re-ratification on a periodic basis would be an unjustifiable frustration of that right. It would be an illegal obstruction of the right to freedom of association.

For collective bargaining to be a meaningful exercise of free association, it has to be as i encumbered by unreasonable limitations as possible. Some limitations ARE reasonable. Parliamentary sovereignty, for instance, dictates as necessity that a union cannot collectively bargain a condition of employment that would require statutory change. PSAC, for instance cannot negotiate pensions as that would impose upon the employer a requirement to change the Public Service Superannuation Act, which the employer can’t doz The RCMP’s union can’t negotiate VAC benefits because that would require changes to the Pension Act and/or the RCMP Superannuation Act. Same deal; treasury board can’t legislate. But, outside of examples like that, an artificial constraint such as “compensation can only be negotiated as a multiple of an externally derived variable outside of the employer or bargaining agent’s control” would be a breach of our rights. When we negotiate collective agreements, we know what the dollar value of our pay for the length of the agreement will be. Any union even tabling an agreement for a vote that doesn’t offer that certainty would see such a contract angrily rejected and its executive voted out at the earliest opportunity.

There is a great deal of law that you need to get up to speed on here if you want to be able to meaningfully discuss this. Wishing it away doesn’t work.
 

lenaitch

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'Legal reality' is a subjective as that can be changed by the government at any point in time. I have never stated that my idea is fully developed, but it is a potential solution to the slow but steady growth of public sector wages well beyond what is happening in the private sector. This growth is eating into the effectiveness of government operations due to cuts having to be made to accommodate it, and results in one of three things. Loss of services, increases in taxes, or accumulation of public debt. Currently we have had all 3 happen in recent years without any of the covid spending, and it shall likely become significantly worse before it gets better longterm.

This is a tangent but why is it a absurd idea that once in a while we should have to re-certify it? I personally like the Swiss model of government where the people have to vote every once in a while just to have taxes levied on them. It keeps the power where it belongs (the citizens or in this case the union members). Forced membership in a organization to have a job isn't right, but that is how our unions work. Freedom of association should work both ways and not require people to be part of unions to work a job. If you have no concerns about the legitimacy of the organization requiring a vote on the unions existence every say 10 years isn't unreasonable or arduous they run votes all the time.


The idea is the wages are tied to the Canadian average. Hypothetically there is a huge increase in wage for a specific job in the private sector, that average multiplier could be renegotiated to a higher rate. Pretty simple stuff.



I get that, my point was that a union is a perpetual agreement, so why is it so unreasonable for them to agree to fixed wages that automatically account for incomes going up and down?

To say that the idea is not fully formed is a bit of an understatement. You seem to be the only one that doesn't see the conflict between a proposal that would have public section wages "tied" to a statistical figure, then somehow view this as something that is negotiable.

Most, but I believe not all unions are 'closed shops'. The reason for this is non-members enjoy the negotiated fruits and services that the union has negotiated without contributing to support it; they are free-riders. It might actually be a fun experiment for an individual employee to go before a professional negotiator at Treasury Board and negotiate their own package. Maybe they'd come out ahead - who knows. But then, under your system, all they would have to do is Google StatsCan.

Edit: After reading Brihard's post, I defer. Membership and mandatory dues are separate and I conflated the two. Often, certainly in emergency services, non-membership sounds like a good idea until you need legal assistance.
 

Eaglelord17

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Actually membership in a union is a requirement in some shops. For example where I work, it is mandatory to be part of the union as much as you may or may not want to be. Otherwise you can't work those jobs and therefore cannot have that job. It is not optional as it is written into the collective agreement that you cannot work those jobs without union membership. The only 'option' you have there is either not to be a part of the union and thereby be out of a job, or be a member and retain your job.
 

Bruce Monkhouse

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Just like having a haircut is a part of being in the military....no haircut no job. I have to wear a uniform at my job,... no wear, no job.
Being "in" a Union doesn't mean you have to participate, like paying JR rank mess dues....
 

dapaterson

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Lavigne v OPSEU. Being represented by a bargaining agent requires you to pay dues. It does not require you to take out membership.

See also: Rand formula.
 
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