December 5, 2017
Good evening all and welcome to the December General Membership Meeting and Christmas Dinner. I’ll try to keep my report as short and simple as possible. As 2017 winds down and looking back over the last few months, it has become evident that we have major bullying and harassment issues particularly within the City of Edmonton bargaining unit. While at this time it is the City unit that has been singled out, let’s be clear that bullying and harassment are not limited to just the City unit, but happen in all of our bargaining units and in society in general. It appears though that in the City unit, it is more prevalent and has not been managed as well as in other units. Let’s also recognize that bullying and harassment are not standalone issues but are the result of a culture that has been allowed to grow and flourish over a number of years within this bargaining unit. While we can change the process and move from an internal to an arm’s length external investigative and reporting process in regard to Respectful Workplace complaints, we do not change the workplace culture just by instituting an external process. I strongly feel that in order to have a cultural transformation take place, we cannot rely on the people that have built the current culture to be the ones to fix it. Unfortunately, in order to regain trust and confidence in a new culture there will need to be changes, not only in the message but in personnel.
Just a quick update as to where we are with the external process search for a permanent provider for the complaint process, it is my understanding that the City of Edmonton is looking at and deciding between two major companies that deal with these types of issues. The Coalition of Civic Unions has appointed Greg Holubowich, President of the Edmonton Firefighters Union, to be our representative at meetings to determine who the provider is and what the process will look like. Two concerns we have that need to be met are: 1) We need to see the raw report that the company supplies, not an edited or summary version from City’s HR or labour relations sections; and 2) We need to have the ability to grieve any decision resulting from the report.
At this time, CSU 52 currently has approximately 140 active grievances with the City unit, about 5 with EPCOR, and 5 with the Edmonton Public Library; no active grievances with Capital Power or TELUS World of Science – Edmonton. This leads into discussion around budget and union dues. The proposed 2018 budget will be presented tonight for viewing, no debate or discussion on the document; that will happen at the January General Membership Meeting which will be held on the second Tuesday of January (the 9th) at the Norwood Legion. At that meeting, we will also be asking for a 1/16th of 1% increase in union dues. This is to help offset anticipated legal and arbitration costs for 2018. CSU 52 is committed to defending our collective bargaining agreements and the rights that you have under those agreements. It has become very evident that within the City unit, in order to protect our agreements and your rights under that agreement, we will be forced to litigate and legally arbitrate grievances, or simply resign ourselves to the employer’s violations of our negotiated contractual agreement and your right to a fair and respectful workplace. We need your support both in person and financially or it becomes difficult to achieve a successful result.
A couple of other issues I need to bring to your attention: 1) Brandi Thorne has been hired as our external organizer and internal engagement person. Brandi will be exploring the possibilities of adding new membership from nearby towns and municipalities, very important as the City of Edmonton and surrounding area works towards a form of regional governance, but also Brandi will be looking for volunteers and help with restarting the union’s internal engagement process. 2) I’d also like to note that CSU 52 is very committed to a complete jurisdictional review of management, out of scope and contract positions in all of our bargaining units and expect to make that a significant priority in 2018. We expect that at the end of this review we will see a substantial number of positions coming into our scope as union members in the next 12 to 18 months.
I would also like to note that as of January 1, 2018, you will see a decrease in your LAPP contributions. The provincial government has recently approved a request from the LAPP Board to decrease contributions to the plan by 1% for each of the employee and employer groups. The plan is in a very solvent position. We also hope to see some movement on governance in 2018.
I would just like to finish by saying ‘Please be safe during this holiday season!’ If you happen to be celebrating with some liquid refreshments, please don’t drive – cab it, Uber it, take transit if possible or make sure you have a designated driver.
I look forward to seeing all of you next year, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Civic Service Union 52
Archived President’s Reports
Welcome back from what, for the most part, has been a great summer. I hope everyone had an opportunity to enjoy the wonderful weather. Now to get back to business. As we are all probably aware, a violent incident occurred last Saturday evening near Commonwealth Stadium, and then later on Jasper Avenue. CSU 52 would like to express our sympathy to those that were injured, and also our thanks to the EPS officers for their actions that ended the incident. I have been assured that all precautions that can be taken, are being taken to protect the citizens and visitors to Edmonton, and to ensure our safety in our workplaces. We need to remember that the main goal of terrorists is to create a sense of fear and panic in our everyday lives. It is also their goal to drive a wedge between communities that have different faiths and beliefs. They only win if they are successful. We need to remain calm, strong and supportive of each other.
Moving along to other Union business, I am sure most of us are aware that The City of Edmonton Drainage Utility was transferred over to EPCOR on September 1st, 2017. While a transition agreement had been negotiated between EPCOR and CSU 52, it did not cover all issues that arose from the transfer. At this time CSU 52 and EPCOR continue to mutually work towards resolving any outstanding issues.
On another note, we currently are well into the 2017 Civic Election cycle. The Coalition of Edmonton Civic Unions has released a list of candidates that we have interviewed and endorsed. It is very important to take part in the election. The make-up of council is extremely important to us as employees of EPCOR, The City of Edmonton, Edmonton Public Library, particularly as council has oversight of these bargaining units. It is vital that we do all we can to elect labour friendly candidates to council. PLEASE take the time to VOTE, and if possible to call the candidate in your ward to volunteer to help in any way you can.
While labour relations with EPCOR, The Edmonton Public Library, Capital Power and TELUS World of Science are generally good, we have significant issues in the City of Edmonton unit. These issues have resulted in a significant number of grievances being filed, and quite possibly being advanced to arbitration. This is being done in order to protect our collective bargaining agreement. Without these actions and push back, the collective bargaining agreement is basically useless. Your Union is determined to protect our agreements, and for your hard fought for negotiated rights.
To wind up, I just wanted to mention that negotiations at TELUS World of Science are moving ahead and should be entering a very active stage shortly. We have also served notice on EPCOR that we are prepared to begin negotiations in that unit.
Thank you, and please note that our next General Membership Meeting will take place on Tuesday, December 5th, 2017 at the Norwood Legion.
Civic Service Union 52