Civil Service Members Ratify New Five-Year Agreement
Jan 28, 2016
The Civil Service Bargaining Committee finished counting all ballots tonight and a majority of members have voted to ratify a new five-year collective agreement.
“This was an especially long and difficult round of bargaining,” said MGEU President Michelle Gawronsky. “But from the beginning, this Bargaining Committee was determined to get the best deal possible for the most members, whether it be at the bargaining table or, ultimately, through arbitration.”
In early summer 2015, after not receiving a fair and reasonable offer from the employer, the Bargaining Committee decided to file for arbitration, where a third-party arbitrator would hear arguments from both sides and then impose a binding settlement.
While arbitration dates were set for spring 2016, the Bargaining Committee kept up the pressure on the government. The union organized rallies, ran advertising campaigns and met with MLAs, arguing that a negotiated settlement is always preferable and a fair and reasonable offer not too much to ask.
After MGEU members flooded the Legislative gallery in a sea of red t-shirts that said “Still Without a Contract” on December 1, 2015, the employer finally agreed to return to the table.
“After a round of December meetings,” Gawronsky said, “the two sides came in over the holiday break and reached a tentative agreement on December 30. The Committee felt the employer’s offer was improved enough that it should be taken back to the membership.”
The Bargaining Committee made a neutral recommendation to members, opting to hold information meetings across the province to explain the pros and cons of the two options ― accept the tentative agreement or proceed to arbitration ― and letting the members decide.
“In the end,” Gawronsky said, “I think most members felt this agreement’s mix of wage and benefit increases and job security was a reasonable offer.”
The agreement includes general pay increases that go back to March 2014 and continue through the life of the agreement. This means all members who worked during the retroactivity period will automatically receive the applicable general pay increases on all hours worked.