Bargaining Committee Report



November 21, 2006

Update – Bargaining 2007

The bargaining team has been at work developing the Union’s position for the upcoming set of negotiations for a little over two weeks now. It is time to bring the membership up to date on our progress.

We are at the moment continuing to review the contract language with an eye to clearing up some us articles, and deciding the areas in which we must try to make changes. This is a work in progress, so anything you might have heard through the “Rumour Mill”, concerning any hard and fast decisions we might have made are false. The hard and fast positions we may consider, with regard to contract language, are probably still several weeks in the future. Right now, we are still very much in the research phase of this process. The first step in our preparations will concern contract language; the second phase will be our monetary package.

We have had a preliminary report on the results of the survey we reviewed in September, and as expected, there were no real surprises in it. However, the results we have seen so far indicate that this is going be a very valuable tool to use throughout our preparations for negotiations. Even though there are no real surprises, the information we are getting is giving us a very clear picture of the concerns of the membership as we work to get our position ready for presentation to the Company.

As is the case in any run up to negotiations, we are cautiously optimistic and are sincerely hoping for a smooth, trouble free process that would lead to a fair and just contract, but because of the Company’s past practices, it is important that the membership of our Union stands together in solidarity. Only a united stand from the Membership will show management that our goal is a just and fair collective agreement.

What does a strike mandate vote mean?

 In order to call a strike or any form of job action, the Union must first hold a vote by secret ballot in which all members of the bargaining unit have the right to participate, and at least a simple majority (50% + 1) of those participating must indicate that they authorize the Union to call a strike.

However, holding and winning such a vote does not mean that the Union intends or even "wants" to go out on strike or to conduct any other form of job action.

A positive strike mandate vote is simply a mandate to call a strike if and when the Union deems it necessary (following a "no board report" from a conciliator). A positive strike mandate vote is a concrete show of support from the members of the bargaining unit for their negotiating team's positions at the table: in the majority of cases, a positive strike vote strengthens the Union's hand enough to achieve a fair and timely settlement without the members' having to go out on strike.

A strike mandate is used as a tool for the Bargaining Committee.  It gives them power and leverage at the bargaining table, in an effort to negotiate a fair contract.  A strong “YES” vote for a strike mandate indicates to the Company that the membership supports and backs their bargaining committee: the bargaining committee that you elected to negotiate a contract.  A”NO” vote shows a divided membership and takes away bargaining leverage from your union’s bargaining committee

Ratification information meeting

After weeks of preparation, the Bargaining Committee will hold 2 (two) ratification meetings at the Union Hall to allow the membership an opportunity to discuss, question and approve the bargaining position the Union will take to the negotiating table.

Initially, the list of proposals will be presented to the leadership, (the group made up of the executive board, the steward’s body, and the Joint Health and Safety Committee Reps.). At this meeting the Bargaining Committee will get a preliminary “feel” for how the members would react, and the leadership has an opportunity to make any additions they feel are necessary to fine tune our list of proposals. Both the leadership and the rank and file of the Union will give the Bargaining Team unanimous approval to the proposals.

These meetings will be at the Mine Mill Union Hall on Dec 5, 2006.

The leadership meetings will be at 12:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.

The general membership meetings will be at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Before you repeat any rumour you may have heard, check it out with your steward. If he or she can’t confirm it as true, they will be able to get it checked out with a phone call to your Bargaining Committee member.

In Solidarity, your Bargaining Committee

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Richard Paquin                                     Rick Grylls                                             Jan Romo              

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Brian Castilloux                                    Gord Lamothe                                       Jeff Mullally

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Jack McGrath                                        Rejean Berthiaume