PUBLIC SECTOR NEGOTIATIONS UPDATE 3
May 11, 2016
TO: All Public Sector Members
FR: NAPE President Jerry Earle
Dear brother / sister, I am writing you today to provide our third update on the current round of public sector bargaining.
In February, NAPE served notice to the provincial government and respective employers to commence collective bargaining to seek amendments to the existing public sector Collective Agreements.
Since that time, there is, quite honestly, little to update you on.
At this stage, proposals have not been exchanged and no dates have been set at the timing of writing this memo to do so.
While we have been focused on the impact of the provincial budget on members and the services they provide in recent weeks, we have also been working and keeping on top of our internal work related to bargaining.
NAPE’s Bargaining Oversight Committee has met three times since our last update to discuss, plan, and strategize for bargaining.
On March 4, all members of the various bargaining teams participated in a Negotiating Teams Conference in St. John’s. The Conference was an opportunity for the negotiating teams to receive negotiating training, take in workshops, and hear from guest speakers who are experts in the field.
As you are probably aware, the Liberal government hired a high-priced law firm and a crisis management specialist with close Liberal ties to handle public sector negotiations. At a time when this government, this Premier, is telling the people of the province that they have no money for libraries, for Masonic Park, for over 650 jobs, for courts, offices, and so many other important services – this announcement came as a shock to your union.
The government has hired the services of McInnes Cooper, a law firm that specializes in labour law, as well as Cathy Dornan, a crisis management specialist. The contract could mean the province is spending over $500 per hour on the upcoming set of public sector negotiations. This amount would be on top of what they are spending on their current staff who normally handles negotiations. In one week, the firm racked up $14,000 in fees.
Let me be very clear, to this government, to the lawyers hired to handle negotiations and to our members – NAPE will not be intimidated. We will go to the bargaining table strong and united. We will negotiate with the goal of reaching fair agreements for our members. We have negotiated with employers, governments, and lawyers across this province for years. We are ready to be strong, but we are also ready to be fair.
We are in the very early stages of the negotiation process. I understand these are difficult times for many in our membership. We are doing our utmost to push back against the cuts, office closures, and job losses. We are showing the people of the province that we are ready, willing, and more than able to stand up to this government and you have my assurance that we will continue to do so at the negotiating table.
We will continue to update members as negotiations progress.
NOTE: I would caution members not to pay heed to or contribute to the dissemination of rumours concerning bargaining. We will keep you informed of any facts and/or developments as they arise. Sharing unfounded rumours does not aid in the bargaining process.
I would also like to take a moment to thank you, on behalf of Secretary-Treasurer Bert Blundon and the entire Board of Directors for your unwavering and passionate support in the past few weeks since the budget came down.