Regional Conference 2009

Newfoundland Labrador and New Brunswick

UNDE Newfoundland/Labrador & New Brunswick
 Regional Conference
July 10 and 11, 2009

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Newfoundland/Labrador & New Brunswick Regional Conference kicked off on Friday, July 10 with 12 participants, 4 guests and 4 UNDE National Officers.  Brother Dennis Sheppard, Acting VP NL/NB, opened the conference with greetings and regrets from Sister Debbie Graham, VP NL & NB, who unfortunately could not attend the conference.  Brother Dennis also advised that President UNDE Local 60303 was also forced to cancel for personal reasons.  The harassment statement was read, followed by greetings from the hosting Gander Locals and from the employer representative from the Wing.  Sister Mary Chamberlain, UNDE EVP brought greetings and regrets from the UNDE National President and thanked Brother Dennis  for stepping in on short notice to ensure the smooth running of the conference.  She encouraged the members to actively participate and to ask questions of the experts who had been invited to address the agenda subjects; and asked for assistance and patience as we worked through a very packed agenda arranged by Sister Graham.

Bruce Christianson, D Safe G Civilian Health and Return to Work Coordinator, gave an overview of what the structure and conduct of Canada Labour Code (CLC)  legislated Work Place Health and Safety Committees – confirming that committees should be of equalrepresentation; and, return to work (RTW) – again confirming that the union has a role in the RTW process.  He also provided an update on the CLC changes addressing violence in the work place and stated that it is expected that the national policy committee will meet in the fall to start work on the mandated DND policy [Sister Graham is a member of the National Policy Committee]  (Presentation 1 attached)

Jim Stewart, HR Civ Atlantic Director, was asked to address the role of HR Civ – he corrected some misconceptions by confirming that the only delegated decision making authority HR Civ has in regards to DND civilian employees is in staffing and classifications.  He confirmed that HR Civ provides advice to the delegated managers.  (Presentation 2 attached)

Robin MacKay, Labour Relations SME Atlantic, was asked to address the role of HR Civ in responding to labour relations issues.  Robin reconfirmed the information shared by Jim Stewart stating that HR Civ advises management and has no delegated decision making authority except in staffing and classifications.  Robin also clarified the role of HROs in the LMRC forums, they are advisors to the committee.  (Presentation 3 attached)

A very informative presentation on Workplace Bullying, Intimidation & Harassment was made by Lorraine Hearn, Regional Coordinator Central West Committee Against Violence, and Mary-Lynn Brinson, Regional Coordinator Roads to End Violence – Central East (Provincial organization).  Almost unanimously, the conference participants felt that more education is needed for our Local representatives. (presentation 4 attached)

Following a hearty Newfie scoff, Brother Phil Turcq, VP Quebec and Chair of the UNDE Defence Construction Committee (DCC), gave the members an update of the decisions made by the committee members at their May 2009 initial meeting – one being that the privatisation aspect of their mandate had been passed to the GLT Committee.  The challenge facing UNDE – and the DCC Committee – is the DND’s use of DCC’s services and DCC’s efforts to take over UNDE-represented members’ work.  The members were advised that committee updates and activities could be found on the UNDE DCC website.  A fall DCC Committee meeting is planned, dates to be confirmed.

The conference recessed and reconvened on a tour boat at Twillingate.  The participants were given a face-to-face view of icebergs that had floated down from Greenland to Newfoundland.  We were advised that approximately a week ago, the many icebergs we could see had made up one massive ice berg.  Local UNDE members advised that chunks of the icebergs are harvested and used in the making of ice cream, vodka, rum and other local products.  Following the boat tour, we were treated to a down home Newfie supper and comedy club with a hilarious performance of skits and songs by local entertainers.  An excellent time was had by all.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Saturday morning found the participants eager to move on with the agenda.  Following opening remarks, and welcoming Sister Cathy Murphy and Brother Larry Welsh from the PSAC Regional Office, Brother Dennis passed the mike to Sister Mary who again brought greetings from the National President.  She provided an update on the union since the UNDE Convention.  Highlights: UNDE currently sits at 18,500 members with an operating surplus of approximately $400,000.00.  She advised that this operating surplus could be impacted by the recent loss to our investments and that  UNDE is facing a shortfall of approximately $650,000 in the staff’s pension fund.  And that as a result of recent contract settlements with the UNDE staff, another actuarial review will have to be done before the UNDE NE decides how to address the shortfall in the pension fund.

Sister Mary gave an update of the activities of the various UNDE standing committees – DCC had met in May and Brother Phil had reported; GLT had met in June and Brother Mark Miller, UNDE VP BC and Chair, would report; GS had met in June and Brother Joe Lawrence, regional representative, would report; the Human Rights Coordinators were scheduled to meet in Ottawa end-August; Sister Mary also advised that UNDE had formed a Youth Committee and reported on their activities to date.  Lastly, the PSAC convention had generated an increase of 19 cents per member per month or .0003% dues increase, reminding the members that increase could vary slightly from member to member depending on the member’s salary.  Sister Mary also gave the members a view of the updated website.  She encouraged the members to visit the UNDE website regularly for information updates and to provide feedback.

Sister Mary stated that Sister Graham had asked that she respond to the HR issues being faced by the region.  Sister Mary stated that while Mr Stewart and Ms McKay, the HR representatives, had advised appropriately in regards to the roles and responsibilities of HR, she was aware of the reality and challenges being faced in some areas of the region with alleged HR interference.  Sister Mary went on to explain the UNDE NE’s position/decision in regards to HR’s role in joint training and consultation forums – that, contrary to the information shared by Ms MacKay, UNDE’s position is that LCC employees, PEs and HR are not recognized as employer representatives and that they should not be fulfilling any roles we would expect our employer representatives to perform, ie actively participating at LMRCs or in joint facilitations; and UNDE’s decision that the DND/UNDE LMRC Enhancement Training should be our first consideration.  Sister Mary stated that UNDE’s position should not be interpreted that UNDE does not support the PSAC/TB JLP – that is not so.  UNDE sees the value in the JLP, we simply prefer the DND/UNDE training since it was co-written with UNDE and our DND Managers co-facilitate.  She advised that more discussion could take place on UMCCs in the afternoon workshop.

Brother Mark, VP BC and Chair of the UNDE GLT Committee, provided the members with a history of the formation of the GLT Committee, past accomplishments and the future focus and mandate now that the national rates of pay and zones have  been resolved.  Brother Mark also advised the members that the GLT Committee had sent a letter to the President PSAC expressing their concerns on the issue of pay zones for strike pay that passed at the recent PSAC Convention.  Brother Mark also identified that he is the UNDE OPI for the Apprenticeship Program and that he is challenging the DCEP Bulletin 23 which allows military qualifications to be accepted for civilian positions.  Brother Mark stated that it is UNDE’s opinion that the bulletin is in contravention of the language in the new SV collective agreement.  He identified the GLT Committee website.

Brother Joe Lawrence, Member UNDE Local 60303 Gagetown and Regional Representative to the UNDE GS Committee, gave a very informative presentation on the committee mandate and focus.  (Presentation 5 attached)

Sister Jeannie Baldwin, PSAC REVP Atlantic, brought greetings from the President PSAC and provided the members with an update of news and political action activities ongoing in the Atlantic Region, highlighting the “Defending Quality Public Services” and the USGE “Save Our Farms” Campaign.  Sister Jeannie committed to follow up on CS Resolution 73 for an interpretation on whether or not the UNDE members in Goose Bay are considered as “north”.

The conference participants then broke off into cafe style workshops to address Health and Safety Issues and Return to Work (lead by Brother Mark); UMCCs/LMRCs (lead by Sister Mary); and Fight Backs (led by Brother Larry).  The Action Report developed from these workshops follows.

Brother Dennis’ skills in the kitchen guaranteed that Brother Mark was able to experience and enjoy, a specially-made lunch of “flippers”.

The conference was considered very informative and a great success.  The members expressed their thanks to Brother Dennis for his efforts.  Everyone wished Brother MacLennan and Sister Graham a speedy recovery.
In solidarity,
Dennis Sheppard,  Acting Vice President NL/NB
Mary Chamberlain, EVP

Handouts Provided to the Conference Participants:

PSAC Booklet on Staffing in the Public Service
UNDE’s Standing Staffing Questions for LMRCs

Although not shared at the conference, the PSAC also has a Health and Safety Tool Kit (attached)

Public Service Commission
Backgrounder – National Area of Selection (NAOS)

Public Service Labour Relations Act – Division 3

Public Service Staffing Tribunal – Complaint Procedural Guide, 2nd Edition

DND publications
Labour Relations Modernization at DND:  A Handbook for Managers (April 2005)
Staffing Modernization at DND:  A Handbook for Employees (January 2006)

DAOD 5008-0 – Civilian Labour-Management Relations

DAOD 5008-2 – Civilian Labour-Management Consultation

DAOD 5008-1 – Use of Departmental Premises and Equipment, and Electronic Network, for Bargaining Agent or Union Business

DCEP Bulletin 23 – Military Equivalencies (June 2007) (attached)
DCEP Bulletin 10 – Q&A reference Military Medical Priorities (May 2006) (attached)

DAOD 5026-0 – Civilian Grievances
Guidelines for Civilian Grievances (provided in hard copy)

D Safe G – Workplace Health and Safety Committee Guide (available through D Safe G and Base/Wing Safety Officers)

UNDE Newfoundland/Labrador & New Brunswick
Action Plan

The conference participants broke into 3 working groups and rotated through the groups so that every participant had input into the action plan for each subject.




Health & Safety
Return To Work
Violence in the Workplace
  1. Overall, education awareness
  2. Right to Refuse – situations should be discussed at JOSH meetings and identified in the minutes of meeting
  3. Rebuild trust when trust is broken and maintain a healthy relationship with the employer
  4. Specific training from the union rather than just relying on the employer’s resources
  5. RTW:  more education for the members with regards to RTW, the unions role and the implications of returning to work too early
  6. DND/employer representatives should attend contractor held Work Place H&S meetings to hear the concerns of the workers
  1. Education (national and local)
  2. Share information, issues and minutes
  3. Get more members involved
  4. Review LMRC structures and Terms of Reference (TORs)
  5. Standing agenda items, ie staffing and grievance reports
  6. When consultation fails, file grievances (respecting collective agreement timelines)
Fight Back Campaigns GLT, GS & DCC

  1. Share information, be proactive
  2. Keep the UNDE websites up-to-date
  3. Identify a Local Point of Contact (POC) in each Local for sharing information
  4. Awareness campaign
  5. Letters to the editor, members of parliament
  6. Lobbying members of parliament
  7. Build coalitions with other organizations, ie other unions, labour councils, municipal representatives
  8. Inform and involve the public
  9. Use all the resources available, ie UNDE and PSAC staff
Regional Committee Reps
Committee Chairs
Local Presidents
  1. Website blog
  2. Using the UNDE Regional/Local website
  3. Sharing of information via emails