UTE LOCAL 00051
October 22, 2008
On behalf of myself and the
Executive Council, we would like to welcome each and every one of
you to Local 00051’s eighth annual general meeting.
This past year has been hectic as
usual but a very proud one as this is the very first time in the
history of the Public Service Alliance of Canada and the Union of
Taxation Employees that a Collective Agreement was negotiated
before the previous one has ended, a historic milestone in its
During this round of bargaining,
the parties negotiated the conversion to a new Agency
classification standard, an economic increase of 2.5% for each
year during the life of the contract, changes to the Agency’s
policy on term workers and enhanced benefits for part-time workers
including improved overtime provisions, as well as overall gains
in personal and bereavement leaves and some improvement in
In July, myself, Robin Johnson,
Rocco Scalera, Greg Sabat and Hamid Akbar attended the UTE
National Convention in Vancouver, British Columbia on behalf of
the Local. At this convention, we accomplished a great deal
of work. The budget was adopted, which included a monthly
dues increase of $0.25 for each 2009, 2010 and 2011 (if required).
Resolutions were carried to hold three Regional Health and Safety
Conferences and a National EAP Conference before the next
Convention. Re-elected to their positions were Sister Betty
Bannon, National President, Brother Bob Campbell, 1st
National Vice-President and Brother Denis Lalancette, 2nd
National Vice-President. It was also at this Convention that
Robin Johnson, of our office, was elected as Regional
Vice-President (RVP) of Greater Toronto and Esther Burt, President
of Local 00048 was elected as Alternate Regional Vice-President.
Congratulations to the winning incumbents!
It was also in July that our
members of the Eastern Distribution Centre (also known as Keaton
Warehouse) were given the shocking news that the warehouse would
be closing its doors in July, 2009 and that the function of the
warehouse would be relocated to Winnipeg. As a result, we also
lost the opportunity of being the mailroom hub for Greater
Toronto. This function will be performed by Sudbury in
November, 2008. Because of this move, we now have 35
employees affected by this change. The majority of these
employees are SP02s and are the lowest paid in the organization
and, what makes our task to place them quite daunting, are the
limited positions available for this grade and level. But
with the co-operation of the CRA, employees and union
representatives we hope to prevail and, if possible, see no lay-offs
We have also worked hard within the
past year in regards to accommodation within the workplace.
We are still finding a lot of inconsistencies, barriers and
inappropriate application of the Duty to Accommodate Policy.
In many instances, the Employer is still insisting that the only
way a member can be accommodated is with the approval from Health
We are still pursuing all
accommodation requests on an individual basis, as all needs are
not the same. We are also continuing to push the Employer to
accept a letter from the employee’s treating doctor rather than
going to Health Canada, as going to Health Canada can only result
in further suffering and deterioration of our member’s health.
Because of the difficulties in
handling accommodation issues, it has been recognized by our
Director, Anuradha Marisetti that training for Senior Management
to team leaders would be helpful. To this end, she purchased
CDs of two (2) audio conferences held by Lancaster House which
deal with accommodating “invisible disabilities” like mental
illness and conditions relating to workplace stress and deals with
issues involving access to and disclosure of medical information
during the accommodation process. This information will
subsequently be rolled out to management in the near future.
In September and October, information sessions were rolled out to
management regarding the Agency’s Illness and Injury Policy.
President, UTE Local 00051