February 3, 2021
Brothers and Sisters,
I wanted to take a moment and give you some updates on what has taken place over the last month, since the newly elected members of your executive board have taken over in their roles.
At Canadian Pacific, there have been a number of new initiatives that we are excited about. Excited because our members will have their grievances heard, first through a monthly grievance resolve meeting with Directors and CP Directors and Assistant Chiefs, and if unable to resolve at that level, there are quarterly grievance resolve meetings with the President/Vice President, with Chief Engineers and the Vice President of Engineering at CP. These resolve meetings open the door for many grievances to be resolved.
We have also entered into a mediation/arbitration process that will be done twice annually in the East and West. We currently have dates booked in the East for the end of April and in the West for Mid May. These meetings will take place over two days in each area and will give us the opportunity to have in the hundreds of grievances heard by an arbitrator this year alone. This med/arb process will not cover larger grievances involving dismissal or large scale contracting out, as they are done in an expedited fashion and the rulings are not with prejudice or precedent, meaning that we cannot use them down the road in other cases. This limits the type of grievance that can be heard but we have enough to keep us busy for the foreseeable future.
Larger grievances, which are typically dealt with at the Canadian Railway Office of Arbitration will continue to do so. We are working with our Labour partners along with Companies that form the CROA committee to fix the issues that we currently have with this system, whereby it has been difficult to keep arbitrators willing to be involved in this process. Currently we are working with the federal mediation services to find solutions to ensure that CROA remains the important institution it is to our members and organisations alike. There are currently only 3 of the upcoming twelve months that have arbitrators booked for them and this is backing up the process but we are looking at any measure possible to get these cases in front of an arbitrator.
Contracting Out meetings have taken place across the county and I was able to attend all of them remotely with the Region Director. We have a number of takeaways from these meetings but we were able to convey a consistent message across the country. The message was that if you are not looking for ways for our members to be in the seat of a machine, doing the jobs that we have always done and equipping and training our members to do these jobs, you are not living up to the commitment made in the collective agreement. I expect that over the next few months, there will be some pinpointed challenges of contracting out that will be made across the country, based on the information we received through these meetings. I want to take an opportunity to thank the local chairmen and leaders that were able to attend these meetings and give their input for contracting out in their areas. These local leaders were able to give specific examples that were helpful in all of the arguments that we were making.
For the first time ever, we engaged our membership in a survey and to date, we have had 560 responses that will give us guidance in how you, the members want to see us move forward. We appreciate everyone who has taken time to fill this out and this newsletter is in response to one of the consistent messages that we received, that we need to communicate what is going on better! Also in the works are changes to our website that will make it easier to contact us for issues such as reporting contractors and other things as easy as being able to change your address or apply for a withdrawal card if laid off. With work, our website will become more of a communication tool than we have ever used it for before.
We will continue to engage the membership at every turn possible and the information that this survey has provided will guide us going forward. We will make effort to put out an update on the state of affairs that are important to our members as often as possible and the Regional Directors will be involved in giving these updates for their region in the future as well as reporting when grievance resolve meetings start rolling.
As a closing remark on this update, we are entering into the season for initial gang bulletins and given the issues with bid/awards that need to be fixed, keep your Director up to date on any lapses in communication from this department as these initial awards being correct are what we base our next year on, whether we are close to home, whether we are working at our preferred position and whether we gain seniority at the time that we should. We as a local will allocate resources into making sure that these are correct and that issues are dealt with in a timely manner.
Be good to each other, we remain strong because we are united. We will only become stronger when the entire membership understands that it is their solidarity that gives us as an executive board the tools necessary to remedy the problems that we face every day.