"There is trouble in River City" and it revolves around the joint gainsharing initiative.  I have noted below the mandate of the Joint Productivity Committee from MOU # 1 of the Collective Agreement.

The Committee will meet at least quarterly to discuss and make recommendations that: 

Identify improvements in processes and work practices;
Identify enhancements in the delivery of services to the public in an efficient and cost effective manner;
Identify innovations; and
Identify efficiencies throughout the organization.  These recommendations will be reviewed by representatives of the Executive Committees of both Parties prior to submission to the Assessment Commissioner. 

Further, the Committee will: 

Monitor the results of the gainsharing formula;
Communicate the results of this initiative; and
Make recommendations to the Parties for future development of this program, including the measurement criteria.

During the last negotiations, the Employer made it very clear that there was no will to change the wording of MOU # 1 in any way.  The employer was emphatically definite that there would be no change in the wording of the formula because of the "political realties".  The determination of the employer to not address changes of any manner with regard to the joint gainsharing initiative has been reinforced over the last two Joint Productivity Committee meetings.  Again, at our recent grievance meeting the Employer reiterated this policy of non-innovation due to a political perception of government policy.

It is with regret and disappointment that the Union component of the Joint Productivity Committee has come to realize that only one party has brought energy to the table to conform to the mandate of the committee.  We note that that party is the Union.

Bullets # 1 through # 4 of the committee mandate deal with improvements, enhancements, innovation and efficiencies.  These are items that the Union has always felt very strongly about.  These strong feelings emanate from the professionalism and work ethic of the bargaining unit members presenting a quality assessment roll on an annual basis for near to three decades.  At a previous Joint Productivity meeting, the Union component identified seven items of improvement with regard the gainsharing initiative.  Only three of these items dealt directly with the formula.  The Union can bring this type of positive suggestion to the table by means of the Joint Labour Relations Committee.  We are not restricted to the mandate of the Joint Productivity Committee in this regard.  Bullets #  5 and #  6 of the committee’s mandate would require only a single meeting to review the figures and then to draw up a communications bulletin.  Bullet # 7 deals directly with the formula and its possible change.  If the Employer’s approach to bullet # 7 is restricted by the Employer aligning itself to a perception of a third party’s politics, then this introduction of a third party renders joint consultation meaningless.

Accordingly, the Union has cancelled the scheduled June 11th meeting of the Joint Productivity Committee.  Given the stated position of the employer regarding joint productivity, it is also unlikely that a third quarter meeting would be productive in any way.

Here is the bottom line, the skinny, the full meal deal, where the rubber hits the road, etc.  All the variables contained within the gainsharing formula are under the direct control of the employer, but the only real effective variable is the FTE count.  For example, an increase in new construction of ONE BILLION dollars will only move the gainsharing percentage by .02% all other factors remaining the same.  A THREE BILLION dollar change will effect a .06% change.  On the other hand, a downward change of 10 FTEs will bring about a change of almost one third of a percent (.030%).

The employer has acquiesced to a reduction in FTEs under Core Review of more than 20%.  This has severely hampered our ability to conform to our core function responsibilities.  The gainsharing formula is totally dedicated to core function.  Our employer has further reduced our core function staffing by valueBC secondments by another 20%.  In the past, the FTE component of the gainshare formula was adjusted for such secondments (i.e. Operations Review Committee).  The Employer refuses to take similar action with regard valueBC staffing.

What we are facing here is a paternalistic, despotic attitude (pda) from the employer that has replaced a joint consultation process.  This "pda" has also pervaded the Employer’s approach to the interpretation of the Collective Agreement provisions.  However, in the latter case we have a grievance procedure to follow.  There is an active grievance in place as to the gainsharing calculation for the 2004 payment.  The Union Executive Board is being asked for direction by the committee component on how to proceed with regard joint discussion through this report to the board meeting.

Respectfully submitted,
Mike M

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