October 23, 2016 at 11:45 AM
Subject: FCM Schedules
Since ratifying the collective agreement on February 5, 2016, arguably the most contentious issue Unifor has had to deal with is the ongoing distain surrounding the FCM’s schedules.
Unifor has heard loud and clear how dissatisfied you are with the schedules the company issues every thirty days, the number of changes the company makes to the schedules after issuance, and the cross utilization of cargo and line schedules (just to name a few).
As a result of the numerous scheduling related issues the FCM's have brought forward, the Union has initiated a number of meetings, conference calls and filed grievances to address these important matters due to the impact schedules have on the FCM's quality of life. Progress has been slow but improvements are being made based on how the schedules were implemented back in March.
We continue to discuss issues on an on-going basis with the company, most recently on September 30, 2016. The Union and the Company – along with their labour relations expert – met in St. John's on September 30 to address a number of concerns, however, the issue surrounding scheduling took up the majority of that meeting.
Earlier this week the company held base meetings whereby they spoke about developing rotational shifts such as 6&5 and 6&4 schedules. Those schedules would appear to be an improvement to the current shifts the FCM's have been working to date. The Union would like to fully explore what these types of shifts would look like for both short term and long term timeframes; meaning, we know that on certain months some FCM's would have less GDO's than what the collective agreement provides while on other months the FCM receives more than the minimum GDO's. However, the schedules appear to average out over a five-month rotation.
On October 20, the Company presented the union with a 6&5 and 6&4 shifts for both the Halifax and Gander bases. The Company wanted the union to recognize and agree to the new rotational shift by the following day – October 21, 2016. Given the history and road we have traveled, and the problems and concerns brought forward during the last eight months, Unifor was not prepared to make a decision in haste without doing our due diligence, especially when having to agree to language that is contrary to the collective agreement. We have advised the company that we cannot, at this time, agree to have this shift implemented for November, 2016. However, we will meet internally to discuss and note all the issues we need to address prior to potentially agreeing and implementing this type of scheduled beyond November.
We have advised the company that Unifor membership meetings are scheduled for November 9 and 10 where these matters will be discussed in detail. We want to ensure that we cover off all matters prior to entering a different shift configuration.
Some of the issues we need to consider and agree to prior to implementation are:
Develop a Letter of Understanding (LOU) in order to recognize a shift pattern that is outside the collective agreement
The parties would have to agree that this type of shift is initiated on a trial basis and will expire on March 31, 2017 or sooner with appropriated notice if the Union elects
The LOU would indicate the types of rotations to be worked by the particular FCM's per base
Monthly notification of schedule
Schedules indicating both calendar days and schedule days
GDO's will not be changed
Value of a duty day – 24 hours free from duty
If an FCM is asked to work on a GDO, they will be compensated for Article 6.06
SIM and associated travel may not be able to be scheduled in line with fixed schedule. Each travel day, training day and or simulator day will be treated as a work day. When a travel day, training day, or simulator day occurs on a GDO the effected GDO(s) will slide to the closest work segment and replace the same number of work days
When the averaging period for the schedule ends, each member's GDO's will be counted in order to confirm they have received their minimum GDO’s required under Article 6.01. If the member(s) did not receive their minimum GDO's they will be compensated. The FCM will have the option to either be paid for the missing GDO's per article 6.06 or have the day credited to the FCM within sixty (60) days or to a mutually agreeable date etc.
The above issues are just some of the many factors that Unifor needs to consider prior to agreeing and implementing this type of rotation. Unifor would have been remiss in our responsibilities if we had simply said 'yes' to the new schedule without considering future impacts. Further, we could not in all good conscious say 'yes' within twenty-four hours of being provided notification. Due diligence and membership feedback is imperative before we can agree on such a change to the schedules.
The Union’s intention is to ensure we can improve the quality of life for our members. If the proposed rotational schedule accomplishes this undertaking without jeopardizing other rights in the collective agreement, we will work with the company to ensure that we implement the schedule as soon as possible. However, this will only occur after we have factored in all of the issues that need to be addressed.
We look forward to discussing these and other issues with you at our membership meetings on November 9 and 10. Once meeting locations and times are confirmed we will advise you of the details.
For more information, please contact:
Ashley Watkins, Assistant to the Local President
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