Dear sisters and brothers – As you’re a
likely aware nape has reached a tentative agreement with your employer. Your
bargaining team is made up of democratically elected rank-and-file
members from your bargaining unit. All teams are recommending acceptance of
this agreement. The tentative agreements apply to the following NAPE bargaining
units: Air Services, CNA Faculty, CNA Support Staff,
Correctional Officers, General Service, Group Homes, Health Professionals,
Hospital Support Staff, Lab and X-Ray, Marine Services, Maintenance and
Operational Services, NLC, School Boards, Student Assistants, Ushers, and
WorkplaceNL. I will take the next few minutes to explain the agreements – how
they will affect you – why your bargaining teams believe this the best
possible deal we could get given the current fiscal circumstances of the
province – and why the teams think you should vote in favour of this deal. Before
I go any further, I want to take a moment to thank each and every one of you for
the vital work you do for the people of the province. I must commend your
dedication professionalism and hard work to provide vital public services that
the people of our province rely on. Our province works because you do. Thank you
for everything you do. Given the current fiscal position of the
province, this is a difficult time for bargaining on many fronts. In other parts
of the country, collective bargaining and labour relations are under attack. We are
seeing workers’ wages and rights being rolled back in Alberta and Ontario.
Unfortunately, the province’s fiscal situation has not improved over the last
year. If we discount the $2.5 billion received from the Atlantic Accord, the
deficit has gone from $575 million to $943 million. The province’s net debt has grown
from $13.77 billion to $13.95 billion. That
said, public sector members have more than contributed your fair share to help
deal with the province’s fiscal challenges in recent years. Before this
round of bargaining began, your union made it clear to the
provincial government and to our members that the status quo was unacceptable. We
fully understand the financial situation of the province, but we were clear we
would not allow the burden of the problem – a problem members did not create – to be
balanced on your backs. Over the course of several weeks late in the fall of
2019, discussions regarding collective
bargaining began to pick up steam. It became clear that both sides wanted
stability – for the province, for public services, and for our members. After
marathon sessions in November, your union was able to reach an agreement with the
government on a contract extension. So, this was not an easy task. But we are
pleased with the result. What does a contract extension mean to you? It means
instead of going through what could have been a long, drawn-out bargaining process
both sides agreed to extend the provisions of the existing collective
agreement for a period of time. This means the provisions and the
protections of your agreement stay in place. The contract clauses dealing with
no layoff, sick leave, family leave, contracting out, public-private
partnerships – just to name a few – will stay in place for the next two years at least.
In any round of bargaining, you have an opportunity to make gains as a worker
and as a union; however, at the same time the employer also has an opportunity to
ask to have things added or taken away from your contract. This is not to say
that we would accept any of the employer’s proposals. But in the tentative
agreements we have negotiated, all of the provisions you currently enjoy are
protected for at least the next two years. So, with that in mind, let’s get
into the details. The agreement includes a salary increase of four percent over
18 months. The initial two percent increase will come on the first day
after your current agreement expires. For most groups, that’s April 1, 2020. One year later you’ll receive an additional 1 percent increase, followed
six months later by the final one percent increase. If accepted by the members, this
will be the first time in many years that a salary increase would be
implemented on the first of the agreement. Just to put things in
perspective, the last round of bargaining took nearly two years to complete. If
NAPE members vote to accept, your contracts will be extended by two years In addition to a wage increase, the
employer and NAPE have agreed to establish a committee to find out if it
would be practical and beneficial to establish a joint trust arrangement to
manage group insurance programs. The committee will be established by
December 31, 2020, and will conclude its work by December 31, 2021. As you may
recall, a joint trusteeship was created for the public sector pension plan (PSPP),
which is now 94 percent funded – a significant improvement since the joint
trusteeship was formed. A joint trusteeship means your union would have
some level of control and say over the group insurance plans (health, dental
accidental death and dismemberment, etc.). In return the union would accept some
level of liability as a partner in the plans. With joint trusteeship, your union
would have much more control and say in how the plans operate and any changes
that are made. The assessment process would allow both parties, the union and
the government, to have a third party determined the viability of such an
arrangement. Group insurance coverage is extremely important to our members. We
believe joint trusteeship would be in the best interest of the long-term
stability and viability of group insurance programs – just as it was for
the pension plan. Part of the tentative agreement includes changes to other post-retirement benefits or OPEBs for short. OPEBs in this case refer to post-
retirement group insurance coverage. If members vote to accept the agreement, all
current employees who qualify for post- employment benefit coverage will be
eligible for 50/50 premium sharing with the employer. As you may recall, there
were some changes in the last agreement on this front. This reverses those
changes, which is a benefit to all current members of the union covered
under these agreements. All employees hired after commencement of the new
agreement who qualify for post-employment benefit coverage will
pay 60%, and the employer will pay 40%. The first possible changes for the new
hires will be 15 years from now and will likely be 30 plus years for most. In
the interim, we will work to set up a joint trustee to help deal with the OPEB
issues. To be clear, OPEB coverage will not change for
current employees and will actually improve for those of you were affected
by changes in the last agreement. While it will affect new hires, we will have
time to help improve the situation for this group in the next number of years. The final aspect of this agreement is the
savings that may be realized on future Public Sector Pension Plan (PSPP) premiums.
These are paid equally by you and your employer. These changes will come about
because of changes to the Canada Pension Plan or CPP that will see premiums and
benefits increase. The PSPP is integrated with the CPP. You can find information
about this on the Provident 10 website. In essence, this provision says that any
savings realized in PSPP premiums should benefit you directly. The federal
government has made changes to the CPP that could mean savings to the
provincial government and the pension plan. Instead of treating these savings
as general revenue, they will be passed along to members as part of the salary
increase. In summary, here are the changes you are a voting on: a salary increase; a
two-year extension of the current agreements; changes to Other Post-
Retirement Benefits for future members; a study to assess the feasibility of joint
trusteeship for group insurance; passing on to members any savings resulting from
CPP changes. Voting is open at 9:00 a.m. Newfoundland Standard Time on January
27 and will be open until January 31 at 4:00 p.m. Newfoundland Standard Time.
You have five days to think this through, talk it over with family and
friends or other union members, and to reach out to your union if you have any
questions. In addition to this video, we have posted
additional information on the NAPE website including a copy of each of the
agreements and answers to frequently asked questions. We have also set up
a telephone hotline you can call with any questions
you may have. The phone bank is staffed by members of
your bargaining teams as well as senior senior staff negotiators. The toll-free number is 1-844-919-1977. It will be open from January 27-31. NAPE is your union. So please take the time to familiarize yourself with the tentative agreement, ask any questions you may have, and exercise your democratic right to vote. By now, you will have received either an email or physical mail with details on how to vote online or by phone. I won’t get into the details here since the purpose of this video is to talk about the agreements. Given the current fiscal and labour relations environment in our province and across the country, your teams, consisting of 100 NAPE members like you, are unanimously recommending acceptance of this agreement. Your union told you the status quo would not be acceptable. Your union delivered on that commitment. We firmly believe this is the best deal possible. Thank you for all that you do for your province and your union. Solidarity, sisters and brothers.

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