AJC and Treasury Board Reach Tentative Agreement :: Association of Justice Counsel News
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June 27th, 2012
June 27th, 2012
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AJC and Treasury Board Reach Tentative Agreement

Dear Members:

This week marks yet another high watermark for the AJC and our members. As you know, our journey into the realm of collective bargaining began in 2006, more than five years ago. That first round was a challenging one. We were railroaded in negotiations, legislated under wage controls, and ultimately had an arbitral award imposed on us that failed to address our long standing concerns.  

Today, we have a different story to tell. After countless hours of face-to-face sessions, and relentless battling at the bargaining table, our efforts have finally paid off. Today, we are very pleased to report that on Monday, June 25, 2012 we have achieved an agreement in principle that will see our members receive a substantial 15.25% raise in the next collective agreement.

This tentative agreement is one that we can and should all be proud of.

First, consider the broader context. Look around. Almost nowhere in the world of labour will you find a result that matches or betters the double-digit increases we have gained. The harsh facts are that many of our colleagues are receiving meagre 1s and 2s, while some provinces are freezing wages entirely. Much of this has to do with the lingering uncertainty surrounding the economy, mounting public criticism on spending of the public purse, and other events which are beyond our control. This is why our tentative settlement is a positive outlier and what makes it all the more impressive. It really demonstrates our strength and uniqueness of positioning.

Second, the 15.25% increase allows us to play some quick catch-up with our provincial comparators. In national rankings, we will catapult from the bottom half of the table to third place. We aimed for second overall (which would have required more than a 20% increase), but notably, the salary max for our LA1s will rank second overall by leapfrogging over their equivalent provincial counterparts in Alberta. This will be particularly welcome news in that province, where recruitment and retention concerns are in a state of full blown crisis. Only Ontario remains ahead of us at every working level. However, the sheer size of the 15.25% increase will appreciably shrink the wage gap between us and them. This was our primary bargaining objective, and one that we can confidently say we achieved.  

And third, this tentative agreement didn't just happen overnight. We planned for this over the last three years. We set concrete goals, and implemented sound negotiating strategies. We sought the input of the Governing Council and the membership, and conceived a strong mandate from the membership at large. We marshalled reliable evidence, and gave true credibility to our proposals. We approached the bargaining table always with an open ear, but never a wavering focus. We sued under the Charter for past violations of our fundamental right to bargain, and won. And, most recently, we even persuaded a Parliamentary sub-committee to unanimously recommend a review of our prosecutors' salaries. So, in case there is any doubt, it was not as though Treasury Board was struck with an epiphany of generosity or goodness of heart that brought us to the doorstep of a settlement. They were forced to recognize and accept they had the greater risk on the table, and were finally forced to accept the realities of the pressures just mentioned.

So, let's remember these accomplishments as we move forward. The big picture view of the agreement in principle is important. It must be placed in context of one of the most difficult bargaining climates.

While the Negotiations Committee recommends this agreement in principle, in the end, however, this proposal is about giving our members the opportunity to vote their conscience on their future.

After essentially 20 years of wage controls imposed by this Employer in one form or another, our members have more than earned the right to have their say.  Regardless of the outcome of the ratification vote, the very fact that members will decide their own fate is a victory, in and of itself.

You can click on the following links to find a summary of the proposal, the full tentative agreement and a brief Q&A that will be updated regularly.  In the upcoming weeks, a conference call information session will be held prior to bargaining unit LAs being called to vote on the proposal.  Once the dates of the information sessions and votes are set, you will be notified.  Please encourage all non-registered members for whom we do not have contact information to register with the AJC using our membership form so that they may be kept up to date on the latest developments.

Sincerely,

Lisa Blais
President and Chief of the Negotiations Committee


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