First Ever Dues Increases Approved by Members at the AJC's Annual General Meeting :: Association of Justice Counsel News
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May 7th, 2015
May 7th, 2015

First Ever Dues Increases Approved by Members at the AJC's Annual General Meeting

The AJC faces a new bargaining reality

Dear AJC members,

As you know, the Association of Justice Counsel's 2015 AGM was held on Wednesday April 22nd in Ottawa.  

As usual, the AJC had sent several notices and reminders for the annual meeting, starting with a request for proposals in January.  All meeting materials were available to members starting on March 22nd, thirty days before the AGM.

This year's AGM included the following items:
* Amendments to AJC bylaws
* Presentation and approval of the AJC audited financial statements
* President's report (year in review)
* Report of the Job Action Committee
* Dues increase proposal

The dues increase proposal was the main hot topic.  

In my report, I reminded members of the new bargaining reality we now face.  With the adoption of Bill C-4, our right to arbitration has been removed. The government is forcing the AJC to consider conciliation/job action if we ever reach an impasse. To put it bluntly: we can either take a stand or accept the conditions imposed on us by the Employer.

I explained the rationale behind the dues increase:
* We are now forced to contemplate job action.
* Bargaining is long and tough and it is clear that the AJC needs more leverage.
* We need to show Treasury Board we are serious.  
* To gain leverage will require us to build our coffers.

I referred to the Job Action Committee report (you can find it in the AGM 2015 section of the AJC website) which lists what other union members are paying.  The annual dues increase over each of the next 2 years represents essentially a median increase of $13 per pay, which is tax deductible.  I also reminded members that since the AJC's creation, dues have never been increased and have been one of the lowest in the public service.  

We also discussed how there are different forms of job action and not all of them cost money. I used the example of the Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers (PAFSO), a comparable in size public service union of professionals, some of whom are also members of the legal profession. PAFSO took its first effective job action in 2012, which included targeted measures.

Members asked many questions and engaged in a healthy debate regarding the Governing Council's recommendation to increase dues, following which the motion to adopt a dues increase was put to a vote.  It passed with just over 80% (80.6%) of votes cast in favour (in accordance with AJC's bylaws where at least two-thirds of the votes are required for a dues increase).  

This therefore means that there will be 2 dues increases over the next 2 years:
* from 0.75% of salary to 1.0% effective July 1, 2015,
* and then to 1.25% of salary effective July 1, 2016.

I would like to thank all Governing Council representatives, especially those on the Job Action Committee, and all regular members who participated in our Annual General Membership meeting and exercised their right to vote.  With your support, we can now build our coffers, develop a sound job action strategy in the event of a bargaining impasse and send a strong message to the Employer.

Please remember that our collective efforts are far from over.  We remain committed to negotiating a settlement and would not, and cannot initiate any form of job action without first putting the question to a vote of the regular membership.  

Your AJC negotiating team is scheduled to meet with Treasury Board for another bargaining session at the beginning of June.

No doubt, some of you still have questions. I am hopeful that most of these will have been answered after reading the AGM meeting materials, including the Job Action Committee report and proposed dues increase resolution.  If not, I remain available to answer any unanswered questions you may have.

Your AJC President,
Len MacKay

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