Update on the 2012 Federal Budget and Its Potential Impacts on the LA Workforce  :: Association of Justice Counsel News
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April 23rd, 2012
April 23rd, 2012

Update on the 2012 Federal Budget and Its Potential Impacts on the LA Workforce

Since the release of the 2012 Budget, the AJC has been and continues to be actively engaged in discussions with senior management at the DOJ, PPSC, VAC and other federal departments and agencies where our members work.

The last few weeks have not been easy. A cloud of uncertainty continues to hang over the extent of the impacts the budget will have on the LA community.  Morale remains extremely low.

We want you to know that we are doing our best to get information as quickly and as accurately as we can from the departments so we can serve you.

AJC has relentlessly pursued setting up WFA Committees at both the national and regional levels. The DOJ National WFA Committee has now met twice, once on March 22nd (before the 2012 Budget was tabled), and most recently on April 18th. PPSC and other departments are continuing to mobilize.

We have confirmed at the DOJ that cuts are projected at 10% over three years. We want to assure members that we have repeatedly asked management to shed light on how resources will be reallocated to hit these budget targets. Quite simply, we want to know whether it will be through natural attrition or other staffing actions.  

Unfortunately, very few details have been forthcoming. DOJ officials will only say that they are continuing to develop their budget implementation plan and that, to date, no final decisions have been taken regarding workforce adjustment. At the meeting of the DOJ WFA Committee on April 18th, management was not even in a position to provide a timeline on when we can expect to learn the extent of any workforce adjustment.

Despite these assertions, AJC has received reports from the ground that a number of DLSUs within the Business and Regulatory Law Portfolio are going to be merged. Furthermore, some members have already been told by their supervisors to expect job cuts, and that some will have to participate in so-called “reverse competitions” to protect their positions.

AJC wants to stress that these details were not disclosed to us by senior management prior to sharing it with our members. It is our position that withholding information --intentionally or not-- has the effect of excluding AJC from any dialogue management may be engaging in with our members about workforce.

Incidents like this run afoul of the WFA Directive, and the Terms of Reference of the DOJ WFA Committee. On a more fundamental level, they undermine our role as the bargaining representative for the LA community and do harm to our labour relations.

We have stated our position, in no uncertain terms, that we expect DOJ management will take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that all details relevant to the LA workforce be communicated to the AJC as soon as possible, and in accordance with the WFA Directive protocol. This will be the surest way to avoid adding any unnecessary angst and confusion amongst the membership.

As for the PPSC, the 2012 Budget states that they are required to trim a further 5% from their operational budget over the next three years. The PPSC is not in a position to provide any assurances that there will not be any workforce adjustment, although the hope is that the impact can be minimized and managed largely through natural attrition. We have received essentially the same message from management at VAC (Bureau of Pension Advocates). We will keep members informed as we continue to receive updates from other federal departments.

The AJC intends to hold information sessions once more information becomes available and will make every effort to answer questions from the membership based on what we know. For more information on workforce adjustment, we encourage the members to consult the FAQs we have posted to our website.

As we await further details, we have assembled a table that summarizes where things stand by department or agency. If the department or agency is not mentioned, please feel free to contact our offices. It may be that the department or agency has not yet established NLMCCs or participates in LMCCs at a regional level.

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