Over the past year your Board of Directors studied the possibility of a merger with a larger union. After careful analysis of unions in both the private and public sector, the Board concluded that there was no other organization that had a magic solution for the challenges faced by our group and definitely not with a price tag that made sense. Some members felt that being part of a larger organization would somehow give us a stronger hand at the bargaining table. Your Board examined this notion. However, the sad truth is that our employer’s approach to collective bargaining is still in a bygone era. It appears that if the employer’s negotiator knows that our negotiator does not have the ultimate weapon of the withdrawal of services, it does not matter how good the negotiator or how large the organization. There is no feeling on the employer’s part that they need to offer anything other than a pattern settlement because they do not need to avoid the possibility of a disruption in the workplace. Unfortunately, it appears that the outdated method of a strike is all they understand and we cannot buy that service from another organization. Therefore, your Board felt that it was senseless to pay higher dues to another organization for a service that they cannot deliver. It was concluded that we should remain in control of our own future and use our resources and member’s talents to find innovative solutions to ensure the future success of our association.
The employer has been talking a lot about modernizing human resource management, but there is no indication that they intend to modernize their approach to collective bargaining. We need to work hard to change the employer’s current thinking. Our approach to labour relations was cutting edge when we started 14 years ago. There is no reason that our association cannot break new ground again and create a leading edge model for collective bargaining in the future.
Your Board of Directors has began a process of renewal and building sound foundations for our future. We need to harness the pride we feel in our profession and combine it with our collective bargaining interests. We need to be leaders in the advancement of sound public sector financial management and be vigorous promoters of our members’ contribution to the effective management of public resources so that Canadians have a heightened awareness of our contribution to sound public sector financial practices. When the Board’s plan to reinvent our association is unveiled at a Special General Meeting in the fall of 2003, it is hoped that you will agree that your association can find a better way that will once again continue to put us on the cutting edge. WE CAN DO IT!