Collective Bargaining

Arbitration Award: Fairness & Recognition for the FI Community

Tools and Resources
Revised FI Pay Grid
the New Collective Agreement Important Dates
Arbitration Award teleconference
Documents
Arbitration Brief Submissions
Official Arbitration Award

On April 5th, 2013 after 18 months of collective bargaining ACFO presented its evidence to the Arbitration Board. The Arbitration Board has now considered the evidence, deliberated, and rendered an award which is binding on the parties.  This final award settles the terms and conditions of a Collective Agreement for the FI group retroactive from November 2011 effective until November 2014.

The award provides for several improvements to benefits including a restructured pay grid, accelerated vacation entitlements, permanent roll-in of the CFO transition allowance, and improvements to leave with pay for care of immediate family and bereavement leave.   It is one of the most comprehensive collective bargaining advances we have earned together as FIs since our grassroots campaign to form our own association nearly 25 years ago.

Together we stood our ground and refused to accept an unfair offer by the Employer. Together we professionally advanced our cause based on evidence and together we have earned this result.  This decision validates our resolve to push for fairer wages, fairer benefits and fair value for the removal of voluntary severance.

Ensuring Fairness Through Your Right to Association

Without our having worked together as an association of FIs to protect our right to fair treatment and compensation, the Employer would have been free to impose whatever compensation package it deemed was appropriate.   That did not happen because we worked diligently together as a unified group of professionals.  Without working together every one of us would have only received at most 5.25% increase over the term of the contract.

This considerable achievement was a team effort fought for by FIs for FIs:

  • Thousands of us participated in the online collective bargaining survey in 2010;
  • Hundreds emailed, called and participated in live meetings with suggestions and support prior to, during and following the collective bargaining process;
  • Dozens of us served as volunteer members of the Collective Bargaining Committee to refine our proposals and strategies;
  • A democratically elected negotiating team and Board of Directors comprised of FIs diligently carried out professional, strategic and evidence-based bargaining;
  • Through membership dues, every FI supported our ability to retain  high-powered negotiators, lawyers, classification experts, translators and pay compensation researchers who put our best case forward.

Summary of the Award

Issues in Dispute ACFO’s Proposal Employer’s Proposal Award
Compensation
Rates of Pay  Salary increase:3.5% effective 2011

3.5% effective 2012

3.5% effective 2013

Restructure of Pay Grid: 4% to be added at the top increment to reduce to 7 increments at each FI level (vs. 9 increments).

Salary increase:1.5% effective 2011

1.5% effective 2012

1.5% effective 2013

Opposed to restructuring Pay Grid.

Salary Increases:1.5% effective 20111.5% effective 20121.5% effective 2013

Effective November 2013 a restructuring of the pay grid will occur with 1% being added at the top increment and the number of increments being harmonized at 7 increments for each FI level.

Every FI will be slotted into the increment at their FI level closest to, but not less than, their rate of pay as of November 7, 2013.

CFO Allowance Roll-in the CFO allowance to Rates of Pay. Opposed to ACFO’s proposal. CFO Allowance will be permanently rolled into salary effective November 2013.   The 1% (FI-03) or 2% (FI-04) allowance is rolled into all FI-3 and FI-4 increment levels prior to the November 7, 2013 restructuring.
Severance Opposed to Employer’s proposal.Should the arbitration board make a ruling in favour of the elimination of voluntary severance, we are seeking 2% salary increase in exchange, which is fair-market value. Eliminate severance pay provisions for voluntary resignation and retirement in exchange for :0.25% pay increase effective 2011

0.5% pay increase effective 2013

Eliminate severance pay provisions for voluntary resignation and retirement in exchange for :0.25% salary increase effective 20110.5% salary increase effective 2013Severance pay provisions for voluntary resignation and retirement are terminated as of the date of the award.

Members will be entitled to cash out immediately, or at retirement, for banked severance amounts accumulated to the date of the award.

Call-Back Pay Opposed to the Employer’s proposal. Amend the minimum payment in the case where the work is performed from a remote location.Reduce minimum compensation for multiple call-backs. Employer Proposal Awarded
Leave
Leave with Pay for Family-Related Responsibilities Broaden the scope of the provision to allow more flexibility in the way the leave can be used (ex. attend school functions or appointment with professional such as lawyer or accountant). Opposed to ACFO’s proposal. ACFO Proposal Awarded
Vacation Leave With Pay Increase vacation leave entitlements to 4 weeks of vacation for all FIs under 8 years of service (vs. 3 weeks). Opposed to ACFO’s proposal. FIs will now be entitled to (4) weeks of vacation after completing 5 years of service.   Entitlement is effective the date of the award.
Leave Without Pay for the Care of Family Opposed to the Employer’s proposal. This will limit FIs ability to use the leave. Allow managers greater flexibility to respond to the operational requirements of their organization by limiting the application. Employer Proposal Denied
Bereavement Leave Increase bereavement leave from 5 to 7 days. Opposed to ACFO’s proposal. ACFO Proposal Awarded.  Increased bereavement leave from 5 to 7 calendar days.
Working Conditions
Sexual Harassment Broaden the scope of this provision to include all types of harassment. Opposed to ACFO’s proposal. ACFO Proposal Denied

Summary of Negotiated Changes to the Collective Agreement:

In addition to the terms awarded through arbitration, the parties agreed to a number changes to the FI Collective Agreement.  A summary of the changes can be found here:

Professional Recognition

This decision recognizes that the FI Community has experienced significant internal mobility or “churn” in part as a result of wage rates that are not competitive with the private sector.  The Arbitrator’s award partially closes this gap through the restructure of the FI pay grid.

The decision also stipulates that the appropriate internal comparators for the FI group are our professional counterparts in the Public Service,   rather than clerical groups as suggested by the employer.   The decision specifically endorses the use of the EC (Economic and Social Sciences), PE (Personnel Administration), AU (Auditing), and Commerce (CO) groups as appropriate comparators.

The Board also commented that most of the members of the FI bargaining unit function at a level of executive responsibility.

The value of 1%

In 2012 the total annual FI payroll was $322,588,544.   Based on the 2012 mean FI salary of $76,715, every 1% salary increase translates into an additional $750 in your pocket annually and another 3.2 million dollars for the FI Community as a whole.   The value of that 1% will increase and compound year after year as you move up the FI wage scale and receive further percentage pay increases through collective bargaining.

Members of our bargaining unit will receive 5.96%-10.47% salary increase over the course of this new collective agreement depending on the FI level and increment. This is significantly better than the 3-year 5.25% pattern settlement offered by the Employer.

252 Billion Reasons why this Award is good for Canadians

Public Service financial managers are stewards of the Canadian government’s $252 billion budget. Competitive wages for the Public Service financial management community supports financial transparency and accountability in government and creates a financial community that attracts the best and brightest financial minds Canada has to offer.  We need financial innovators who have a firm foundation in the world of finance; who are equipped with knowledge and experience that will help project Canada as a true fiscal player on the world stage.

This award supports the continued recruitment of top financial management talent from the private sector into the Public Service. The Arbitration Board agreed with the Association’s submissions that our wage rates do not compare well to equivalent financial management positions in the private sector. As a result of the award, the gap with the private sector has been partially narrowed in order to attract experienced financial managers to join the Public Service.

Next Steps and Implementation

ACFO and TBS must now draft up a new collective agreement to include the terms awarded by the arbitrators and what was agreed to during the bargaining process, which will replace the agreement that expired in November 2011.  The Employer will have 90 days from the date of the award to implement the new terms and conditions of employment.

Over the coming days and weeks, additional tools and resources will be made available to help FIs understand the changes to the Collective Agreement, including options for cashing out banked voluntary severance, and explain how
we will be slotted into the restructured pay grid.

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