As some of you have seen this morning, the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) reached a tentative agreement with the employer for the largest occupational group as well as their own agreement on Phoenix damages. We of course congratulate our colleagues on reaching this deal after a lengthy negotiation. We have already received questions about the impact of these deals on our membership and, while we are still looking into the specifics of these deals, we wanted to share what we know so far.

Phoenix damages agreement

As you’re aware, ACFO-ACAF was part of a team that negotiated the original Phoenix damages agreement in May 2019. That agreement was reached after two years of negotiations between the employer and unions including ACFO-ACAF.

Part of that deal included the awarding of general damages of up to five days of leave to every public servant represented by the endorsing unions, whether they had been affected or not. We chose to take those damages in the form of leave to provide you with the most flexibility. It was your choice to take the leave, cash it out through Phoenix or leave it in your bank for future use.

The deal also included the framework for settling outstanding individual claims at Tier 2 and Tier 3. By signing on, ACFO-ACAF has had a hand in shaping the processes for settling those claims and members have had access to these processes for more than a year now. Because of this, the vast majority of claims by ACFO-ACAF members have been resolved or are nearing resolution.

The agreement also included a catch-up clause to ensure that unions who moved more quickly to solve their members’ problems wouldn’t be disadvantaged should another group receive more damages. The settlement reached by PSAC relates to Phoenix damages and other outstanding litigation. Once we confirm what portion actually relates to Phoenix as opposed to the other disputes settled alongside, we have agreed to meet with the employer to ensure all members get equal value.

Collective agreement

After any contract is signed, the ACFO-ACAF team reviews the terms to see if there are gains made by any other groups that we can bring to the table in future rounds, just as PSAC was able to use the gains made by ACFO-ACAF and others on domestic violence leave, bereavement leave and maternity leave.

In this case, PSAC did negotiate a $500 lump sum payment instead of a $400 lump sum payment for implementation but given the ongoing uncertainty around Phoenix, PIPSC and ACFO-ACAF both negotiated catch-up clauses on this particular clause so all ACFO-ACAF members will be receiving the difference once we confirm implementation details with the employer. Otherwise, there are no group-wide gains beyond what ACFO-ACAF and others also negotiated.

In terms of rates of pay, we believe that the financials speak for themselves. The ACFO-ACAF agreement for the FI Group (now CT-FINs) provided 8.0% over four years, including 6.5% over the first three, as compared to the PSAC deal worth 6.35% over three years. The deal reached by PIPSC for the AUs (now CT-EAVs) was worth 7.75% over four years.

We’ve always prioritized pensionable salary gains vs. lump sum payments and the additional increases to the salary grid will benefit you over the course of your career and into retirement. Given the fiscal and budgetary uncertainty caused by COVID-19, we are particularly pleased to have the fourth year in place as well.

A note for CT-IAUs

The CT-IAU group has, of course, previously been represented by PSAC as part of the AS subgroup. We’re still working with the employer to determine how the new PA Collective Agreement will affect you during the transition to ACFO-ACAF as part of the new CT Group. More information on this will follow.