During the week of October 23, USJE’s National Executive met to establish a three-year strategic plan which will equip and empower the Union to advance its key priorities. These priorities were built upon the feedback and information obtained through several USJE member surveys conducted during the past term of office and what our members shared as priorities/concerns at the recent USJE Triennial Convention.
The total cost for this three-year plan will be $2,942,920.47. The plan will be funded through USJE’s unrestricted reserves.
As part of this three-year strategy, the National Executive is determined to address the considerable grievance backlog that has accumulated over several years. Job description grievances coupled with Phoenix-related pay issues have hit our members particularly hard. In addition, ongoing harassment and workplace violence grievances persist across many departments and agencies, among other areas of concern.
USJE plans to invest over $1.8 million over three years to hire additional staff in its Labour Relations department in order to dramatically increase its capacity to respond to grievances, many of which are quite complex and require careful attention and analysis from trained USJE staff.
In addition, the National Executive identified its ongoing Presumptive Injury campaign as a key priority in the Strategic Plan. The USJE Campaign proposes important changes to the federal Government Employees Compensation Act in order to expand access to Worker’s Compensation coverage for more public safety and justice employees. Political action on multiple fronts, particularly at the federal level, is required in order to make these changes a reality as we educate Members of Parliament about the invaluable work USJE’s 18,000 members do. Learn more about the campaign and how you can help here.
USJE also recognizes the imperative to advocate for the thousands of RCMP public service employees whose jobs may be at risk as the RCMP negotiates new federal policing contracts across the country in the coming years (until 2032). Our members’ contributions to public safety are severely underestimated and USJE plans to highlight the varied roles they play across the agency. USJE is prepared to build a positive campaign around our members work so that when provinces, territories and municipalities consider their public safety needs and whether they continue their relationships with the RCMP, it will be clear that staying with the RCMP is the right decision for their communities.
Over the past several years, the work of USJE’s Equity Committee has resulted in progressive changes in our union and the establishment of a USJE National Equity Conference in our bylaws. As part of the Strategic Plan, the Equity Committee will be asked to examine how USJE can more effectively advocate for better compensation for members of the CR group. These members’ day-to-day realities of the job are frequently out of step with poor compensation and lack of recognition for their work. The Equity Committee will also consider other methods to advocate for members issues where they face systematic discrimination and harassment.
The issue of preparing for future rounds of collective bargaining was also identified as a key priority for USJE. The recently created USJE Collective Bargaining Strategy Committee has been instructed to review the internal practices of USJE around collective bargaining and to make recommendations on strategies that USJE can utilize to enhance our internal processes, prepare for future strikes and increase our level of success in future rounds of collective bargaining. Other priorities of this committee will include action on “options letters” provided to members who are on long-term disability and a strategy on pushing the departments to provide greater protections for USJE members who elect to run for office at the Regional level of USJE.
Finally, USJE’s National Executive identified membership engagement as key priority for USJE over the next three years. A focus will be on those members who are not currently engaged or unfamiliar with their union, especially those members who are new to the federal public service or new to USJE. The USJE Mobilization and Member Engagement Committee will be asked to examine how our union can expand the use of virtual meetings at the local level and to become more engaging and inclusive. The committee will also plan to raise more attention around the issues with the Phoenix pay system with the federal government and the Canadian public. We can all agree that it is important that our members’ pay is timely and done correctly!
Watch out for some interesting initiatives in the months ahead!