Canadian Forces Health Services
OPI - Mary Chamberlain
REPORT OF CFHS UMCC –15 June 2010
Mary Chamberlain, UNDE EVP, opened the June 15, 2010 meeting with a round of introductions. Colonel Pucci, COS, announced that this would be his last meeting as co-chair and introduced Colonel David Weger, incoming COS (as of July 8, 2010).
Agenda. Standing items – Grievance Report and Employment Equity Statistics were moved on the agenda to precede Round Table. The agenda was accepted as presented.
Approval of Minutes (March 22, 2010). Colonel Pucci questioned the statement at 2.b. “that 2nd level grievance hearings are in Ottawa”. UNDE EVP stated that not only was this said at the March 2010 meeting but confirmed at previous meetings also. And that to UNDE’s knowledge there is only one location where this is not applied. It was agreed to leave the minutes as presented and further discussion on this issue would take place later in the meeting. The committee members agreed with the minutes as presented (attachment 1).
LMCC Committees at Bases/Wings – No update on the establishment of committees was provided. Discussion as to why issues from 24 HS Trenton have been brought forward to the national UMCC. COS stated that he believes that the LMRC in Trenton is back on. UNDE EVP stated that she is not aware that the issues in Trenton have been resolved or that the LMRC is functioning again. PIPSC stated that they were not aware that the issues had been resolved either. For the benefit of the committee, it was explained that the 24 HS LMRC had been suspended for lack of meaningful consultation. All UMCC committee members agreed that resolution of issues should be attempted at the lowest level possible before escalating them to the national level. Management felt that it might be personality conflict vice a labour/management issue, we should be promoting good will.
Contracting Out. PIPSC questioned the cost of $350K to hire a contract physiotherapist, adding that four (4) public service physiotherapists could be hired for this amount. COS confirmed that Calian is the 3rd party service provider, contracted to meet the needs of support; he also advised that [as previously briefed to the UNDE National Executive] there were 585 Calian employees working in CFHS in 2009, currently there are 485. He reconfirmed that CFHS supports the hiring of public service first, however, fiscal restraints dictate a no growth environment. He advised that the Trenton Clinic is established for one (1) public service physiotherapist and that the public service position is filled. The contract physiotherapist is available to assist with the extra work. If CFHS could hire more public service employees they would, however, the current establishments do not allow for additional staff and when staffing is attempted either the people are not available to apply and/or Treasury Board salaries do not entice people to apply.
Status Report of the Review of the Excluded AS Positions and Second Level Grievance Processes. An outcome of the review was promised for June 2010, however, it is not final. HR provided the committee members with a short briefing on what criteria is taken into consideration when proposing a position for exclusion: establishment of the clinic and the number of employees supervised, typically if a person supervises five (5) or more employees they can be delegated grievance authority; the employee must be in the grievance officer’s chain of command; the DM has delegated level 2 grievance officer responsibility to the level 3 managers (example, Base Commanders); in the case of CFHS, Clinic Commanding Officers are equivalent to a level 3 manager and, as such, they should have level 2 grievance officer responsibility, with level 1 delegated below them.
Discussion: It was identified that currently in Dental, the level 1 grievance officer is at the clinic level and level 2 is in Ottawa. Within the Medical Clinics there is a mix. Level 3 for all is at NDHQ/DGLRC.
The Dental representative stated that he currently hears 2nd level grievances. If the same approach was applied to the dental clinics, it would take some work off his desk. Based on the information provided, he requested a review of the delegated grievance officers in the dental clinics as well stating that the same grievance process should apply as with the medical clinics. UNDE EVP stated that it was very disturbing how quickly corporate was willing to delegate away their opportunity and their right to resolve an issue at the 2nd level simply to get work off their desk. UNDE EVP clarified that if 1st and 2nd cannot resolve the grievance issue, the grievance goes to 3rd level with DGLRC without corporate CFHS having an opportunity to resolve an issue.
UNDE EVP stated that there is a distinct difference between supervision and delegated authority. And that in 35 years of employment with DND, she has yet to see a military manager truly relinquish any decision making authority and [whether a military or civilian issue] rarely seen a senior manager overturn the decision of a subordinate. The CFHS management committee members all stated that this is not the case in CFHS.
(In hindsight, UNDE could have used the example of a particular clinic where two Clinc Commanding Officers do not attend the Clinic LMRC, but they sign off the minutes. Is authority truly delegated to the AS 5 supervisor who co-chairs the meeting?)
It was also disturbing to hear that corporate CFHS does not know who exactly is excluded in the clinics. Correspondence will be sent to the clinics for them to confirm.
All agreed that the delegation must make sense and address the needs of the clinics. UNDE EVP asked for an opportunity to see the responses from the clinics and the results of the review and a further opportunity to consult on the greivance delegation and exclusion issue. UNDE EVP also asked that current organization charts be available to substantiate a proposed/continued exclusion.
Harassment/Bullying, Update on Grievances. PIPSC stated that the number of grievances, complaints and human rights complaints continues to grow. PIPSC identified issues at Gagetown, Greenwood, Valcartier, Cold Lake, Halifax, and Petawawa. COS stated that the grievance statistics do not reflect the concerns being raised (there are currently four (4) harassment grievances listed). PIPSC stated that there are issues with timelines not being respected in the grievance process, return to work (RTW) and duty to accommodate (DTA) issues, harassment that falls under the Canadian Human Rights.
UNDE EVP agreed with PIPSC that the RTW and DTA programs in DND are broken, identifying two recent situations in CFHS. UNDE’s grievance database does not reflect that actual worksite, grievances are filed by Locals. UNDE EVP stated that national office is usually not aware of and does not record harassment complaints under the DAOD, UNDE recommends that UNDE members file harassment grievances. UNDE EVP supported PIPSC stating that members quite often will not come forward with a complaint or a grievance for fear of retaliation.
One management representative stated that several things must be taken into consideration in regards to the perception that the employer does not abide by the various programs and processes: managing expectations; staffing issues; workloads and reassignment of the work; funding and resource issues; personality conflicts versus workplace issues. He continued, what does the employer do when employees and their representatives do not truly understand the issue? Who do we call?
The employer representatives were reminded that the unions have a duty of fair representation and that the complaint or grievance belongs to the members, not the union. PIPSC also reminded the management representatives that Local union representatives are volunteers and that it would be hard to believe that they are soliciting work. UNDE EVP stated that advice is offered if the Local contacts the national office for assistance but that we do not always know the issues being addressed locally.
All agreed that there are many resources available to resolve workplace conflicts: ADR, EAP, education, LMRCs. PIPSC stated that they hoped the lunch and learns will continue to be supported.
PIPSC agreed to share grievance numbers with Human Resources to cross-reference.
Committee Terms of Reference. Signed. Closed.
Hiring Freeze. PIPSC questioned whether there was a hiring freeze. COS advised that there is not a freeze but that everyone must work within the current SWE and establishment.
Calian Contract. In response to the email questions received from 24 HS Trenton, the COS stated that there is no employer/employee relationship between CFHS and Calian so there are no policies, directives or SOPs covering workplace issues such as grievances.
UNDE EVP stated that another issue rasied from Trenton is that the contracted physiotherapist is working in the clinic side by side with the public service workers and utilizing DND equipment and resources. The Local has questioned whether this is a breach of contracting process? Who decided to bring the contractor into the workplace?
Discussion: the Clinic Commanding Officer has a responsibility to provide a service in the most cost effective and fiscally responsible means possible, while meeting the needs of the CF. As previously discussed, Trenton is established for one (1) public service physiotherapist, that position is filled. No one anticipated the extra workload resulting from the Afghanistan deployment. It was agreed that typically a contracted service is provided off-site, however, in this case the Commanding Officer decided that the service would be better provided in the clinic to save work hours lost on travel time to an off-site location. The COS confirmed that the contract is for the physiotherpist’s service only. The committee was also advised that the service being provided in this fashion in Trenton is cheaper compared to other locations.
Another issue was that this contracted employee does not have a security clearance and would have access to persons’ personal information.
UNDE EVP stated that contrary to information being provided to the COS, UNDE has been advised that public service employees are providing support to the contracted service provider causing an additional workload.
In closing UNDE EVP stated that it may appear to be only one person speaking up in the workplace. However, the person speaking up and raising the concerns is the UNDE Steward. Other employees in the Trenton Clinic may fear speaking out because of the current situation with another employee in that clinic.
Grievance Report. Not available in the previous format provided. A detailed list was requested for the next meeting.
Employment Equity Statistics. Table provided (attachment 2). HR identified a gap in the scientific fields, nurses, occupational physiotherapy, pharmacists.
PIPSC Leanne Coleman-Kamphuis, PIPSC representative, advised that her spouse is posted and that she will likely be leaving DND. Another PIPSC representative will be appointed to the CFHS UMCC.
Incoming COS Stated that he enjoyed the meeting and is looking forward to co-chairing future meetings.
Outgoing COS Thanked the committee members stating that it has been an interesting year and a half.
UNDE EVP Advised that DND had awarded eight (8) scholarships to civilian employees for this year.
Wished Colonel Pucci and Sister Leanne well in the future.
Next Meeting. September 2010 (to be confirmed)
Executive Vice President