June 19, 2007
ADR ADVISORY GROUP
UNDE was represented by the EVP and Sister Brendalee Blaney, USO MB/SK & AB & The North.
The Bargaining Agent Representatives held a caucus prior to the commencement of the meeting to address UNDE’s concern in regards to the previous discussion from the March 20, 2007 meeting - that the Advisory Group would become a “joint” forum with two co-chairs. UNDE had questioned the need and the perception that a “joint” forum would give our members considering the ongoing issues that UNDE members have expressed with regards to the ADR processes. Although some of the Bargaining Agents did not understand UNDE’s concerns, citing the EAP joint committee and the UMCC, after a lengthy discussion it was decided that the committee would remain status quo.
The Advisory Group meeting convened with the following members in attendance: Chris Ford, DGADR; Cmdr Lucille Boettger, DGADR; LCol Paul Conway, DGADR; Tracey Grohs, DGADR; Michael Holt, DGLRC; and Bargaining Agent Representatives: Hugh Price, FGDTLC-W /CMTCM-O; Bob Taylor, IBEW/FIOE; Lorne Brown, FGDTLC-E /CMTCM-E; Tom Denault, FGDCA/ ACECM; and Perry Schippers, PIPSC/IPFPC.
Review of Old Business from March 20, 2007:
Advisory Group Representation – DGADR committed to ensuring that the appropriate representation will be invited to committee meetings depending on agenda items.
Frequency of Meetings – it was agreed that the advisory group would meet at least twice a year in conjunction with the Federal ICMS Network and/or the other departmental meetings.
Travel Expenses – it was agreed that DGADR would provide partial subsidization for the Bargaining Agents travelling from outside the NCR.
Offer of Alternate Dispute Resolution – the offer of mediation form has been an ongoing topic of consultation for UNDE/DGADR for the past two years. The intent of the discussions has been to make the form more user friendly and more informative for the members to better understand the role of mediation in the grievance process; while at the same time, ensuring that the Bargaining Agent’s role in the mediation process is clearly articulated in the cases where the grievance pertains to an interpretation of the collective agreement.
UNDE also suggested that using the word “suspended” vice “abeyance” could be perceived as “withdrawn or final”. It was agreed that the form would indicate that the “grievance process will be held in abeyance while the ADR process is progressing”.
A lengthy discussion took place in regards to “when the grievance would be withdrawn if the mediation is successful”. Some felt that the grievance would be withdrawn with the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA). DGLRC suggested a separate document indicating the withdrawal of the grievance.
UNDE’s position was that the grievance would not be withdrawn until full implementation of the agreed to resolution had been achieved. Additionally, UNDE strongly advise that the membership that they should not sign any document other than the MOA until such time as full implementation has been achieved. UNDE also recommended that the language of the MOA should indicate that the grievance would only be be wirhdrawn on full implementation.
Discussions are ongoing.
Roles of DND/CFLA and DGADR in the Grievance Process - UNDE submitted questions in regards to the participation of DND lawyers in the mediaiton processes based on an email receive from the JAG office. First, we requested confirmation who the actual legal practitioners are for civilian issues and processes – JAG or the Civil Litigation Branch?
Second, UNDE stated that a clear understanding is required by the parties on the grievance process versus mediation. Regardless that mediation is a legislated mandated offer in the grievance process, mediation is a separate process that upon resolution causes the grievances to be withdrawn. In the email shared with UNDE, the JAG office stated “this section must remain outside of the grievance process. Once the grievance process is completed (in this case the mediation) and the administrative resolution agreed to, then this section can become involved.”
This prompted UNDE to ask:
If the grievance is in abeyance when the parties enter into mediation, would this not negate JAG’s position above?
What value is there to going to mediation if the proper authorities to resolve the issue(s) are not party to the resolution and Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) when compensation has been addressed and agreed to in the mediation? There is little value in reaching an agreement only to have a 3rd party speak up after the fact.
DGLRC/Mr Holt confirmed that the Civil Litigations Branch is responsible for legal advice on civilian issues. Unfortunately, no one from the Civil Litigations Branch was available to attend the meeting to respond to UNDE’s questions. DGADR shares UNDE’s concerns and is pursuing a clear definition of legal practitioners being included in the mediation process. Also, DGLRC is also seeking a legal opinion from CFLA, specifdically the Claims and Civil Litigation Section and the Public & Labour Law Section. More to follow.
Conflict Management for Senior Leaders Course – Ms Grohs identified that the subject course is under development in conjunction with the Defence Learning Cirrulum and that the intent is to pilot the course in the fall of 2007. It was agreed that Ms Grohs would send additional information and questions to the bargaining agent representatives for comment and feed back.
Next meeting – tentatively scheduled for October 2, 2007.
Executive Vice President