From the commencement of bargaining, we were hopeful that we would reach a fair and respectful collective agreement with Telus, one that would respect your work-life balance. Unfortunately, Telus had another vision for this collective agreement, one that would continue to build on their concessionary themes from 2005 and 2010.
We recognize the new collective agreement has significant concessions in it for many of our members. Throughout the ratification tour, we heard from a number of our members who had strong feelings and emotions about the agreement. We understand and share their disappointment and anger with Telus.
In British Columbia and Alberta, Telus has stripped away work-life balance by buying a lifetime of concessions from you. They have taken away float days, reduced double-time overtime to time and a half, made overtime mandatory in clerical, and eliminated Sunday premiums. In Ontario and Quebec, Telus continues to have very subjective performance based compensation regardless of your years of service with the company and Telus continues to reject parity of benefits with the members in the West doing the same work.
The only respect that we saw during the bargaining process was for Telus’ shareholders who have had 26 consecutive profitable quarters. In August, Telus again announced a dividend increase over the previous year. November 4, Telus announced they were planning another dividend increase on January 3, 2017. Clearly, this is a company that values their shareholders and investors over their hardworking employees. These profits are due to the great work of our members across the company and the Union acknowledges that we want to see the company make profits, but a fair share of those profits must be directed to our members and their work-life balance, not solely to the shareholders.
So what’s next? The fight for improvements in 2021 begins today.
Our strength against Telus and our success starts with you as it’s the 10,800 members from coast to coast that will make the difference.
We have seen incredible improvement in our member participation levels throughout bargaining via the USW texting program, on Facebook, Twitter, and in person. In order to ensure that our members have an army alongside them to defend and improve the contract in 2021, everyone must be ready to fight.
That begins by continuing to build strong solidarity and engagement within our membership. It also means that we need to continue training members through the Building Power program to strengthen our member-to-member engagement.
Our Communication Action Teams (CATs) did an incredible job communicating face-to-face with members in their department, on their floor, in their buildings, and in their regions throughout bargaining. We know there were areas where our CATs worked well, but we also know there are locations where we will have to invest some more training and time.
We want to thank every member that displayed “We Expect More” and “I Support My Bargaining Committee” materials at their desk, in their vehicles, and on social media. Your support helped tremendously at the bargaining table to push back on further concessionary demands from Telus.
We also want to thank the thousands of members who took time to attend ratification meetings across the country. These ratification meetings had the largest engagement in recent memory. In fact, 5386 members cast ballots this year, versus 2,678 in 2011.
It’s important we continue to build on the momentum we have developed and continue our fight together.
The TWU, USW National Local 1944 Telus Bargaining Committee