Last week the National Executive Council (NEC), local union representatives (Reps), regional Communication Action Team primes (CAT primes), and the Bargaining Committee came together for an in-depth bargaining debrief.
This was the first time that our national local has come together post bargaining to review the process and evaluate what worked well and what we can improve upon as an organization to prepare for 2021.
This was a valuable week that fostered an open and honest discussion to begin strategizing for future bargaining. We recognize the need for transparent discourse in order to come together and apply pressure on our employers for fair collective agreements in the future. We reviewed the roles of NEC, Reps, CAT primes, CATs, the bargaining committee, and staff, as well as the significant role that USW leaders and staff played throughout this process. We had a frank discussion about the challenges we faced and how we can alleviate some of those challenges going forward.
In this past round of bargaining, and with aid and training from USW, we managed to engage our members through communications which we previously didn’t have available to us. By use of CATs, social media, hotlines, and text messaging updates we found there to be higher member engagement than ever before. However, we also noted that the key to successful negotiations for a fair collective agreement is to increase member engagement to a much higher level. We are only as strong as we are engaged and united. Solidarity is vital. That is why we must continue to build on member engagement over the next five years to obtain a fairer collective agreement in 2021.
We need to hold Telus accountable to the collective agreement that was ratified. We know that many members are unhappy with the concessions Telus has made to the current agreement, and we also see that the company is wanting to make more concessions in the future. It is clear that although Telus prides itself on the high-quality service provided by members, that it has little regard for the work-life balance of its employees. The only way to stop concessions and gain improvements will be to grow our membership and be prepared nationally to fight for a fair collective agreement.
So, the fight for 2021 starts now. We need members to continue to engage with CATs in their unit. We need members to reach out to those who may feel apathetic and remind them of the importance of collective bargaining. We need to continue to provide members with education and training to foster the upcoming leaders in our national local.
The National Executive Council wants to thank everyone who has stepped up in the work place during this last round of bargaining, and we give a special thanks to our bargaining committee who have worked tirelessly over the past two years on behalf of the members. Denise Chisholm, Maxime Deveau, Greg Kadey, Steve Kiernan, Candace Knoll, Ivor Labrador, Guy Mousseau, Lance Trevison, National President Lee Riggs, and local union representatives Steve McWhirter and Jennifer Bucholtz, who all put in long days away from their families in order to best serve the membership and will now play a role in helping to prepare us for the future.
We hope that members continue to engage and participate in the union and we are committed to moving forward, positively, together.
The Telecommunications Workers Union, United Steelworkers National Local 1944