Shaw Vancouver and Surrey Bargaining Update #20 - Seeing Red on an Absurd Offer

Brothers and Sisters,

Committed to the needs of the membership and the mandate you gave us, your Bargaining Committee has had one clear message for our Employer every day at the Table: Unit 60 members refuse to live in a world where our members lose their jobs while contractors continue to do the work that we perform.

From our Bargaining Surveys through the Town Halls, at the Strike Vote Meetings and in chat groups today, our collective determination hasn’t wavered. In fact, it has grown in its intensity, strength, and resolve.

We listened to the Company for nine months and thoughtfully addressed their concerns in the language we created. In an August 3rd AMA Forum, Rogers CEO Tony Staffieri proudly pledged to field technicians:

“…our commitment over the next five years… most, almost all of our representatives, in particular that do your jobs, are going to be Rogers employees, and we think that’s an important customer experience… that’s a structural problem we’re going to fix.”

Music to our ears. A successful Rogers means successful employees and successful communities.

In stark contrast to Tony’s commitment, the Rogers negotiators continued to push toward creating a model that depended on contractors taking more of our work.

The ‘solutions’ the Rogers committee designed were absurd and half-baked at best.

  •       To answer your job security concerns that too many contractors were doing work we could perform, Rogers insisted that contractors do service work while formulating a cap system that allowed a 25% INCREASE to current contractor usage. When challenged by the Mediator to come up with a penalty if they violated this, their cap inexplicably GREW to a 33.3% INCREASE!
  •       Rogers asserted new Gen2 Mux equipment is suddenly and conveniently outside of our exclusive jurisdiction. They remain adamant they intend to provide access to this sensitive headend equipment to non-unionized employees as “It’s Rogers policy and happening across Canada.”
  •     When presented with official CPI inflation numbers of 6.9% in 2022 and projections of nearly 4% in 2023, plus data showing we’re over 10% behind what similar Rogers technicians in Toronto are paid despite the cost of living in Vancouver being over 10% more, Rogers felt it appropriate to offer us 2.5% and 2% increases while comparing us to a completely different and new classification model in Toronto that are paid much less. Their current offer of 12.5% over 5 years (3%, 2.75%, 2.25% x 3) means Rogers shamelessly wants you and your family to fall further and further behind every year. They have completely ignored discussing a vital Cost-Of-Living-Allowance clause that would protect their employees from future inflationary spikes.

Their committee continues to prove they are out of touch, scrambling for ideas, and without answers.

Here’s where we are at

The Employer is attempting to grab and ignore some vital components of your Collective Agreement by selling the benefits of some agreed to items that are nice to have.

Our Imperatives

The Company’s position is that they can use contractors to work on the cable system including repair and activation work. Both sides do agree that the activation of nodes and FTTP remains exclusive to journeymen. Our position remains that if it is active, it is our work.

Rogers proposes that non-union people can work on the multiplexers in the hubs that feed signals to nodes and FTTP, their justification being that it is on a different wavelength.

The Company also proposes to replace our exclusive service work jurisdiction with “will continue to be primary providers of service work”.  To make it appear more palatable, on the last day they suggested hiring ten installers in Vancouver and five in Surrey plus adding backfilling language.

The Union is working to secure Installer jurisdiction for service work on FTTP
Rogers wants to open that work up for contractors.

Day-to-day, the changes to the Installer Rotation through Construction are neutral, changing from ‘two full time positions’ to ‘a minimum of two’ while taking away the reassigning of installers to rebuild and replacing it with minimums of one Installer in Surrey and three in Vancouver in the event of rebuild.

The Company is insisting on creating a new requirement for Installers that replaces the automatic 6-month wage progression with one based on performance statistics that they haven’t been able to outline to this point.

The Employer has tabled poor Wage Increases far below the rate of inflation.

 Rogers believes Unit 60 members will trade job security, jurisdiction, and poor annual pay increases for the following nice-to-have items:

An annual boot allowance that discriminates against Warehouse members, Parental Leave Top-up, participation in the Employee Share Accumulation Plan, plus better language on Employee Discipline, Union Leave, and Early Retirement. We are close to arriving at a compromise on Unplanned Emergency Days that will serve the membership.

As you can plainly see, we have worked on improving your Agreement, but these small enhancements pale in comparison to the obscene concessions that Rogers is looking for.

 We are committed to a fair collective agreement – the stance that Rogers has taken is anything but.


In solidarity,

Jayson, Steve, Andy, Wallace, Stacey, Curtis, and Corey