The TO Bargaining Committee has been trying to reach a settlement since our first negotiations with NRC starting in November of 2011. Our last attempt was this week, June 18 and 19, 2012, at mediation.
The TO Committee is very cognizant that the mandate of all Federal departments is the implementation of a settlement including the elimination of severance pay on retirement or resignation. We knew this going into negotiations and mediation, but we were still very hopeful that an agreement could be reached. During both face to face negotiations and again at mediation, NRC tried to tie any changes to the collective agreement to the issue of severance pay. There could be no deal without an agreement on severance pay. This is a troubling criteria, but it is one that the bargaining team was prepared to deal with. We commenced mediation with open minds and a willingness to consider all NRC proposals. It became clear, however, that NRC was asking the TO Group to give up more than severance pay for resignation and retirement. They were now seeking to tie the payout of severance pay to future lay-off benefits under the Workforce Adjustment Policy. They were asking the TO Group to give up more than their counterparts in the public service have been asked to or have agreed to give up. They want to reduce future lay-off benefits based on the amount of severance pay paid out, to in effect, clawback the severance pay from future lay-off benefits. . This we could not agree with. In our view this would change and reduce benefits already contained in the WFA Policy. We concluded that we could not agree with this demand from NRC. As a result, mediation was unsuccessful.
We have already applied for the establishment of an Arbitration Board. We will now proceed with the preparation of a brief to be submitted to that Board. The RCEA and your Bargaining Committee fully understand the members’ frustrations with respect to the length of time and the issues involved in this round of bargaining. Please be assured that the Committee is steadfast in obtaining the best outcome for our members.
Thank you from your Committee
Joan Van Den Bergh