The bargaining team for the three groups met with NRC on Feb. 6, 2013. Unfortunately, we were unable to reach any agreement. The bargaining team entered bargaining with the hope of reaching a deal; they were prepared to give up on some proposals and to accept others, like the standard changes to severance pay. NRC, however, continues to insist that these groups also accept extra changes to severance pay, changes that no other groups in the public service, with any other employers, have been asked to accept. These extra changes are the same things that NRC tried to refer to arbitration for the TO Group. They deal with the reduction of future Workforce Adjustment packages by the value of any severance pay cashed out today. Just so all members are clear, this does not have to do with the double counting of severance pay, there are already provisions in the collective agreements to deal with that. At no time has the RCEA suggested that any employee should be able to double count or pyramid their severance pay.
What we have said is that it is NRC that is seeking to get rid of severance pay in cases of retirement and resignation and it is NRC that is asking employees to decide how they want to cash it out. The union has never asked for this. Now NRC also wants us to agree that if an employee chooses to cash out severance pay now and is subsequently laid off in the future, even though the severance pay component of the WFA Package will only be based on the years between the cash out and the lay-off, the balance of the WFA package (the non-severance pay component) should also be reduced. We cannot agree to this. To do so would substantially alter the WFA Policy and how it is applied. It would also reduce benefits for our members.
Since we were unable to reach an agreement, we are in the process of submitting a request to the PSLRB, asking that an Arbitration Board be struck to hear these issues.