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Bargaining in the Broader Public Sector Conference

 
 
 
 

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Tuesday, November 19, 2019


Registration and Breakfast 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM  
Introductory remarks by Co-Chairs 9:00 AM - 9:10 AM  


Panel 1


Meeting the Headwinds: Economic forecast for 2020

9:10 AM - 10:30 AM

Panelists

Ken Peacock
Chief Economist and Vice-President
Business Council of British Columbia
Jim Johnson
Associate Professor, Economics, University of British Columbia; President, Confederation of University Faculty Associations of British Columbia; and Chief Negotiator, UBC Faculty Association Bargaining Team


Panel Summary

The global economy has barely emerged from the great recession, but already economists are noting slower economic growth. How worrisome is the cooling of an already tepid economy? Will improved growth in 2020 make up for lacklustre growth in 2019? Even if economic growth picks up, will that increase necessarily translate into higher living standards for Canadian workers? In this session, leading economists will address these general questions as well as the following:

  • What do the key economic indicators signal for the short- and long-term economic situations in British Columbia and Canada? What factors are driving or slowing economic growth? What are the main risks to continued economic prosperity?
  • What is the state of public finances in B.C. on both the provincial and municipal levels? Is there significant variance in municipal finances from city to city, or are most B.C. municipalities in the same boat? How is the state of municipal and provincial finances likely to affect municipal bargaining?
  • Are wage increases in the broader public sector on par with the private sector? What further wage increases might be required to bridge the "affordability" gap for workers in the lower mainland?
  • Does the prospect of meaningfully higher wage growth hinge on increased labour productivity, or would greater worker bargaining power (facilitated by laws and policies promoting collective bargaining) deliver elusive wage gains? Might a continued decline in unemployment lead to real wage gains?
  • In the broader public sector, are general economic conditions constraining government fiscal capacity, i.e. the ability to generate revenue, to such an extent that provincial and municipal governments simply do not have the ability to agree to wage increases above inflation?
  • How is the current economic forecast likely to affect the 2020 provincial budget? Are further investments in public services and infrastructure likely? How are prevailing economic conditions likely to influence the provincial government's priorities leading up to the next election (whenever that might be)?

BREAK (with refreshments)

10:30 AM - 10:45 AM

Tuesday, November 19, 2019


Registration and Breakfast 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM  
Introductory remarks by Co-Chairs 9:00 AM - 9:10 AM  


Panel 2


Recent Reforms: Caselaw and legislative changes affecting bargaining

10:45 AM - 12:00 PM

Panelists

Jacquie de Aguayo
Chair
Labour Relations Board & Employment Standards Tribunal
Lindsay Lyster
Union Counsel
Moore Edgar Lyster
Delayne Sartison
Employer Counsel
Roper Greyell

Panel Summary

This past spring, the Government of British Columbia introduced significant legislative overhauls to both the Labour Relations Code and the Employment Standards Act with a view to modernizing workplace laws. In this session, seasoned counsel will provide an overview of these revisions and explain the impact that these changes will have on public sector bargaining, addressing issues such as the following:

  • Which amendments to the Labour Relations Code are of significance to public sector employers and unions?
  • How has the new legislation modified the expedited arbitration process?
  • What new statutory leaves have been introduced in the Employment Standards Act?
  • How will the new prohibition against contracting out of employment standards unless the collective agreement "meets or exceeds" those entitlements affect bargaining? What impact does this have on existing agreements?
  • How has the term "meets or exceeds" been interpreted by courts and arbitrators in other jurisdictions?

NETWORKING LUNCH

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Tuesday, November 19, 2019


Registration and Breakfast 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM  
Introductory remarks by Co-Chairs 9:00 AM - 9:10 AM  


Panel 3


Truth and Reconciliation: Putting the principles into practice in the workplace

1:00 PM - 2:15 PM

Panelists

Starleigh Grass
Assistant Director, Support for Bargaining and Collective Agreement Implementation, Field Services Division
BC Teachers' Federation
TBA
Employer Representative TBA


Panel Summary

In its final report, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission established 94 Calls to Action urging governments, institutions, and other actors to redress the legacy of the residential school system and advance reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada. The Government of British Columbia has underscored the importance of reconciliation at the provincial level by adopting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and beginning to implement the Calls to Action. In this session, experts will discuss the Commission's recommendations and how they relate to employment, explore the roles and responsibilities of workplace parties in working toward reconciliation, and provide practical guidance to assist employers and unions in implementing the principles of reconciliation in the workplace.

BREAK (with refreshments)

2:15 PM - 2:30 PM

Tuesday, November 19, 2019


Registration and Breakfast 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM  
Introductory remarks by Co-Chairs 9:00 AM - 9:10 AM  


Panel 4


Looking Back, Moving Forward: Lessons from the last round of bargaining

2:30 PM - 3:45 PM

Panelists

Douglas Dykens
Director of Field Services and Negotiations
BC Government and Service Employees' Union
Michael McMillan
President & Chief Executive Officer
Health Employers Association of British Columbia
Robert Pauliszyn
Executive Director, Public Sector Bargaining and Compensation
Public Sector Employers' Council Secretariat, Ministry of Finance at Government of BC
Jennifer Whiteside
Secretary‑Business Manager
Hospital Employees' Union

Panel Summary

In this session, some of the province's leading labour relations experts will analyze the most recent round of provincial bargaining, identifying significant trends in strategy, compensation, and contract language. The expert panel will also explain how these trends may influence municipal bargaining as well as the next round of provincial bargaining. Final selection of topics will take place a few weeks before the conference to ensure up-to-date coverage of important developments, but issues to be discussed may include the following:

  • Did the ability to negotiate "conditional and modest funding" for "tangible service improvements" provide employers and unions with the room they needed to effectively address vexing recruitment and retention issues? What more needs to be done to ameliorate recruitment and retention issues in the broader public sector in B.C.?
  • Despite the wage increases negotiated under the Sustainable Services Negotiating Mandate, do workers in B.C.'s broader public sector remain underpaid compared to broader public sector workers in other provinces? How do the wage increases of 2 percent per year in the broader public sector compare to wage increases negotiated in the private sector? How might wage comparisons with other provinces and the private sector affect the next round of provincial bargaining in B.C.?
  • Is the Community Social Services Wage Rate Review something that can or should be emulated in other collective agreements?
  • What new or innovative contract provisions and/or procedures have been negotiated to address important issues such as workload, leave, and assistance for employees experiencing violence, harassment, and domestic violence?
  • What gains or concessions from this round of provincial bargaining are likely to influence bargaining in other sectors, including the municipal and private sectors?
  • Have the B.C. Maritime Employers Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union established a viable precedent for contract language to address increasing automation in all sectors of the economy?
  • Should the Sustainable Services Negotiating Mandate be emulated in future rounds of bargaining, or are more flexible mandates needed? Are employers and unions likely to see more flexible mandates in the future, or does a prevailing climate of austerity in Western democracies make it more likely that the province will return to more restrictive mandates?

CONFERENCE ENDS

3:45 PM

NETWORKING RECEPTION

3:45 PM - 4:45 PM

Keynote Speakers


Monday, November 18, 2019


Breakfast 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM  

Difficult Bargaining: Identifying and overcoming obstacles to agreement

9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Workshop Leaders

Carmen Hamilton
Strategic Negotiations Lead
Health Employers Association of British Columbia
Trevor Sones
Mediator
British Columbia Labour Relations Board
Richard Tones
Staff Representative
BC Government and Service Employees' Union

Workshop Summary

Finding the common ground that makes negotiation of a collective agreement possible can be a difficult process at the best of times. However, when external factors such as funding cuts and government-imposed mandates seriously limit the options available to unions and employers, a normally difficult process can become nearly impossible. Is there a way to make the process easier, or to prevent parties from becoming so entrenched in their own positions — and their own views of the other side — that agreement is impossible?

In this interactive full-day workshop, experienced negotiators from both sides of the table will provide guidance on effectively using interest-based and other approaches to bargaining.

Participants will learn to:

  • Use more productive strategies when engaged in positional bargaining;
  • Identify situations in which interest-based bargaining can be used effectively;
  • Communicate effectively to identify needs and interests underlying demands;
  • Generate creative options to solve tough problems; and
  • Build and preserve productive union-management relationships through bargaining.

VIEW THE WORKSHOP AGENDA



Thursday, November 21, 2019


Breakfast 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM  

Arbitration Advocacy: A masterclass on fundamental skills and expedited procedures

9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Workshop Leaders

Jessica Gregory
Arbitrator/Mediator

Wayne Moore
Arbitrator/Mediator

TBA 
Workshop Speakers TBA


Workshop Summary

Whether you are new to arbitration or a seasoned pro, you will benefit from the expert guidance and feedback offered in this workshop. During this full-day interactive session, experienced arbitrators and union and management counsel will provide practical advice on effective arbitration advocacy and give feedback to participants as they practise their advocacy skills by working through simulation exercises.

Workshop leaders will also explain how you can adjust your advocacy strategies and techniques to win expedited arbitrations conducted according to the new rules in section 104 of the Labour Relations Code.

Participants will practise the following skills:

  • Identifying the key issues, strengths, and weaknesses of a case
  • Making persuasive opening and closing statements
  • Preparing, examining, and cross-examining witnesses
  • Effectively gathering and presenting evidence and caselaw
  • Adapting arguments and use of evidence for arbitrations conducted according to the Labour Relations Code's new rules for expedited arbitration

VIEW THE WORKSHOP AGENDA



CPD


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