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Letter to Joe Fontana Request From KOOT

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Letter to Joe Fontana Request From KOOT

Postby Admin1 » Thu Sep 22, 2005 10:48 pm

I was asked if I could make this letter available in a printable format by our member Koot. I would like to thank him for his contribution. The letter reads:
Concerned TWU Member
September 22, 2005
The Hon. Joseph Frank (Joe) Fontana P.C. M.P.
Minister of Labour and Housing
House of Commons
Ottawa Ontario K1A 0A6


Dear Mr. Fontana

As a TWU member caught in a labour dispute with my employer Telus Communications, I am especially interested in seeing this dispute resolved. I believe that the TWU bargaining committee has neglected its obligation to the members of the TWU, by not allowing the members to have a vote on the latest offer made by the employer, Telus communications. After more than 4 years of bargaining, I believe it was incumbent on the TWU executive to consult with its members, to get direction from the members as to what course to follow. Bargaining with Telus, using the latest offer as a basis for negotiations, seemed to me a very viable alternative to job action. Unfortunately the membership of the TWU was never presented with any options and the TWU executive made the decision to reject the Telus offer out of hand. As is evident by the large number of people in Alberta, according to Telus over 50%, who have chosen to defy the decision of the TWU and who are reporting to work, there is a large group of TWU members who feel the Telus offer is not unreasonable. One might argue these people already have cast their vote. The TWU members in BC can not make their choice known in the same way as the members in Alberta, but it is quite likely that many members in BC also would like to have their input. I believe that the TWU is in the process of charging the members, who have voted so to speak, in order that these members can be declared not to be in good standing. This would allow the TWU to deny these members their right to vote and seriously skew any voting result in the future

I therefore, respectfully ask the minister to exercise article 108 – 1 of the Canada Labour Code and order a vote to be held on the latest offer extended by Telus Communications to the TWU.

Sincerely,

To Download and print this letter click the link below or right click and choose save target as..
http://www.labourtalk.ca/forms/JoeFontana.doc



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Postby rick » Sun Sep 25, 2005 1:33 am

...there is a large group of TWU members who feel the Telus offer is not unreasonable. One might argue these people already have cast their vote.
This letter suggets that the contract offer from Telus is completely acceptable. I would submit to all of those folks who would want us to vote on this contract offer, that there are some areas of the Telus offer which absolutely need tuning before a vote on it is taken. If you don't know where these are in the Telus offer, I really don't think you should be suggesting that we vote on this contract, as is. Unfortunately, our bargaining agent who we pay to represent us, refuses to touch this offer and present counter proposals for the areas in the Telus offer which really do need tuning up. So we're kinda screwed. Voting on the offer as-is, is not a good idea.

Below are a few examples I don't like. It is by no means complete.
  • 33.06 Medical Examination - When it is necessary for an employee during working hours to visit a doctor, clinic or hospital for an examination at the Company's request or to report to the Company's Medical Department, the employee shall be allowed time off with pay for necessary absence from duty from scheduled basic hours.
    For other medical or dental examinations or treatment, the employee shall be granted time off without pay from scheduled basic hours, subject to reasonable notice being given to their immediate manager.
Yuck! Managers are not deducted salary when they go for medical and dental examinations. Why should the BU workers have to forfeit their pay? The company had no problem doing this for the past 50 years. Why now is it a problem?
  • ARTICLE 40 – SERVICE APPAREL
    Effective March 1, 2006:
    40.01 Where it is deemed necessary by the Company, employees will be required to wear TELUS
    MASTER SECTION April 13, 2005 Page 41 of 151
    Service Apparel provided by the Company.
Yuck! Some VP in Telus has a crush on the uniform look and wants to make us all look the same. Some of us are gonna end up looking like a MacDonalds worker or the Maytag repairman! I certianly don't trust Telus in it's tastes of clothing. Maybe they'll make us all wear jump-suits in green and purple! ;)
  • B2.13 When the Company establishes a new job title, as provided in Article 1, which requires an alternate training program or other certification, the Company will inform the Union of the requirement.
Telus used to have a world class technical training department. Not anymore. Now Telus wants the employee to spend their own time on training. Where is the commitment to invest in the education of the employee? Yes, Telus will pay education costs if they deem the education appropriate for the job you are in, but will not pay for the time you invest obtaining the alternate training. World class means to me, training by the company to deliver competent, qualified employees. I appreciate someone who has the drive and initiative to do it on their own, but that doesn't excuse the company from its obligation to properly provide education where a new job classification has been made.



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Postby care » Sun Sep 25, 2005 8:07 am

[/quote]
Below are a few examples I don't like. It is by no means complete.
  • 33.06 Medical Examination - When it is necessary for an employee during working hours to visit a doctor, clinic or hospital for an examination at the Company's request or to report to the Company's Medical Department, the employee shall be allowed time off with pay for necessary absence from duty from scheduled basic hours.
    For other medical or dental examinations or treatment, the employee shall be granted time off without pay from scheduled basic hours, subject to reasonable notice being given to their immediate manager.
Yuck! Managers are not deducted salary when they go for medical and dental examinations. Why should the BU workers have to forfeit their pay? The company had no problem doing this for the past 50 years. Why now is it a problem?
  • ARTICLE 40 – SERVICE APPAREL
    Effective March 1, 2006:
    [/quote]

    I think the problem is that there are a ton of people that took huge advantage of it, for example a person I worked with took a whole day off to get her teeth cleaned!!!!!!!! does that help??


I do care

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Postby green1 » Sun Sep 25, 2005 11:19 am

While I agree that there are provisions that need revision, I disagree that there is a problem with any of the ones you have listed.

the medical examination one is a tradeoff for those of us in alberta, we now get PDO days that we didn't get before, in exchange they want us to do medical appointments on scheduled days off, this is a simple response to abuse as another poster has said (this one is still the most objectionable of the 3, however it is still not a problem)

service apparel, we have been using the service apparel program in alberta for many years and we all like it. how much do you pay for a pair of pants? and a jacket? and shirts? why shouldn't I destroy the company ones instead of my own? for that matter any time an alberta worker is sent to BC he always gets questions from the BC members "where did you get that clothing? where can I get some?" on top of that, when you are in a customer facing environment you WANT to be identifiable as TELUS (as opposed to the burglar prowling that person's back yard) as for styles, right now we have our choice, jeans or slacks in black, beige, green, or blue, shirts are either cotton twill button down the front or golf shirt style, short or long sleeve and red, blue, navy, green, black or white. you choose 3 pants and 5 shirts a year, and jackets every few (the winter jacket is really nice and warm) as for what the company might choose next, who knows for sure, however this week some of the members of my team say some proposed ones that TELUS is looking at switching too, and everyone who saw them was impressed. although it is encouraged for us to wear the service apparel now I do not believe it is mandatory, and you occasionaly see someone not wearing it, however it is usually simply that they are behind in their laundry or something because as a general rule, everyone wears it..

as for training and certification, that section explains that if training is required they will tell the union. it does NOT say that the company won't continue to pay for training (which is stated elsewhere in the agreement) TELUS is in an environment where new skills are needed almost daily, to be honest I'm surprised that they are even offering to tell the union each time.



Ikke

Postby Ikke » Sun Sep 25, 2005 4:14 pm

I agree that some sections in the Telus offer could use reworking. The problem with the TWU executive is that they have decided to bargain from the old BCTEL contract and nothing else. So if this Telus offer were to put to a vote and say 40% votes in favour of the offer, the the Union now has no choice but to start bargaining from this offer. Because it is the lst offer we have voted on. So they finally would have no choice in the matter and they have to let go of the condition BC TEL contract or nothing.

As to the matter of doctors visits etc, oops sorry for the etc. that was always the understanding that you were supposed to take an hour of VO or something to go to a dentists or doctor. Never the less most managers just let their people go, because it is so much easier than trying to explain why he okayed V.O. So is that an item worth loosing 9 months wages over?

I am in BC and I did happen to meet some one from Alberta who was wearing the official apparel. I have to agree where can I get some of that. It was good quality stuff, nice pants they looked like Dockers with a small Telus logo on a pocket flap. Nice dress shirts with again a small Telus logo. Please sign me up for those.



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Postby rick » Sun Sep 25, 2005 4:44 pm

While I agree that there are provisions that need revision, I disagree that there is a problem with any of the ones you have listed.

the medical examination one is a tradeoff for those of us in alberta, we now get PDO days that we didn't get before, in exchange they want us to do medical appointments on scheduled days off, this is a simple response to abuse as another poster has said (this one is still the most objectionable of the 3, however it is still not a problem)
Why is it now a problem? It wasn't a problem for several decades but now it is? To quote a manager, "I use up all my PDO days right away so I don't lose them." Since managers don't get penalized for being sick, they can then resort to sickness if they are actually sick or require medical exams or treatment. To me, this heavy-handidness looks, talks and smells like Big-Brother.
service apparel, we have been using the service apparel program in alberta for many years and we all like it. how much do you pay for a pair of pants? and a jacket? and shirts? why shouldn't I destroy the company ones instead of my own? for that matter any time an alberta worker is sent to BC he always gets questions from the BC members "where did you get that clothing? where can I get some?" on top of that, when you are in a customer facing environment you WANT to be identifiable as TELUS (as opposed to the burglar prowling that person's back yard) as for styles, right now we have our choice, jeans or slacks in black, beige, green, or blue, shirts are either cotton twill button down the front or golf shirt style, short or long sleeve and red, blue, navy, green, black or white. you choose 3 pants and 5 shirts a year, and jackets every few (the winter jacket is really nice and warm) as for what the company might choose next, who knows for sure, however this week some of the members of my team say some proposed ones that TELUS is looking at switching too, and everyone who saw them was impressed. although it is encouraged for us to wear the service apparel now I do not believe it is mandatory, and you occasionaly see someone not wearing it, however it is usually simply that they are behind in their laundry or something because as a general rule, everyone wears it..
So why is this now necessary to make as a 'law' in the contract? It feels like Telus wants us all to be dressing the same on the Big Brother team. Gone are the days of individualism replaced by the same dressed compliancy of social communism... Humm .. Over-sized pictures of Darren's face hang from the walls of the work-place... :P
as for training and certification, that section explains that if training is required they will tell the union. it does NOT say that the company won't continue to pay for training (which is stated elsewhere in the agreement) TELUS is in an environment where new skills are needed almost daily, to be honest I'm surprised that they are even offering to tell the union each time.
I can see this as a potentially dangerous entrapment where Telus can say to the union, "see, we told you about the qualifications needed and well, gee-whiz, there doesn't appear to be any trained union members. Telus would pay the union members to take the courses (on their own time) but that isn't going to fulfill the present need.. So that leaves us with outsourcing the work."
Where is the commitment to educate the workers like there used to be in previous generations? As commented elsewhere on this forum, there are many call-centre agents with degrees. A degree which cannot be applied to most of the day to day job functions at Telus. In the past it was recognized that in order to have highly specialized and skilled workers, the company would invest in the worker and provide formal training specific to Telus. Now, instead of excellent world class training specifically tailored to the needs of Telus, what we have instead is generic training by the vendor, almost completely useless. But Telus is more than happy to pay for that trash.



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Postby green1 » Sun Sep 25, 2005 6:19 pm

this talk of "big brother" is ridiculous... this IS your employer, they are allowed to expect you to actually work on occasion during the time they pay you for. Why is it now a problem? it is now a problem because people abused it in the past, had a few people not abused it in the past we might still enjoy the same opportunites today, still, nothing blocks you from taking some vacation or pdo time for those appointments.
So why is this now necessary to make as a 'law' in the contract? It feels like Telus wants us all to be dressing the same on the Big Brother team. Gone are the days of individualism replaced by the same dressed compliancy of social communism... Humm .. Over-sized pictures of Darren's face hang from the walls of the work-place...
it already IS the "law" in alberta, it is in the old IBEW contract, nobody I have ever talked to has a problem with this.... we don't all dress the same, in fact there are many choices and it's good quality clothing that personally saves me $$$ every year and as a bonus I am identifiable as being from TELUS when I'm on a customer site... I can't even come up with a downside to this program no matter how hard I try...

as for the training requirment... that is just so much conspiracy theory as to be ridiculous this does not announce ANY change to current practice, and other sections of the agreement talk about training, we are moving away from TELUS specific courses and towards industry standard training courses, once again this is a GOOD thing, it means if you ever leave TELUS you can take your certification with you and it will be recognized by other employers. this is a big step up from the old telus only training which was non-transferable.



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Postby !(a.scab) » Mon Sep 26, 2005 6:14 am

Rick, if you don't like it's you're free to vote "no" - well, you would be free to, if this petition succeeded... that's the great thing about democracy!



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Postby Koot » Mon Sep 26, 2005 5:00 pm

While the new talks are going on, I would suggest that we do not send this letter yet, even though it is well crafted, if I say so myself, lets see what comes out of this new dialogue. Quite possible, that the mere threat of many members requesting a vote, could have been a push for the TWU to start bargaining, as I suspect that a vote would have a pretty decent chance to pass.



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Postby rick » Tue Sep 27, 2005 8:54 pm

it already IS the "law" in alberta, it is in the old IBEW contract, nobody I have ever talked to has a problem with this.... we don't all dress the same, in fact there are many choices and it's good quality clothing that personally saves me $$$ every year and as a bonus I am identifiable as being from TELUS when I'm on a customer site...
Ok, I conceed after talking to some I&R folks that most folks liked the service clothes. It seems that the ones which didn't, were the senior folks who well, always seem to oppose change. I just hate that we have to see it in our contract. It really bugs me that we have to be forced into wearing the clothing. As you might guess, I resent having to be a conformist. I hope it never turns into a single uniform look that some Telus commitee group shoves down our throats. (Like the ill conceived mandated, company wide, music on hold which is such a pissoff when
working in a conferenced mode).
as for the training requirment... that is just so much conspiracy theory as to be ridiculous this does not announce ANY change to current practice, and other sections of the agreement talk about training, we are moving away from TELUS specific courses and towards industry standard training courses,
That's nice we could get a job somewhere else with the non-specific certification. Sorry, but that type of vendor certification really is indequate for providing superior world-class performance by the employees in Telus. Microsoft certified individuals are a dime-a-dozen as will be Cisco certification. What will be more advantageous to Telus, is having experts which are technically competent in IP as it relates to this rapidly evolving industry. For that, you need a training department attuned within the dynamics of technological change. As you may not know, AGT and BcTel used to have the best in the world trained telco employees until some HR dip-head decided that soft skills were the correct function for the Training Department. The employees were marketed world-wide and were well respected for their skill level.
Rick, if you don't like it's you're free to vote "no" - well, you would be free to, if this petition succeeded... that's the great thing about democracy!
That is the conundrum of this topic. Vote to accept a contract which has some ugly glaring flaws in it, or say no to the contract and hope something better eventually comes along.




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