Elizabeth Carlyle’s affidavit was about the negotiations that took place between a CUPE local (I think it is support staff, but I’m not sure) and the Winnipeg School Division from February-May, 2017, just before the Public Services Sustainability Act was passed. Carlyle was the chief negotiator for the local, and she negotiated with Eric Barnaby, who is with the Human Resources department of the Winnipeg School Division.
CUPE started the bargaining process after the existing collective agreement expired on August 29, 2016. At the first meeting on February 21, 2017, the Winnipeg School Division began by saying that due to reduced funding from the Province (a cap of 1.4%), they had limited room to bargain.
Leonoff asks Carlyle to confirm that it is “not unusual” for employers to give mandates to their negotiators – a set of parameters that management wants the results to fit within. Carlyle says that it does happen, but it depends on the context (sound like a little less than “not unusual” and more like “not that often.”)
I’m sure there is more in Carlyle’s affidavit about what happened at that meeting, but that isn’t what Heather wants to talk about, so she moves on to the second meeting, which took place on May 23, 2017.
“It is not unusual for there to be a three-month gap, right, bargaining can be slow?” she asks. Carlyle agrees.
Then we get into why Leonoff really wants to ask Carlyle about. Apparently, one of the things that was discussed at the second meeting was the elimination of Article 11.09, a provision about sick leave. This would save money (and under the PSSA might qualify as “sustainability savings” which the unions might get credit for – more on that later.)
Somewhere in someone’s notes about this meeting, there was a suggestion that they should cost this elimination of sick leave out, and see whether they can engage in some creative problem-solving.
“But you didn’t cost it out, did you? You didn’t get creative …” Leonoff puts to Carlyle. Like Rebeck, this is another round of “you unions just wouldn’t cooperate would you?”