Based on what I heard, and what I can infer from the context, it looks like these people put in affidavits because the union side wanted to show that as a result of the Public Services Sustainability Act, collective bargaining in the Province is becoming exceedingly difficult, and, in some cases, practically impossible.
I gather that taking all monetary issues off the table makes it almost not worth it for the unions to bother bargaining, and nobody seems to know whether the wages are being forced off of the table because of the PSSA or not. Even though the PSSA hasn’t been proclaimed, employers are coming to the table with the PSSA pattern – 0%, 0%, 0.75%, 1%, but no one seems to be willing to admit or say that this is because they are bound by it.
During the IUOE 987 negotiations, Marc Lafond got a letter from his counterpart, Elizabeth Beaupre, saying that the PSSA did not apply to the agreement, and enclosing a legal opinion confirming that fact. But, from what I can tell, Beaupre and the WHRA offered 0%, 0% and nothing else for 2017 and 2018, and stuck to it. So where did they get that? And why? Seems to me as though this is the PSSA in indirect action, whether anyone says so or not.
That was the clearest indication of a connection between the limbo-ing PSSA and ongoing negotiations, but as best as I can tell, no matter what anyone said or didn’t say, in every negotiation that the super six was involved with, they were met with the same position from the employer – some form of wage non-increases based on the PSSA pattern: 0%, 0%, 0.75%, 1%.
To their credit, some of the employers seem to have been as unhappy with the situation as their unions were. In the Memorandum of Understanding surrounding the agreement with BUFA, Brandon University agreed that “both sides acknowledge the detrimental effect of the PSSA on collective bargaining.” Nonetheless, for whatever reason, the employers seemed to feel that they needed to comply with it.
The tenor of the government’s cross-examinations remained the same as before – a smattering of additional facts followed by a focus on all the wonderful things the unions can still bargain for even when all monetary issues are swept off the table. For example: