Montreal, November 3, 2019
The ten members of the APS National Executive Committee were called upon to attend the meeting in Montreal on November 3, 2019, to participate in one of the two semi-annual mandatory meetings as per the By-Laws of the association. Other executive meetings are held by teleconference throughout the year.
The former APS National President, Mario Poudrier also invited all delegates who participated at the National Council the day before, to join the group as observers. Mario thus completed his mandate at the APS by maintaining this custom practiced over the years to expand this session of the national executive to support his commitment to transparency.
Despite a full agenda, all eyes were on the last item covering the succession of the National President. The executive committee members unanimously elected Stéphane Désautels (president of the Montreal local Branch) as APS National President, succeeding Mario Poudrier. The proposal was submitted by David MacFarlane from Edmonton, an APS pioneer who sits on the executive as Director of the Western Region and seconded by the Toronto Branch Local President Nathan Farr. The resolution was adopted unanimously and greeted with heartfelt applause from the participants.
For the first item on the agenda of this historic session that concluded 18 years of uninterrupted leadership by Mario Poudrier at the head of the union, there was, as usual, a detailed presentation of APS financial statements. In fact, a resolution for the renewal of the auditors was officially announced to the accountants for the preparation of the financial statements 2019-2020 due to the vote previously unveiled at the Members Annual General Assembly. The two main partners of the firm Désormeaux, Patenaude, were present to go through the many items describing the financial life of the organization for the last 12 months. No surprises, instead, higher revenues due to an increase in our members and higher returns on investments due to changes in the investment policy. Isabelle Benoit, the National Treasurer had preceded the presentation with a summary of her work content at the National Council meeting held the day before. It crowned a first year of success for Isabelle, who also spearheaded APS’s new investment policy.
A lively discussion led to a study of the strategy to be followed in case of the renewal of the APS-CBC collective agreement. The clause provides for two options when the contract expires on March 31, 2020: the negotiation of a new agreement or an extension of two additional years. In presenting the current state of the labour relations between the two parties, the General Manager pointed out that several contentious issues are still active since the ratification of the latest agreement. However, he noted that attempts were being made to find solutions. The contentions are the disagreement between the two parties over the calculation of the time required to reach the midpoint of the salary bands, the application of the ‘on-call’ payment clause, and the situation of the Script Editors in the News department in Montreal, without any status. Also, there are still employees who were left out of the recent salary range increases; those are, all employees located beyond the midpoint of the salary bands. Despite the numerous representations on the topic, the employer has always turned a deaf ear to compensate the most deserving of its employees who found themselves in a situation of regression during the two significant increases allocated by CBC. Those are the ones who reached the top of the salary bands thanks to their tenacity and professional achievements. For example, employees at the top of the grid are now being demoted to the midpoint as a result of the changes. In the course of discussions on the subject, a new trend of opinion emerged strongly to consider the introduction of automatic increases, as in other collective agreements. So there is a long way to go before contemplating the renewal option. However, this will be one of the main tasks awaiting the new APS President to see more closely whether the elimination of those irritants is feasible. A file to watch for in the near future.
Other issues discussed at the executive meeting included stewardship decisions such as insurance policy renewal, Christmas parties and committee assignments with APS representatives. Members will be able to see the outcome very soon as the holiday season begins when the APS will be more present than ever.