AMA Responses

Should CAPE pro-actively attempt to get members involved with the union?

Yes! I would love to see CAPE campaigns to try to get new and old members more involved. I would also love to see a campaign to encourage RAND members to sign up so their voices can be heard.

There also needs to be various ways to get involved that don’t include 3 hour AGMs. Not everyone has the time, ability, energy — or desire frankly — to sit through a three-hour AGM. Plenty of people, though, would be happy to dip their toes in the water by signing up as a member, and/or answering a short survey in exchange for the chance to win something fun, or for a CAPE branded pen, lanyard, mousepad, etc.

Should CAPE put in place an official forum that allows members to publicly interact with each other?

Yes! This did exist many years ago but wasn’t very active. It would be great to see it come back with member participation regularly encouraged. What I don’t want to happen, though, is for CAPE to spend thousands of dollars on a solution for only a few members to chat with one another.

Should CAPE set-up an opt-in system so that members can receive text messages when important events happen such as annual general meetings or EC Director debates?

I’m not sure. CAPE already has an opt-in system for emails which seems to more or less work.

If it can be done in a cost-effective way and enough members would prefer to get their CAPE information by text, I think it’s a good idea.

Personally, I hate getting robo-texts, and would definitely opt-out of this service, though.

Should CAPE push the employer to dramatically increase Official Language training capacity?

Yes, and I think it’s already happening, but should continue.

It’s important for employees to have managers who can speak to them in their preferred official language.

It’s also important to provide sufficient language training so that opportunities aren’t limited because they employees can’t communicate in both official languages.

Should CAPE carry out an in-depth analysis of what would be required for a strike to be effective?

CAPE has chosen binding arbitration since it’s inception, and members have received at least as much (and sometimes more) than unions who have gone on strike. An official vote, not just a short survey, should be sent to members to see what the current sentiment is.

Should CAPE publish all of its historical collective agreements, print journals, budget, financial statements, committee minutes and video recordings of its public meetings (including the same documents from the historical unions that CAPE was merged from) on its website?

As long as they’ve got access to them digitally and there is no privacy breach, I don’t see why not.

Should CAPE hold an annual convention for local leaders and stewards to meet and collaborate?

Yes. As long as it’s done fiscally responsibly and takes into account those who can’t attend in person. Another PS union recently paid for thousands of their local leaders, stewards, delegates, and selected members to attend its AGM in Montreal. Considering 90 percent of these people were coming from Ottawa, they wasted a ton of money on travel and hotels. If I were in that union, I would be pretty upset.

Should CAPE offer starter kits for members looking to activate a previously inactive local?

Starter kits are a great start for lack of a better word, but would be more effective if these initiatives would be supported by discussions with CAPE national.

Should CAPE implement a progressive union dues structure?

I don’t think so. CAPE members receive equal service (or lack thereof) and should pay the same amount for it. That said, CAPE dues haven’t gone up in years when costs all around us have risen substantially. Eventually, the current dues just won’t be sustainable.

I am in favour of a dues increase matching negotiated collective agreements.

Should CAPE support student interns and co-operative students in the federal public service to defend themselves as workers and organize?

Depends on what you mean by ‘support’. I don’t know that I’m in favour of CAPE spending money for students to form their own union, but I don’t see anything wrong with CAPE offering some words of advice or encouragement.

Should CAPE adopt an open bargaining approach to negotiating collective agreements?

Depends on what you mean by open bargaining. If it means more frequent updates, then absolutely! I don’t think it’s effective for the bargaining team’s mandate to change regularly in the midst of negotiations, however.

Should CAPE administer our own version of the PSES that asks all of the hard questions that the PSES avoids asking?

I’m not sure what ‘hard questions’ you’re referring to, but it seems like a waste of resources for CAPE to have its own survey. Instead, CAPE should advocate for helping to determine new and existing questions in the current PSES.

Should CAPE members be allowed to criticize their union on social media platforms?

I don’t see why not, as long as it’s not slanderous and isn’t offensive to a protected class.

When a tentative collective agreement has been agreed to by a collective bargaining committee and our employer, should members be allowed to debate whether to approve it or not in a special general meeting?

Sure, but not a marathon debate which could go on for weeks — there would never be enough time to hear from everyone who wants to be heard. Perhaps an online forum would be a good place for members to continue to discuss their thoughts on the agreement before voting.


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