Representation

Our members can count on their union to represent their interests in dealings with management. It’s a job we take very seriously. While we believe in fostering a constructive relationship with the employer, we’re vigilant and aggressive in protecting our members’ welfare – from the workplace to the courts to Parliament Hill. Volunteer Local executive members lead the daily workplace fight to represent and advance the interests of their co-workers. They assist members on workplace problems or incidents of management abuse in such areas as discipline, harassment, discrimination, health and safety and technological change. While most workplace problems can and should be addressed at the Local Union level, that’s not always possible. In such cases, our members can contact their appropriate Regional Vice-President or National Director. Agricultural Union RVPs and Directors are seasoned, knowledgeable union activists. As they reside in regions across the country, they have an intimate understanding of the individual Local’s circumstances. Union Officers at all levels are also able to draw on a strong team of Service Officers and administrative staff located at our National Office, in Ottawa. These experienced staff provide guidance and support to the membership in all parts of our jurisdiction. Among their responsibilities, Agriculture Union Service Officers provide direct representation on final-level grievances and advisory services to Locals on such issues as health and safety and human rights.

Grievance Representation

Whenever an Agriculture Union member believes that his or her workplace rights have been violated, our union works with that member to try and resolve the problem informally. If that effort fails, the union will provide assistance by reviewing other forms of redress, including the grievance procedure. The grievance procedure includes three or four levels, depending on the Department or Agency involved. The exception involves classification grievances, which are only heard at the final level. National Office Service Officers provide direct representation on final-level grievances.

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Representation On Complaints

Changes to the labour relations regime in the federal public service have brought about the disappearance of ‘appeals’ as an avenue of disputing managerial staffing decisions. Instead, appeals have been replaced by a narrower ‘complaints’ process under the Public Service Staffing Tribunal. The PSST was established by the ‘new’ Public Service Employment Act that came into force December 31, 2005. The PSST, alone, deals with complaints related to internal appointments and layoffs. The Tribunal provides the only hearing-based recourse available to Agriculture Union members falling under the authority of the Treasury Board. One other change is of critical importance to any members launching a complaint. Unlike the case with the former appeals process, the PSST does not send the copy of a member’s complaint to the Agriculture Union. If you, or another member you know, are contemplating filing a complaint to the PSST, ensure a copy of that complaint is sent to the Agriculture Union National Office. Otherwise, you run the risk of losing both advice and representation assistance from your union.

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Public Service Staffing Tribunal Complaint Forms

The Public Service Staffing Tribunal provides a large number of forms having to do with both complaints and mediation. A list of downloadable and fillable forms is provided on this NHU Web site page. To begin, select one of the two following categories: If you are uncertain as to how the PSST functions, the following publication provides a detailed overview of the Trbunal’s structure and functions: PSST Procedural Guide.

The PSST has also produced an Electronic Guidebook, an easy-to-use visual reference tool with much useful information on all aspects of the complaint process. Click HERE to see and have access to this Guidebook.

PSST COMPLAINT FORMS

Health And Safety

Many of our members work in particularly stressful and dangerous work environments. Effective health and safety provisions are therefore a major preoccupation of the Agriculture Union. The Canada Labour Code’s safety and health provisions provide for joint union-management safety and health committees in all workplaces where 20 or more people are employed. In work places where there are fewer than 20 employees, there must be a union-appointed health and safety representative. In addition to Canada Labour Code protections, there are negotiated safety and health clauses in collective agreements. Some additional agreements reached at the National Joint Council of the Public Service also form part of collective agreements. The National Joint Occupational Safety and Health Committee (NJOSH) is the cornerstone of our efforts to ensure the employer follows both the letter and the spirit of federal safety and health laws. NJOSH, with representation from both the Agriculture Union and the employer, meets regularly to deal with a wide range of safety and health issues. As a member union of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, the Agriculture Union is able to draw on expert PSAC staff with in-depth knowledge of the health and safety laws and regulations that apply to our members.

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Labour-Management Consultation

Representation is also provided Agriculture Union members through local, regional and national participation in labour-management consultation committees. Either party can put an item on the agenda of the appropriate LMCC.

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