Ghiz Government Turns its Back on Casual Employees

Posted June 22, 2011

The PEI Union of Public Sector Employees represents over 5000 members, and 1200 of these are casual employees working directly for the province.  The union attended a very disappointing conciliation session on Monday, June 21, 2011 with representatives of the government.  The meeting was part of ongoing efforts to finalize the portions of the PEI UPSE Civil Service collective agreement related to casual employees. The collective agreement for regular employees was settled by the award of Arbitrator Bruce Outhouse in February 2011, however, the government refused to put the casual employees’ issues before the arbitrator. This refusal has left casual employees in the civil service without any resolve in regard to a number of issues.

The President of PEI UPSE, Shelley Ward, says that “the most important issue on the table was that casual employees should be allowed preference over the general public in open job competitions as long as minimum qualifications for the job are first met.  This proposal is fair because it ensures that a casual employee’s experience in the civil service will count when it comes to competing for a position.  However, the government is against this idea because it would make patronage appointments and political control over the casual workforce more difficult. They like the flexibility of being able to put anyone into a job regardless of their experience – it’s part of what enables patronage on P.E.I.”

Ward also expressed concern about the Liberal government’s “take it or leave it” stance during conciliation."They didn’t show up to bargain in good faith on behalf of their own employees,” said Ward. “They presented a proposal that was entirely unsatisfactory, and then refused to negotiate further with the union.  We see this as yet another example of this Liberal government’s disrespect of its casual employees.”

“Let’s face it,” says Ward, “the Liberals provide great lip service when it comes to being labour - friendly. The Premier and his government’s record is no better than the Harper government’s record when it comes to disrespecting the bargaining process and attacking working people. The Liberal government has turned its back on casual civil service employees in Prince Edward Island.”

Please contact Mark Barrett at 892-5335 (or toll-free at 1-800- 897-8773) to arrange an interview.