Friday, November 21, 2014

Setting the record straight - What really happened versus the partial picture.

Dave Bulmer recently sent an email out that held an assertion that was not entirely accurate so I would like to set the record straight. He claimed that he had played a “lead role” in crafting a motion that was passed unanimously at the October 2014 Board meeting wherein the Association has committed to working with OPSEU on campaigns aimed at repatriating IT (and other public sector) work to the civil service."

For the record I would like to state that the motion in question came as a result of a vigorous discussion between the President and me at the October board meeting.  I took issue with the President only inviting the Executive members to attend the recent OPSEU MPP Day and not include any representatives from the IT community. As the one of the few Board members, (along with President Gannage and Vice President Pardaens) who has any expertise in or personal familiarity with the fee for service and privatization issues, I should have been included. (See my blog post of March 7, 2014). Since the focus of this OPSEU MPP day was information technology, Smokey Thomas as the host, brought sixteen OPSEU represented information technology professionals. It was his party of course.

The motion that Dave mentions in his email to delegates was the result of a combined effort of several board members including Sally Pardaens, Gary Gannage, Theresa Anderson-Butcher, Dave Bulmer, and myself.  We all had a hand in crafting the final version of the motion.  At the meeting I wrote down the actual completed motion.  The wording of the motion itself can be confirmed with the Secretary of the Association.

The motion states;

AMAPCEO will continue to work with OPSEU and others to study and reduce the potential impact of privatization and/or outsourcing/insourcing (e.g. fee for service) of the work of OPS employees.  Included in these efforts will be a communications strategy to inform stakeholders (e.g. government, employer representatives, OPS employees and the public) of the negative impact of these approaches to the delivery of public services.  This initiative will also focus on outsourcing/insourcing of work such as; IT, Health Care Services, Environmental Services, Mediation/Arbitration Services, etc.

The motion itself was moved by Gary Gannage, seconded by Sally Pardaens, and was passed unanimously by the Board.

The motion as you can read never included the words ‘repatriating IT (and other public sector) work to the civil service.’ I suppose one may conclude that that may be an end result at some point in the future if this motion is successfully executed.

However, going back to the February Board meeting Resolution 21 (Fee for Service Consultants Sunshine List) was brought up for discussion.  At that meeting Mr. Bulmer had the opportunity to support the objective of the resolution but he did not. The President stated empathically at the meeting that AMAPCEO is not capable of gathering that information and has no control over it, so no further action was taken.  I objected and pointed to a number of possible sources, but to no avail. In the meantime OPSEU has gone ahead and begun the process of gathering and publishing information on fee for service and the privatization of services offered by the OPS in an effort to protect its members.

Fast forward to the May 2014 Board meeting, I once again raised the issue of the employer’s use of Fee For Service, causing a motion to be raised by Gary Gannage and seconded by myself affirming that AMAPCEO should continue to draw attention to the issues of the use of Fee for Service consultants, outsourcing and privatization, including supporting the organized OPSEU campaign related to the use of consultants.  At that point in time Mr. Bulmer could have stepped up and taken the lead on this issue but didn’t. He did however,vote in favour of the motion.

But I digress, back to the OPSEU MPP Day. At that event Ms. Pardaens did use that opportunity to speak with Catherine Fife (NDP Finance Critic) and Vic Fedeli (PC Leader Candidate) about the Fee for Service and the Privatization issues.  She suggested that they look at the direction some of the pioneers of privatization like General Motors have taken.  General Motors for example, after much pain realized that outsourcing their IT wasn't working.  They ended up changing their business model and are in the process of hiring up to 10,00 new workers to replace those jobs that had been outsourced.  Both Ms. Fife and Mr. Fedeli were keening interested in what she shared.

More recently in a note to the delegates and members most likely to be impacted by the steady growth in of private consultants Sally Pardaens wrote of the active effort both she and I are taking to bring this issue in front of those in power with the influence to create positive change.  We are currently working on a research/briefing paper that besides looking at business trends will also a review of a number of policy papers written by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and the work done by NUPGE.

Some have said I am a one trick pony with a single item agenda.  To them I would say that given a similar situation where members’ rights and welfare and their jobs need to be protected I would prosecute that issue with the same vigor and energy that I have shown for these two issues. 

In closing I will say if anyone can legitimately claim to taking a lead on the issue of increasing use of fee for service consultants and privatization of services affecting AMAPCEO represented members it would be Sally Pardaens and I. 

United we are strong.

No comments:

Post a Comment