We have received the Classification Referee's decision regarding the Deputy Sheriff, Sergeant and Staff Sergeant positions in the Deputy Sheriff series.
The Classification Referee only has jurisdiction to make a decision based on the existing Public Service Job Evaluation Plan and the existing benchmarks, which form part of the plan. The BCGEU and the PSA agreed to the plan in bargaining, and only they can negotiate changes to the plan. This means the decision of the Classification Referee cannot establish a new application or interpretation to the plan, including how the plan rates certain activities established through existing benchmark examples.
Overall, the Referee accepted there have been significant changes in job duties and accountabilities since the jobs were initially rated under the plan. In most cases, however, she has accepted the employer's rationales and ratings which moved the jobs up from their original 1996 ratings to their existing levels. For the Deputy Sheriff and Sergeant positions this means there will be no overall grid level increases.
The Staff Sergeants will move from grid 24 to grid 27 due to additional credit for physical effort. The Referee did not accept the union's arguments that changes in the work were enough to change the main rating in job knowledge or most of the other factors we argued. She has accepted, however, an alternative argument the union made, subsequently confirmed by the employer, that the Staff Sergeant should be credited with same physical effort as the Deputy Sheriffs and Sergeants to occasionally push, pull and lift non-cooperative adult persons in custody. The additional credit for this one activity is enough to move the Staff Sergeants to grid 27.
The union was not successful in any arguments put forward on behalf of the Sergeants. The Referee notes that the employer's ratings already recognize and take into account significant changes in the job since it was first rated in the late 1990s. She also agreed with the employer to reduce the financial responsibility rating for validating as opposed to authorizing overtime, although that does not change the grid level. The Sergeants therefore remain at grid 21.
As with the other Sheriff positions, the Referee agreed there have been significant changes in the Deputy Sheriff's job duties and accountabilities. While acknowledging the union's comprehensive arguments and volume of evidence, she concluded that the employer's proposed ratings were appropriate. The one exception was in financial responsibility where she noted that, as a result of the union's evidence and submissions, the employer subsequently agreed to change its rating one level for this factor. This gives the Deputy Sheriffs only 5 of the 88 points needed to move up to grid 21.
The Classification Referee's decision confirms the Deputy Sheriffs at Grid 18, Sergeants at Grid 21, and Staff Sergeants move to Grid 27.
We have not yet had a chance to review the decision in detail, but it is final and binding, and is available here. The decision will impact other positions in Sheriff Services. The union will be in touch with the PSA to confirm details about retroactivity for the Staff Sergeants and other implementation details.
The union is in the process of setting up a meeting with the Deputy Sheriff Focus Group as well as a general meeting with the membership within the next few weeks to discuss the decision and strategize on next steps.
This reference job review has been a long and complex process, and we were fortunate to have four dedicated and knowledgeable Sheriff representatives who attended many meetings to provide information, work examples and feedback on the union's arguments. We therefore wish to acknowledge the following members for their hard work:
Paul Dhillon, Staff Sergeant- Local 103 Shop Steward, 222 Main St
Derrick Goodwin, Deputy Sheriff- 1st Vice Chair Local 103, New Westminster
Jeff Mercer, Deputy Sheriff- Shop Steward, New Westminster
Scott Van Der Ree, Deputy Sheriff- Local 104 Executive, Chilliwack
Dean Purdy - BCGEU Vice President - Corrections and Sheriff Services - Component 1
Jennifer Jordan – BCGEU Staff Representative
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