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CRCN Message on the Steward Occupation Town Hall (Steward trade elimination)

btrudy

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Navy Public Affairs sent this out today:

Shipmates,

Today, Command Chief CPO1 Tom Lizotte, and I conducted a Town Hall with sailors currently serving as Stewards to announce that the Steward occupation is being eliminated. This was a very tough decision that was not taken lightly and, while the Steward occupation will phase out over the next three years, we value every one of our Stewards and will work with each of them individually to find the best way for them to continue their careers in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN).

I need to thank all those individuals who participated in the Town Hall today. Their concerns and questions were all heard. It takes a lot of courage to speak out and share your thoughts in an open forum like today, and for that I thank you all. Stewards have been managing uncertainty for many years especially with the Occupational Analysis ongoing since 2017. While I know that hearing this decision today was very tough, I hope that it provided a firm footing for us to move forward from and I believe that we are in better shape to plan the transition. Though the ultimate outcome won’t change, every steward will have a very strong say in how their transition plans are implemented.

As I said today, we don’t have all of the answers now, but, rather than trying to work behind the scenes to figure out every last detail, we wanted to be open and transparent that we have made this decision and work with all of you in the Steward community to determine how to best move forward.

One main concern heard was “what’s next for me?” The only immediate change is that we are going to stop recruiting new stewards as of this month. Those who are already serving will continue to be employed in all the jobs that they’ve been doing and we will take at least three years to complete the transition so that everyone will have time to determine the best option for themselves. Everyone is unique, and this will not be a one-size fits all situation. Each individual will be managed separately, according to their own circumstances and desires.

“Why?” We carefully considered options to continue the Steward occupation, and many of our Stewards were a part of those discussions. I know that the proposal developed was appealing to many. As we did the analysis, there was nothing that could not be performed by other occupations. Given the success of the all-ranks cafeteria on the Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships, and a careful study of the expected roles and functions required aboard the future Canadian Surface Combatants, we realized that even the revamped occupation was simply not going to be viable. Now that this decision has been announced, we will work to identify how the many important roles and functions performed by stewards today will be done in the future and what changes in the establishment and tasks of other occupations will be required as a result.

Today was about being accountable for the difficult decisions that sometimes have to be made: as the Commander of the RCN I felt it was essential to take the time to announce and explain the decision directly to the Stewards and answer their questions to the best of my ability. I feel that we accomplished that today. We don’t yet have all the answers, but as was made clear, we will do everything in our power to ensure this transition is as painless as possible for everyone. I also want to be clear that my goal is to retain every steward within the RCN and, for that reason, we will work to provide the most attractive possible options to each one of them.

Our people are our strength. Stewards have a long and honourable service record for which we are all proud, and this decision is not reflective of the valuable and dedicated service they have provided to the RCN. To all Stewards, please accept my sincere appreciation for your loyal service to the RCN, the CAF and our country. I hope that you will continue to serve, and know that you will be supported whatever your decision may be. On behalf of the entire RCN leadership team, thank you for all that you do for the Royal Canadian Navy, and your fellow Canadians.

Yours Aye,

Vice-Admiral Angus Topshee
Commander Royal Canadian Navy
 

daftandbarmy

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Navy Public Affairs sent this out today:

Did CRCN also write the screenplay for this movie? ;)

Office Space Movie GIF by hero0fwar
 

dapaterson

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Now that this decision has been announced, we will work to identify how the many important roles and functions performed by stewards today will be done in the future and what changes in the establishment and tasks of other occupations will be required as a result.

Isn't the normal procedure to figure out what needs to be done and how you'll do it in the future before deciding to eliminate something?

Or is the RCN taking advice from the same people who fired all the compensation advisors, then implemented a new pay system for the public service?
 

FSTO

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Isn't the normal procedure to figure out what needs to be done and how you'll do it in the future before deciding to eliminate something?

Or is the RCN taking advice from the same people who fired all the compensation advisors, then implemented a new pay system for the public service?
So we’re going to pile other duties on the supply department? Outstanding!!
 

FSTO

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Nah, that's a MarTech job.

Or - since I think NWO is the healthiest of the hard sea trades - we'll convert all the Steward positions to NWO.
Perfect, now all the fights and hookups can be contained totally in the wardroom and cabin flats!! BZ!
 

Furniture

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So we’re going to pile other duties on the supply department? Outstanding!!
Given that the Stewards are already part of the Logistics Department, it makes sense that the Logistics Department would take on the bulk of the jobs on ship... Likely by adding Cook/FSA positions in place of Stewards.
 

Underway

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So an honest and tough message to deliver was sent out by the CRCN and we're going to skewer him for it? It's better to open communication now than let the RCN rumor engine get to work with misinformation and nervous households. To me the approach seems appropriate, letting the trade know that the goal is to retain them if that's what they choose.

No sympathy here but that's a tough first week. Had to can a CO and now be the hatchet man for an entire trade. Thanks, VAdm Baine for the hot potato!

As far as backfill for steward jobs: NPF for messes, light cooking (breakfast), meal service for the wardroom and special functions, all are smart serve qualified for functions, casualty clearing team, canteen, cleaning officer cabins and wardroom.

Most of those jobs can either be eliminated (cooking, meal service), filled by another trade (NPF), or are also done by other members of the ships crew (smart serve for functions often done by other sailors, casualty clearing team can be anyone with the training, canteen is half voluntary from other trades most of the time, cleaning stations).

My largest concern is for the stewards themselves. If they want to stay in the RCN they need the CFAT score to switch trades. The steward CFAT score is not a high one many of those who really want to join the navy but can't get the CFAT end up in steward. The PSOs are not going to be lenient on switching to a new trade if the CFAT does not match unless there is some direction to override those scores to swap.

The newer ships have fewer crew. Stewards just don't fit onboard anymore.
 

Halifax Tar

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Isn't the normal procedure to figure out what needs to be done and how you'll do it in the future before deciding to eliminate something?

Or is the RCN taking advice from the same people who fired all the compensation advisors, then implemented a new pay system for the public service?

There is a plan. I am not willing to discuss it on these means before CRCN does his thing.

So an honest and tough message to deliver was sent out by the CRCN and we're going to skewer him for it? It's better to open communication now than let the RCN rumor engine get to work with misinformation and nervous households. To me the approach seems appropriate, letting the trade know that the goal is to retain them if that's what they choose.

No sympathy here but that's a tough first week. Had to can a CO and now be the hatchet man for an entire trade. Thanks, VAdm Baine for the hot potato!

As far as backfill for steward jobs: NPF for messes, light cooking (breakfast), meal service for the wardroom and special functions, all are smart serve qualified for functions, casualty clearing team, canteen, cleaning officer cabins and wardroom.

Most of those jobs can either be eliminated (cooking, meal service), filled by another trade (NPF), or are also done by other members of the ships crew (smart serve for functions often done by other sailors, casualty clearing team can be anyone with the training, canteen is half voluntary from other trades most of the time, cleaning stations).

My largest concern is for the stewards themselves. If they want to stay in the RCN they need the CFAT score to switch trades. The steward CFAT score is not a high one many of those who really want to join the navy but can't get the CFAT end up in steward. The PSOs are not going to be lenient on switching to a new trade if the CFAT does not match unless there is some direction to override those scores to swap.

The newer ships have fewer crew. Stewards just don't fit onboard anymore.

Well said. Angus is a good man, and your right it's been a shit first week.

This correspondence was professional and compassionate, and to make light of it is simply disrespectful.

I know there are alot of passionate and proud stewards right now that are pretty concerned about their future.
 

btrudy

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Where was it sent out? DWAN or social media?
I got it on the DWAN.
Isn't the normal procedure to figure out what needs to be done and how you'll do it in the future before deciding to eliminate something?

Or is the RCN taking advice from the same people who fired all the compensation advisors, then implemented a new pay system for the public service?
Eh, there's a hell of a lot of difference in the level of effort to determine "do we need this to be an entirely different occupation" and "exactly how are we going to split up the work, move people, etc. The latter is a far far greater effort, the bulk of which would be entirely wasted if you end up deciding to stick with the status quo.

As he says, it's expected to be at least a three year process before all existing Stewards are shuffled off elsewhere and all the job tasks settle into the new status quo.
No sympathy here but that's a tough first week. Had to can a CO and now be the hatchet man for an entire trade. Thanks, VAdm Baine for the hot potato!
Of course, that particular hot potato's been baking since 2017, so predated Baine too.

My largest concern is for the stewards themselves. If they want to stay in the RCN they need the CFAT score to switch trades. The steward CFAT score is not a high one many of those who really want to join the navy but can't get the CFAT end up in steward. The PSOs are not going to be lenient on switching to a new trade if the CFAT does not match unless there is some direction to override those scores to swap.
I strongly suspect there will be some direction given in that regards.
 

Underway

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I know there are alot of passionate and proud stewards right now that are pretty concerned about their future.
They should be proud. The trade is constantly looked down upon by the rest of the ship's company who consider them lightweights. The best stewards do extra quals like ships diver, FP Team/ Boarding Party training to fight back against that perception. It's one thing to be made fun of as a lightweight, it's another thing to be a rescue swimmer as a secondary position and pull people out of the ocean when the surface water temp is 2 degrees.
Of course, that particular hot potato's been baking since 2017, so predated Baine too.
For sure. I'm glad to see they finally figured out what they want to do with them.

There is a plan. I am not willing to discuss it on these means before CRCN does his thing.
Figured as much. One hopes they learned from the WENG Tech and MARTECH trade changes.
 

Halifax Tar

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My largest concern is for the stewards themselves. If they want to stay in the RCN they need the CFAT score to switch trades. The steward CFAT score is not a high one many of those who really want to join the navy but can't get the CFAT end up in steward. The PSOs are not going to be lenient on switching to a new trade if the CFAT does not match unless there is some direction to override those scores to swap.

Absolutely good point.

They should be proud. The trade is constantly looked down upon by the rest of the ship's company who consider them lightweights. The best stewards do extra quals like ships diver, FP Team/ Boarding Party training to fight back against that perception. It's one thing to be made fun of as a lightweight, it's another thing to be a rescue swimmer as a secondary position and pull people out of the ocean when the surface water temp is 2 degrees.

Fully onside. I know alot of a great STEWs who are as you mention.
 

Jarnhamar

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cleaning officer cabins and wardroom.

I wonder who the navy could get to clean the officer cabins and wardrooms now.

The PSOs are not going to be lenient on switching to a new trade if the CFAT does not match unless there is some direction to override those scores to swap.

It wouldn't be the first time sub-par CFAT scores were ignored to bring identified persons into a trade/the CAF.
 

Underway

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It wouldn't be the first time sub-par CFAT scores were ignored to bring identified persons into a trade/the CAF.
Sometimes CFAT predicts nothing. There are cultural bias' in many tests like that. There is a reason the French and English scores are different. Because different languages mean different thinking. But that's why there is a waiver process.

I can see a situation where a PO2 steward has proven themselves and OT's to stores or finance for example, even if their CFAT doesn't line up perfectly.

I wonder who the navy could get to clean the officer cabins and wardrooms now.

With the new ships and the fact that there are semi-private heads/showers, I expect that Chiefs and POs along with the officers will be cleaning their own spaces. Common heads and wash places will still be crew cleaning stations. The wardroom is likely a team effort by the wardroom themselves as is the case on the MCDV's and the AOPS.
 

NavyShooter

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I hope they learned from the Martech and W Eng....

Those would be case examples of what not to do...right?

I feel for the uncertainty, but those sailors should simply look at the numbers - and realize that the Navy is going to do damn near anything to keep people that want to stay, and to accommodate them.

There will be some retraining - some steep learning curves, and some people that will turn out to be round pegs for square holes...but for the most part, I think folks will manage OK.
 

Halifax Tar

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Sometimes CFAT predicts nothing. There are cultural bias' in many tests like that. There is a reason the French and English scores are different. Because different languages mean different thinking. But that's why there is a waiver process.

I can see a situation where a PO2 steward has proven themselves and OT's to stores or finance for example, even if their CFAT doesn't line up perfectly.

It will be interesting to see how they managed the PO2 and up.

With the new ships and the fact that there are semi-private heads/showers, I expect that Chiefs and POs along with the officers will be cleaning their own spaces. Common heads and wash places will still be crew cleaning stations. The wardroom is likely a team effort by the wardroom themselves as is the case on the MCDV's and the AOPS.

Honestly that should have been the way the whole time.
 

Underway

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I hope they learned from the Martech and W Eng....

Those would be case examples of what not to do...right?

MARTECH what not to do. That's a disaster.

WENGTECH worked out OK, though it was not evident immediately. The advantages of the new system was not apparent until the PO2s (trained under the new system) went to their PO1 boards. And then it was clear that the common knowledge baseline at the LS level paid off. There are disadvantages in that they don't have as deep a knowledge in their specialty but the good ones always find a way to be experts despite that.

It's also good when you can borrow a LS from say, the Acoustics section and have them help the Comm's folks in a tight spot because they did the common OJT.

I feel for the uncertainty, but those sailors should simply look at the numbers - and realize that the Navy is going to do damn near anything to keep people that want to stay, and to accommodate them.

There will be some retraining - some steep learning curves, and some people that will turn out to be round pegs for square holes...but for the most part, I think folks will manage OK.
I am optimistic about this as well. With folks like yourself showing welcoming leadership and understanding a fair number of former stewards will be able to make the jump as painlessly as possible to a new career path.
 

dapaterson

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There are disadvantages in that they don't have as deep a knowledge in their specialty but the good ones always find a way to be experts despite that.
Not having knowledge in their specialty and hoping for serendipity that someone might gain that knowledge despite the training system does not strike me as an optimal method to develop professional technicians.
 
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