Using the digital (Adobe Acrobat PDF) version of our Collective Agreement

When I need to refer to our Collective Agreement (CA) I head for a computer (if available) before reaching for the book.

The same information applies to our National Constitution as well. The bookmarked pdf version of the Constitution can be found HERE.

There are some veteran activists that still prefer to grab a physical paper book. When you watch them you can understand why. Their muscle memory comes into play and they seem to be able to find what ever they need quickly. Kind of like watching a competitive Rubik’s cube solve. This is not me…

While a PDF (Portable Document Format) is an image of a document, when the text is recognized as it is with our CA it becomes a whole new animal. With word searches and the ability to copy+paste, it is transformed into a valuable tool.

This article is going to deal with two very useful ways to use the PDF version of our collective agreement on your computer: Word Searches and Using Bookmarks.

highly recommend that you download the CA onto your computer and then open it with Adobe Acrobat Reader, a free download that most of us will already have on our computers. If you open the CA in your web browser you may be missing some of the functionality available in the Adobe Reader.

I also highly recommend that you grab the version of CA available on the Vancouver Local website (RSMC agreement available HERE) instead of the one on our National site. This is because some slightly geekish postal worker with nothing better to do on a Sunday evening wasted several hours adding bookmarks to that version of the PDF. (More on this later.)

Assuming you have downloaded the Vancouver CA PDF (RSMC agreement available HERE) and have opened the file with Adobe Acrobat Reader, then the following should work for you.


This is what you should see when you have the CA PDF opened in your PDF reader.




Now, using your keyboard, hold down the “Ctrl” key and press “F”.

This will open up a “word search” window in the upper right of your screen.


Type the words you need to find into the search window. In this example we are using “local agreements”.


After you hit the “enter” key, the document will go directly to the first place in the collective agreement where the word(s) you entered appear. In this example this happens to be in the index of the CA.


You can then use the “forward/backward” arrows in the search window to cycle through every single instance of your chosen words appearing in our CA.


Try this out for yourself. You’ll be amazed how easy it can be to find what you’re looking for.


If you are using a version of the PDF with bookmarks added (available on the Vancouver site) (RSMC agreement available HERE), you can open up the bookmarks pane in Acrobat Reader by clicking on the icon shown below.


You will now be able to use bookmarks to quickly and easily navigate your way around the CA.



Expand the Article bookmark to reveal the clauses it contains by clicking on the “+” icon to the left of the article you are referring to as shown below.


With all the clauses in the Article revealed, simply click on the clause you need, in this example we are using “9.07 Rights of Employees to Complain”, and you will be taken directly to the clause.








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