Unit 1

UNIT 1  Bargaining Team currently preparing to negotiate a new Collective Agreement  (expires September 6, 2019):

  • Gerry Boily
  • Michael Curran
  • Leila Meskine
  • Darrin Sunstrum
  •  ~Vacant~

Phil Wachel, 4207 President, ex officio.

Bargaining Research Committee:

  • Fauziya Ali
  • Tracy Kennedy
  • Mikko Kivisto
  • Denis Wall

The following dates were set for meetings with the employer. December 20the will have been the 15th negotiations meeting. We are allowed to bring up to five members-observes to the negotiation meetings. Check out the dates below and if interested, let us know by emailing more than 24 hours before the bargaining date. You can then attend the meeting as an observer – this means that you have no voice while negotiations are going on and that you simply observe.

DATE TIME BARGAINING ROOM
November 4, 2019 9:00am – 5:00pm MCD 350L
November 5, 2019 9:00am – 5:00pm ST 1126
November 6, 2019 1:00pm – 5:00pm ST 1126
November 21, 2019 9:00am – 5:00pm ST 1126
November 22, 2019 9:00am – 5:00pm ST 1126
November 26, 2019 9:00am – 5:00pm IC 207
December 6, 2019 9:00am – 5:00pm ST 1126
December 9, 2019 9:00am – 5:00pm MCD 350L
December 12, 2019 9:00am – 5:00pm MCD 350L
December 20, 2019 9:00am – 5:00pm ST1126

Bargaining meeting on November  4, 5 and 6th.

One CUPE 4207 observer attended each Bargaining meeting (a different observer each day).

All in all, the three consecutive days of bargaining proved to be frustrating.

On November 4, a Letter of Understanding (LOU) was signed off. Members will continue to be paid via the Workday schedule for the life of the Collective Agreement (CA). The “pay to date” language remains in the CA.

As well, a very minor change to Article 7 was agreed to on November 4. Language was change that recognizes the fact that the University can file policy grievances (In practice, this is extremely rare).

The Allocation of Hours (AOH) form appears in the back of the CA. The parties agreed to make small changes to the form. Currently, the AOH form mentions that the form was prepared by the Course Supervisor (who is usually the Course Instructor – a CUPE 4207 member or a BUFA member).  The new version of the form will state that the form was prepared by the Instructor, Course Coordinator or Senior Lab Demonstrator. The form also states that “Questions about this form or your employment under this contract including absence should be directed to the Primary Course Contact”.

The Employer does not see our tuition Indexation proposal as a work issue, but rather as a student issue. We mentioned how tuition indexation is addressed in some collective agreements.

We introduced a proposal that would see members get library access after a contract ends. It was noted that library access is for employees only. The Union mentioned that this is not always the case, for example, BUFA retirees get library access as non-employees of the University.

We pitched the idea that members doing joint committee work (e.g., Anti-Smoking Task Force) should be paid for their time. The Employer did not say no to this proposal (but did not agree to it, either).

We pitched a significant increase to the Cancelation Stipend (similar to what the folks at CUPE 3902 get). The Employer listened to our Proposal, but in the end deferred it since it is a monetary item.

The Union provided a counter to the Employer proposal to increase preference in hiring to Instructor work. Our counter set a rigid set of conditions for this to be implemented.
A few of the conditions:
– 0.5 credit in the last year of the degree
– 30 students class cap
– The work would be an additional section of a course
– The Instructor would not have to TA the first seminar of the course.
– A Marker-Grader or Course Coordinator would be hired for the section.

We meet again on November 21 and 22. If you would like to attend as an Observer for either (or both) days, please email the union    info@cupe4207.org

 

Fifth meeting with the Employer October 29

Two CUPE observers attended the meeting. Much of the day was spent discussing Union Proposals regarding “Immediate Supervisor” and “Workload and Allocation of Hours”.

The Union proposed that a Supervisor (“the Chair”) can designate an Immediate Supervisor, who could be the Course Instructor. The Immediate Supervisor would do tasks like crafting Allocation of Hours forms. The Employer balked at the term “Immediate Supervisor”.

The Union will submit an updated Proposal that combines the Union’s “Immediate Supervisor” and “Workload and Allocation of Hours” Proposals at the next meeting.

Two Articles were signed off:  Article 7 (Grievance Procedure) and Article 24 (Employment Accommodation) (formerly Employment Accommodation for Employees with Disabilities).
Article 7 saw a change which references the fact that both the Union and the Employer can file grievances. (Although the employer filing a policy grievance is a highly irregular occurrence.) Article 24 saw a housekeeping change where a new university policy name is now being referenced properly (Employment Accommodation).

The Union drafted a Letter of Understanding [LOU] that proposes to pause our previous pay style, “Paid to Date”, rather than remove it because it does not exist with WorkDay. The Employer will respond to this LOU at the next meeting, November 4th. See the schedule of meetings at our bargaining page https://4207.cupe.ca/bargaining-2019/unit-1/. Let the union know if you want to be present there as an observer. The notification should not be shorter than 24 hours ahead of the meeting as we have to notify the employer. You can stay as long as you want – one hour, or the whole day.

 

Fourth meeting with Employer October 22

On October 22 the U1 bargaining team and the employer met for the fourth time.  One CUPE 4207 observer was present for the meeting.
The Union presented and explained the purpose of our 14 estoppels. These are practices that the Union no longer accepts (For example: We no longer accept the practice of full time graduate students who work as Instructors NOT getting the Grad Student Supplement ).
Our bargaining team took about three hours on explaining our proposals to the University’s negotiating team. The University spent about 30 minutes explaining their proposals to the Union.
The employer’s  proposals include:

  • Preference in hiring for FT grad students be extended to include Instructor work.
  • The time to accept an offer of employment  be decreased from 2 weeks to 2 days.
  • The probationary period be increased from 2 terms to 2 full academic terms.
  • Paper job applications no longer be accepted.
  • A dismissed worker no longer receive salary during the period that the grievance is being decided.

Third meeting with Employer September 25

The U1 Bargaining Committee spent the third meeting with employer, September 25, on finalizing the Memorandum of Conditions for 2019 [MOC]. Two CUPE 4207 Observers were present for parts of the meeting.

Three bargaining dates were spent on negotiating this Memorandum. The Employer presented us with the document at the first meeting. It listed employer-desired rules of conduct at the bargaining table, chiefly aimed at the union. Some of the requests couldn’t be accepted by the union as we are committed to transparency in bargaining and it took three bargaining sessions (from August 13 to September 25) to negotiate the MOC instead of focusing on the actual language of our collective agreement.

The MOC allows for five observes at the negotiating table (up to five members of Unit 1 and/or members of the CUPE 4207 Executive). If you would like to attend as an observer for any (or all) of these dates let us know minimum 24 hours ahead of the date. You can attend for as little as one hour or for the entire bargaining session. info@cupe4207.org

Second meeting with Employer September 11

Just like the first, the second meeting was spent discussing the terms of Memorandum of Conditions for 2019 Bargaining, a document introduced by the employer on August 13. It calls on the Parties to act with respect to individual dignity,  comply with labour relations law, be expeditious, clearly mark recorded changes to the language, etc. While these may sound to be the reasonable and even obvious practices during collective bargaining, it is also quite clear that the employer attemps to pressure the union into an agreement that would seriously hamper principles of transparent and accountable bargaining that our local is committed to practice with respect to our members. Our members have the right to know what is being negotiated on their behalf. There are two main sticking points proposed by the employer in the Memorandum that challenge our commitment to open bargaining:

1)  The union maintains that five Unit 1 members or elected officials of the union (who are not Bargaining Committee members), have the opportunity to attend bargaining meetings as observers, without voice or vote. Yet our modest counter-proposal that five observes be allowed (on each side), has been met by the employer with suspicion and opposition. While the employer eventually agreed to the presence of observers, they propose reduicng the number to two only.
There are over 1,000 Unit 1 members who work in five different occupational categories. It is hardly any extravagant provision to give the opportunity to up to five member-observers to sit in the negotiating room and literally observe negotiations about the terms of their working conditions.

2) Similarly, the employer wants to regulate the form and content of the union communications to our members about the developments in bargaining sessions. Our bargaining committees are elected by our membership and that they negotiate better working conditions for the membership and are accountable for their conduct to their membership. It is also good to keep in mind that the employer’s bargaining team consist of well paid employees in managerial positions of the University whose job it is to negotiate collective agreements. Our Unit 1 bargaining team comprises contract workers who work under the conditions of precarious employment and are not paid for the time they spend in preparation for and attending the bargaining sessions. The stakes are high and the employer perceives informed membership to be a threat to ‘smooth’ bargaining process. We know that union members who are well informed make better personal decisions about their collective workplace environment.

This is what is on the table for the next session:

The Employer’s proposal:
1) Up to two observers from Unit 1 and up to two observes on the employer side, each side giving 24 hours notification.
2) No online posting of bargaining information during a bargaining session and verbatim quotes

The Union’s proposal:
1) Up to five observers from Unit 1 and elected officers of the local, and up to five observes on the employer side, each side giving 24 hours notification.
2) The Union sharing relevant information to the membership following a bargaining session.

First meeting with Employer August 13

On the first meeting with the employer’s team (Amanda Villella, HR; Daniel McCrindle, HR; Gaby Donia, HR; Dawn Zinga, Associate Dean of Social Sciences; Brian Power, Vice-Provost & Associate Vice-President, Academic), no proposals were exchanged yet. Our bargaining team read an opening statement and negotiated about a member of our Bargaining Research Committee to act as an observer (not a Bargaining Committee member) at the meeting to make up for the one BC member who could not attend that day.

Our local has a policy of open bargaining. This means that members in good standing can act as observers at the negotiating session. Our local has suggested five observers could be present on either party’s side. They have no voice or vote. The Employer opposes that. There is no law or regulation that would ban observers on negotiating committees.  Our local maintains that all relevant information can be shared with members of the bargaining unit whose working conditions are being negotiated for the duration of the collective agreement. Bargaining committees are not insular bodies who act surreptitiously for the period of collective bargaining and only present membership the final negotiated deal. Our local and our bargaining team is responsible to over 1,000 members and continues to be committed to transparency in bargaining. Informed members are members with knowledge and confidence in their hands. Two way communication between the bargaining team and members is the cornerstone of labour union power.

The next meeting date, to negotiate the conditions of bargaining and to exchange proposals, is currently being arranged. All bargaining meeting dates are posted on our website (upcoming events).

Disclosure

In the bargaining period, a labour union can bring up a request for relevant information that would clarify issues and help in negotiations of contract language. From our requested information under disclosure, the Employer provided these answers, and later added the number (55) of CUPE 4207 members who taught 2 credits as Instructors during 2018/2019.