UNIT 1 Bargaining Team currently preparing to negotiate a new Collective Agreement (expires September 6, 2019):
- Gerry Boily
- Michael Curran
Phil Wachel, 4207 President, ex officio.
Bargaining Research Committee:
- Fauziya Ali
- Nathan Cecckin
- Denis Wall
- Mikko Kivisto
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).
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.
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.
Next bargaining meeting is September 25th at 1 pm. Location TBA