Let’s Face It: A Fair Deal for ESL Instructors! #BuildingaBetterBrock


Broken U2

ESL Instructors (CUPE 4207 Unit 3) are negotiating to improve the following:

  • Job Equity: Currently there are three tiers of employment groups in Unit 3, yet they all do the same function and have the same contact hours with students.  If the university is to realize a uniformly excellent educational standard, they need to stop treating workers differently.
  • Educational Standards: Workers of Unit 3 are asking for improvements to the work environment to ensure the highest quality standards of education for the students of Brock University. The university’s prime goal for the next several years is increasing the number of international students on campus. Though international students are students they are not recognized as such by the university–therefore ensuring quality education is crucial to improve Brock’s reputation.
  • Security:  One aspect of protecting educational standards is to ensure that members of Unit 3, who are professionally trained to teach the English language, continue to be able to teach to the international students on campus. Parsing out groups of students to different faculty or departments diminishes the quality of education.

Updated Broken University Pamphlet

NEW Bargaining Website!  cupe4207bargaining.ca

Check back to see more updates on their bargaining!

Deadline Approaching for ESL Instructors

As negotiations with the employer have continued to go poorly, the Unit 3 bargaining committee has decided to set a strike deadline of March 21st, 2015. In order to prepare for a potential strike action, a number of strike prep teams have been created. Although this is Unit 3 bargaining, all members of CUPE 4207 are welcome to join these teams. You can find a short description of each team here along with the current number of members. Anyone interested can contact the Unit 3 Bargaining Committee and Bargaining Support Committee at unit3bargaining@gmail.com. In Solidarity, Unit 3 Bargaining Support Committee

Unit 3 Bargaining Update

Hi Unit 3 Members,

We met with the employer again today. We were at the hotel from 9:00 am– 7:00 pm trying to put together a proposal that would resolve the outstanding issues. Unfortunately, the employer continued to deny our main proposals.

We will be calling a unit meeting at some point in the next few weeks to get your input on how we should next respond to the employer. We strongly encourage everyone to attend.


The Bargaining Committee

Happy new year

Dear member,

We hope that everyone has had a safe and relaxing holiday and a great start to 2015.

The Executive Committee of CUPE 4207 would like to remind you that workplace harassment, including that from another member, is unacceptable. According to the CUPE Equality Statement, “union members are equal and deserve mutual respect at all levels.” As well, “we should neither condone nor tolerate behaviour that undermines the dignity or self-esteem of any individual or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment.”

Any behaviour that creates an environment in which a member feels threatened or unsafe is unacceptable. CUPE 4207 will not tolerate harassment of any member in any form.

“Discrimination and harassment focus on characteristics that make us different; and they reduce our capacity to work together on shared concerns such as decent wages, safe working conditions, and justice in the workplace, society and in our union.”

If you have a matter of concern, please contact the Executive so that any issues that arrive may be dealt with in a respectful and safe manner.

CUPE 4207 Executive

Unit 3 Bargaining Updates 2014

We met with the employer at 10:00 this morning and presented a proposal with a few small modifications. We then waited 5 hours for a response, which was that they didn’t have the mandate to provide a response at this time. They will be in touch with us early next week to let us know if we will be meeting again next Friday, or if they need more time than that to develop their response.

As always, feel free to contact any BC member with any questions, comments, or concerns about the bargaining process.


The Bargaining Committee

November 22

Hi Unit 3 Members,

The Bargaining Committee met with the employer and a conciliator today in an effort to further our progress on coming to an agreement. Unfortunately, the employer wasn’t willing to make moves or discuss our major issues. We have worked on amending our previous proposal, which we will present to the employer at our next meeting on Friday, November 28th.

Additional details will be provided at our meeting this Wednesday at 4:00.
The Bargaining Committee


October 14

Unit 3 voted 85% to authorize a strike, if necessary. It should give our committee the confidence to go into conciliation (which will be held on November 21 and 28) and get a good contract for our members.

September 30

A meeting will take place on Wednesday, October 8th in WH 8G from 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. This meeting will allow Unit 3 members to have their questions answered and allow for voting. Thursday, October 9th, we will have the ballot box open in the union office from 9am – 5pm to allow members who can’t make it on Wednesday to vote.

September 11

Unit 3 Members,

We met with the employer this morning to receive their response to our last round of proposals. Unfortunately, their proposal did not address any of the points identified by us as priorities. They stated that they “were not interested in addressing job security language” at this time.  The proposal they presented would actually make our Collective Agreement worse for us in several places. As for wages, they suggested a very small lump sum payment for 2 of the 3 years of the Collective Agreement. 

Because they aren’t making any moves, we have decided to file for conciliation. We will be working with John and Katarina to arrange a good time for a face-to-face meeting with all members in the next few weeks. Attendance by all members is strongly encouraged. 


The Bargaining Committee

September 5

Hi Unit 3 Members,

A new bargaining date had been set. We’re meeting with the employer on Sept. 11th and we expect to get a complete response to our comprehensive proposal at that time. We will update you after the meeting.


The Bargaining Committee

August 23

Hi Unit 3 Members,

Unfortunately, there is nothing to update today. A meeting was scheduled for today, but was cancelled yesterday by the employer.

They stated that they need more time to work on a complete response to our proposal. They said they should be more prepared to meet in September, but no date has been set yet. We will keep you posted.

Enjoy the rest of your holiday,

The Bargaining Committee

August 1

The Bargaining Committee met with the employer for the third time on July 30. At this meeting, we presented our second round of proposals, including a wage proposal. The university will respond by presenting their next round of proposals at our meeting on August 22.

July 21

The U3 Bargaining Committee met with the Unit on July 15. An update on Bargaining was provided. AT the next meeting with the Employer on July 30, the Committee will present a response to the employer’s proposals. The response will include a wage proposal.

Your U3 Bargaining Committee is committed to Bargaining for a deal that includes PMPC and PMPB courses.  Unit 3 has demonstrated that we are the best choice to serve as Instructors of these courses and all ESL courses.

As always, please see us with any questions,

The Bargaining Committee

July 5

The Unit 3 Bargaining Committee met with the Employer on June 27 and both parties exchanged Proposals. Two meetings have been scheduled for the month of July.

June 16

Unit 3 Bargaining Support Committee will meet next on Tuesday June 16th at 11:00am in EA 101.

June 3

We have set a date for our first meeting with the employer. We will be meeting on Friday, June 27th at 10:00am. The location of the meeting will be confirmed once a room is booked.

May 6

The Unit 3 Bargaining Support Committee meets tomorrow, Wednesday May 7th 4-5pm at East Academic Room 101 (EA101).

May 3

Dear Unit 3 Member,

Days after hearing that the university is in serious financial trouble, it has come to our attention that Brock has hired a lawyer, Andrew Zabrovsky, from the Hicks Morley legal firm as Chief Negotiator for the University to negotiate the Unit 3 Collective Agreement. Hicks Morley are a well-established law firm and the university will be paying Mr. Zabrovsky handsomely to negotiate this contract.
The other members of the University’s Bargaining team are Norma MacSween and Wanda Trottier (Senior Employee Relations Officer). It perplexes us why the university would see the need to hire externally for Chief Negotiator.

This leads us to believe that a hard round of Bargaining is upon us.

BUFA (the Brock University Faculty Association) will be negotiating their contract at roughly the same time as us. The University has chosen Varujan Gharakhanian (Director, Faculty & Employee Relations) as Chief Negotiator to negotiate the BUFA Agreement.

Why is the university choosing a Brock employee to negotiate the BUFA contract and hiring a high priced lawyer to negotiate our contract?

We need your support and solidarity as we enter negotiations. If you haven’t already done so, please consider joining the Bargaining Support Committee.

In Solidarity,

The Unit 3 Bargaining Committee

May 3

Town Hall Meeting – Highlights from the Bargaining Committee

On Wednesday April 9, Brock held a Town Hall meeting open to everyone from the Brock community. At this meeting, Brian Hutchings, Vice-President of Finance and Administration, presented the university’s present financial status. This was an important event for the bargaining committee, as it gave us a glimpse of what we will be facing at the bargaining table. The university presented a bleak financial situation with millions of dollars of debt and no foreseeable solution. They are doing everything they can to cut cost and find profit. Hutchings stressed that “nearly 70 per cent of its $300-million budget is personnel costs – salaries and benefits – and that job cuts are unavoidable” (Brock News).  As we enter the next round of bargaining, we can expect the Employer’s Bargaining Proposals to reflect the bleak financial outlook present by Hutchings.

Below are some notes from the Bargaining Committee members who attended the meeting.

Follow this link to read the story in The Brock News http://www.brocku.ca/brock-news/?p=27520

University Budget Cut:

The university is trying to save the following to reduce the current deficit.

2013-2014 – $ 7million

2014-2015 – $20million

By implementing the following measures…

  1. 6 months hiring delays
  2. All unspent salary, wage, benefits goes to deficit reduction
  3. Vacation buyback programs
  4. Review of redundant positions
  5. No Non-essential travel claims, food or drink, equipment, PDR or Research funds

The VP of Finance and the President of the University repeatedly pointed out the ‘high’ personnel costs and announced the following actions in terms of jobs.

The university identified that 86 positions needed to be eliminated after the Program Review by

  1. Layoffs
  2. Early retirements
  3. Closed some of the posted jobs unfilled
  4. Lateral shifts / re-categorizing jobs

The university has announced that there are still 27 positions need to be addressed and the H.R will notify all Union Presidents and proceed with the job cuts by April 30thof this year.

The VP of Finance has mentioned Labour Relations moving forward indicating that the University will negotiate any potential Collective bargaining reflecting these current financial challenges.

Cairns Building:

Having big, shiny, new buildings at Brock comes at a price.  That price appears to be $7.6 million annually.

In the next fiscal year, $4.8 million in operating costs are associated with the Cairns Building (in the form of debt repayment and general operating costs of the building). Similarly, the new downtown building on St. Paul St. will add $2.8 million per year (in the form of long-term debt payment and operating costs).

These are not one-off expenses; these budget lines will be part of Brock’s budget for many years.

Also, Cairns adds absolutely no new teaching space, and the downtown building only adds teaching space if the old departments in fine and performing arts are renovated to make them appropriate spaces for teaching. So, there is no chance that these spaces can be used to increase enrolment to generate income – and applications are down anyway.

Let’s also remember that Lightstone stands behind these costs (and stands behind the excessive salaries of senior administration), AND stands behind the decision to slash 86 modestly paying jobs to pay for these boondoggles.

Pension Issues:

The Brock University Pension Plan’s shortfall is contributing to the deficit as well (to the tune of $5.8 million for the 2014-2015 year).