Unit 4 Bargaining Update #9

The bargaining team met the employer on Friday, June 10, but nothing was accomplished.

On Monday June 13, 2016 we resumed bargaining. The Employer presented a proposal regarding Long-term Disability which had been previously agreed upon. However, members of Unit 4 noted that the criterion (cut-off for eligibility) for the article did not relate meaningfully to the financial realities inherent in Unit 4 contracts. Accordingly, it was withdrawn by CUPE 3903 for further consideration.

The employer also offered a counter-proposal to the Unit 4 Academic Freedom article which did not include a clause regarding electronic monitoring of employees in the work place, which is standard in CUPE 3903’s collective agreements.

Also, the employer tabled counter-proposals for benefits, which mirrored existing contracts for the other three units, except for the 5 month extension after the end of the last contract, which is crucial to Unit 4 because of the precarious and limited nature of part-time contracts. Again, after discussion, and a discussion regarding standard CUPE pension articles, the articles were withdrawn by the University.

In further general discussion the Employer argued that we should view our contract as a “first-contract”. Accordingly, in the Employer’s view, Unit 4 should not have a Collective Agreement equal or comparable in compensation or benefits to that “earned” by other CUPE 3903 units over decades of collective bargaining. In short, the employer has argued that we must view any agreement present or future as “incremental” and unequal to that of other bargaining units. The absurdity of this position was noted. This line of reasoning, considering basic principles of social justice and equality, was not accepted by CUPE 3903 and Unit 4. Union representatives demanded that Unit 4 must have parity with existing agreements.

It was suggested by the employer we move to a discussion of the Formal Evaluation process. The bargaining team informed the employer that we would not move forward with further discussions until there was an agreement on the article regarding Academic Freedom as tabled — a discussion which has dragged on now for many weeks. The Executive Director of the Department of Faculty Relations suggested he could not agree to the Article as tabled without consulting the University Provost. The meeting ended.

Bargaining resumes June 24, 2016 at 9:30 in YL 280 A.

Read previous bargaining updates and other information on the Unit 4 Bargaining page.