Bargaining Report – First Meeting with the Employer

Bargaining Report prepared for September 14 SGMM
By the CUPE 3903 Unit 1, 2 and 3 Bargaining Team

Preparation of Bargaining Proposals:

The Unit 1, 2 and 3 Bargaining Team has continued to prepare bargaining proposals for consideration by the membership. Numerous bargaining proposals have been ratified by the membership at the GMMs on July 26 and August 23. We hope to have a complete package of membership-approved bargaining proposals before we meet with the Employer again on September 25.

First Meeting with the Employer, August 29:

The Unit 1, 2 and 3 Bargaining Team met with the Employer for the first time on August 29. The Employer is represented by: Simon Mortimer (legal counsel), Rob Lawson (Associate Director, Faculty Relations), Noura Shaw (Associate Director, Faculty Relations), Lyndon Martin (Dean, Faculty of Education), Kate McPherson (Associate Dean, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies) and Mario Verrilli (Executive Officer, Faculty of Graduate Studies). The lawyer, Simon Mortimer, seems to be taking the lead for the Employer side as their chief negotiator and spokesperson.

The meeting was primarily introductory in nature. We shared our bargaining protocols, including open bargaining, as passed by the CUPE 3903 membership on June 27. All of our meetings with the Employer are open to all members of CUPE 3903. A good number of 3903 members attended this first meeting, but we are hoping more members will be attend as actual bargaining begins. The two substantive issues discussed on August 29 were our Disclosure Request and the Markham campus (see below).

Disclosure Request:

When we gave the Employer our Notice to Bargain back on June 1, we requested the disclosure of important bargaining-related information from the Employer. Our Employer, as is often the case, has been slow and reluctant to provide the information that it is legally obliged to provide. The Employer provided some of the information on July 26, however, much was missing. At the meeting on August 29, we requested the missing information. The Employer provided further information on September 1 and 6. We are still sorting through the information and identifying missing pieces.

Markham Campus and our Collective Agreements:

York University is developing a new campus in Markham which is scheduled to open in 2021. It is our local’s position that our Unit 1, 2 and 3 Collective Agreements will apply to the Markham campus. We are confident that our scope clauses ensure that our Collective Agreements will cover our work at the Markham campus.

For the sake of clarifying the employer’s intentions, and hence our political position, we have been seeking clarity about the employer’s position on our Collective Agreements and Markham campus.

On July 24, at a Labour Management Committee, employer representative Rob Lawson gave us verbal assurance that our Collective Agreements would cover Markham campus. Unfortunately, we cannot put any stock in the verbal commitments of the Employer. We asked for written confirmation from the Employer about Markham campus. In a typical move of disrespect, the Employer has failed to provide such written confirmation of their position.

As a result, at our first bargaining meeting with the Employer on August 29, we brought a written letter for the Employer to sign and hence confirm their verbal commitment.  Our letter read as follows:

“All types of appointments and positions that are currently performed by the members of 3903 [unit 1, 2 and 3] shall be represented by 3903 at the York University/Markham centre campus. Further, all current and newly negotiated provisions of the 3903 CA shall apply at the York/Markham centre.”

The Employer’s lawyer, Simon Mortimer, apparently unfamiliar with the issue, did not seem to understand its importance to our membership or its clear connection to our bargaining with the Employer at this time. Mortimer tried to suggest that this was an issue unrelated to bargaining. However, we insisted that we need this issue addressed and clarified. The Employer team took a recess to caucus and came back with a signed copy of a letter with their own, altered wording. Their letter reads:

“As confirmed at the LMC, the CUPE 3903 unit 1-3 CA will have standing at the York University Markham campus.”

As a result of the Employer’s changes to our wording, we have shared this letter with our lawyer and we are considering our response.

Next Bargaining Meeting with the Employer:

Our next meeting with the Employer and our first real bargaining session will take place on September 25 at 1:00 in Founders College 305. We are preparing our opening day presentation for that date and would strongly encourage members to attend.

We have stated our intent to exchange proposals with the employer on that date, however, we have insisted that we will not give them our package of bargaining proposals unless they also bring their proposals to the table.