January 8 Bargaining Update: Concessions Remain on the Table

On Monday, January 8, the bargaining team for CUPE 3903 Units 1, 2, and 3 met with the employer and the conciliator appointed by the Ministry of Labour, Greg Long.

A comparative table of proposals and responses has been prepared by the bargaining team: Bargaining Proposals and Responses up to January 8. All of the proposal documents which have been tabled so far are available on the Reports page.

The day began with a meeting with the conciliator, where he introduced himself and explained the process of mediation. We remain hopeful that conciliation will bring us closer to new collective agreements (CAs) for all three units.

The employer provided what looked like a comprehensive proposal package (a scan is available here. We will post a searchable PDF once the digital version is received). However, the vast majority of its contents were simply the same proposals we have seen before. The concessions the employer tabled for Conversions (from 8 a year to 1) and ticketed Course Directorships (70 or 80) remain on the table.

There has also been no response on the problems facing Unit 2 members regarding the inflation and manipulation of qualifications. The employer has also failed to respond to the proposals for Unit 3. In response, the Unit 3 bargaining team tabled the same language Unit 1 is suggesting to integrate the fellowship funding model into the CA.

The employer continues to claim not to understand why we want to protect how Unit 1 funding is paid out, including integrating the fellowship model into our CAs and preventing clawbacks.

They have also offered a number of other very hard “no”s to the following:

  • Special Renewable Contracts (SRCs) for Unit 2
  • Continuing Sessional Standing Program (CSSP) proposal
  • Markham Campus proposals
  • Class sizes and online courses
  • Increases to vision, dental, and paramedical benefits
  • Improving incumbency
  • Childcare centres at the Markham and Glendon campuses
  • All Nursing-specific proposals
  • Sexual Violence Survivors Fund

In sum, despite the presentation of what seemed like a comprehensive package, the results of this bargaining meeting were rather disappointing. The tone was very adversarial as the employer continued to claim ignorance of aspects of our contracts that they should understand, and presented inadequate reasoning for their refusals. For example, they claim to understand the issues facing members in Nursing, yet feel they cannot address them. If the issues are real, let’s work together to find solutions, rather than simply rejecting the proposals.

The lack of movement and inadequate engagement with bargaining generally is why we need every member to vote YES in the upcoming Strike Mandate Vote, which will take place January 22-26.

We will be bargaining twice a week in January: Mondays and Thursdays. As always, members are welcome to attend, observe, pass notes to the bargaining team, and participate in caucuses.