Report Back – Sixth Bargaining Meeting with the Employer on December 17th (1 pm)

On Monday, December 17th, the CUPE 3903 Bargaining Team met with the Employer. The Bargaining Team would like to thank members in the room for attending as observers, as per our open bargaining practice.

The Bargaining Team began by reiterating that, any items not directly addressed in the CUPE 3903 Extension Framework proposals were expected to roll-over into the next collective agreement, and that the Bargaining Team would follow up by reiterating this in writing.

The Employer then provided some opening remarks of their own, recognizing that we bargain under the unique context of Bill 124. The Employer then indicated that they likely understood the question of “compensation” under Bill 124 differently than the Union. Following these opening remarks, the Employer asked numerous clarification questions on the proposals included in the CUPE 3903 Extension Framework, presented to the Employer at the bargaining meetings on December 9th and December 14th. Many of the Employer’s questions dealt simply with clarifying intent. Other questions however pointed to more substantive disagreements between the two bargaining teams.

The CUPE 3903 Bargaining Team would like to flag the following areas that our membership should be aware of:

  • Based on questions and remarks made in the meeting, the Employer seemed to have an understanding of “compensation” in the context of Bill 124 that is far broader than what the CUPE 3903 Bargaining Team understands and has put forward. For instance, on the question of workload proposals, the Employer argued that any demands for a lower class size would, in effect, mean, increased compensation (less work for equal pay) and would therefore constitute a monetary demand. The Bargaining Team rejects this understanding. At our December 18th Bargaining Team meeting, we will be further developing our response with input from the membership.
  • The Employer suggested that CUPE 3903 proposals around equity may interfere with the existing seniority framework. As we have previously stated at our BT meeting, the Bargaining Team rejects this understanding, and in no way sees our extension framework as undermining seniority. Instead, we see it as supplementing and strengthening existing seniority provisions, ensuring that members of equity-seeking groups are able to properly accrue seniority and also benefit from existing protections around seniority rights. At our December 18 BT meeting, we will be further developing our response with input from the membership.
  • The Employer intimated that they do not consider bargaining to be a proper forum to discuss issues around job security, and seemed to suggest that they would like to stick to the committee model proposed in their earlier framework. The CUPE 3903 Bargaining Team disagrees with this approach, and will be further developing our response with input from the membership at our December 18th BT meeting.

Following the Employer’s questions, the CUPE 3903 Bargaining Team caucused. The Bargaining Team decided that in the interests of clarity and expeditiously crafting answers to these questions that they would ask for the Employer’s questions in writing. In turn, the Bargaining Team also decided to ask the Employer for a written account of their understanding of Bill 124, and their understanding of how CUPE 3903’s Extension Framework allegedly undermines existing seniority provisions. When the meeting reconvened, these requests were presented to the Employer with a further request that answers be received by 9:00am on December 18th to allow the Bargaining Team to craft responses in their upcoming meeting, and have them prepared for our next joint meeting on December 22nd.

The Employer expressed concern at the feasibility of the timeline and asked to caucus. Upon returning, the Employer specified that they were unwilling to provide the questions in writing. They stated that they do not see putting questions and statements in writing as being conducive to bargaining discussions at the table. They stated that they would provide something on Bill 124, but this document would not be ready by the deadline indicated by the Bargaining Team. They also stated that they were under the impression that the CUPE 3903 Bargaining Team understood the Employer’s concerns around overlapping priorities in the Union’s equity proposals, and so further clarification would be unnecessary. The meeting adjourned at 4:00pm.

Next Meeting

All Bargaining Team meetings are open to members. The Bargaining Team would like to encourage all members to attend this last remaining meeting in December.

December 22, 11:00AM – Bargaining Meeting with the Employer
Please register in advance here, to attend this bargaining meeting with the Employer.