Report Back – Bargaining with Employer, May 28th

On Friday, May 28th, the CUPE 3903 Bargaining Team met with the conciliators as part of the process of conciliated bargaining. There was minimal meaningful movement on the part of the Employer.

The CUPE 3903 Bargaining Team presented proposals to the conciliators on levying a lateness penalty and on class size, with the hope that they would urge the Employer to respond, since these proposals are non-monetary. Unfortunately, the Employer has incorrectly determined that these proposals fall under the scope of Bill 124.

The proposal on a lateness penalty addresses the recurring problem of departments assigning late teaching appointments. The proposal on class size addresses workload, job security and student success and, as pointed out above, is not a monetary item related to Bill 124, because compensation is allocated separately from class size. To manage workload issues, class sizes have a limit or a cap; in practice, however, class enrollment is regularly above the allowable maximum limit. An increased class size results in overwork for Unit 1 and 2 members, and the only recourse to such a violation is a penalty. In addition to proposals on a lateness penalty and class size, there is a proposal included for course cancellations if enrollment is too low. The Employer has not responded to any of these proposals since their presentation on December 9, 2020. Other proposals on wage increases, presented in mid-March, have not received a response to date.

Unit 1
With literally minutes left to spare, the Employer finally presented a single counter-proposal, in response to our Unit 1 Equity Hiring provisions for ticketed course directorships. Given the late receipt of the proposal, the bargaining team has not yet had time to evaluate the counter or formulate a response.

Unit 3
The Employer did not present any new counters for Unit 3. Instead, the Employer sent us back their last counter proposal on the misclassification of GAs as non-unionized RAs, with highlighted sections containing their verification process. While this language represents a necessary step towards transparency and accountability, which the Union has indicated we need, some of the language describing the process remains so vague as to undermine its effectiveness. We fundamentally disagree with how the Employer defines the scope of Unit 3. We also require regulatory measures outlining how the Employer will prevent the posting of bargaining unit work as non-unionized RAships.

We look forward to the Employer presenting us with a counter on the Graduate Assistant Training Fund (GATF). We are also still waiting for a counter to our proposal requiring Principal Investigators (PI) to cover only 15% of the standard benefit rate associated with the hiring of an employee in Unit 3. Currently, the cost to PIs is a four-fold increase of the cost of Unit 3 contracts compared to 2016 levels. We urge the Employer to respond to our proposals in a timely manner.

Members are encouraged to join us for our upcoming bargaining meetings with the Employer. Dates and exact times of all meetings can be found on our calendar here. Please register in advance. After your registration is approved, you will receive a confirmation email with a link to join the meeting.

Members can also get in touch with the Bargaining Team for questions and comments.