Report Back- Bargaining Meeting with Employer, June 4th

On Friday, June 4, the CUPE 3903 Bargaining Team met with the Employer and received counters on our proposals for Unit 1 appointment deadlines, paid voluntary training, and the Unit 3 Graduate Assistant Training Fund (GATF). We also remotivated our Nursing proposals as key priorities that are awaiting counters from the Employer. Finally, we signed off on our proposal for equity hiring provisions in Unit 1 ticketed course directorships. The Union is happy with this movement towards implementing concrete measures for equity, which is the central aspect of CUPE 3903’s bargaining efforts, and we remain committed to holding the Employer to its responsibility to ensure equity for all our members.  Members can see the Union’s latest proposal package here.

Unit 1 Tickets Sign-Off

The Bargaining Team and Employer were finally able to achieve agreement on our proposal dealing with equity hiring provisions for Unit 1 ticketed course directorships. The new process will see tickets more fairly spread across faculties, will prioritize upper-year Unit 1 members who have not previously held tickets, and will set aside 50% of tickets per faculty for members of Equity Groups as they are identified in our collective agreement (women, racialized people, Indigenous people, people with disabilities, 2SLGBTQI+). 50% of these prioritized tickets (or 25% of the total tickets per faculty) will be set aside specifically for BIPOC members.

Unit 1 Counters

The Employer also passed back a proposal dealing with Unit 1 appointment deadlines. While the Employer agreed to the Union’s language on including deadlines for offers of appointment for ticketed course directorships, they made no movement on the Union’s language on penalties for late offers of appointment. Furthermore, the BT is concerned that the Employer’s language  does not clearly state that Unit 1 members who reject specific appointments will still be in the priority pool and access their minimum guarantee funding. We had a productive discussion with the conciliators on these issues, and look forward to hearing back from the Employer with a counter that properly addresses these concerns.

The Employer’s latest paid voluntary job training proposal opens the training up to 500 teaching assistants every year, rather than only TAs in their first year of work. The Union appreciates this movement, and will take more time to assess the rest of the proposal.

Unit 3 Counters

The Employer passed back a counter on the GAT Fund. The Employer agreed that GAs funded through the GAT Fund would not be used to cover workplace accommodations; however, their counter still includes language that undermines the scope of Unit 3, thus suggesting the Employer’s intention is to continue union busting. While the Employer has moved on the amount of money (which already exists in the CA) to be transferred to the GAT Fund, there needs to be a clear allocation process for the distribution of the GAT Fund. This is to prevent further abuses to the fund, such as the $74,000 that was recently misappropriated by the Employer. The Employer continues to say that there will be a process in place to ensure that bargaining work will not be posted as non-unionized RAships, but their counters to date do not address this fundamental issue the Union has repeatedly raised.

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. This costing was the practice for over a decade, before the Employer decided to unilaterally change it, in service to their efforts to union-bust Unit 3. Due to this unilateral change that defies past practice, the current cost of a GA contract to PIs is four-fold to what it was before 2016.

Ongoing Issues with Nursing

The Bargaining Team re-motivated the proposals dealing with the school of Nursing, to highlight to the conciliators just how important these issues are to our membership. We emphasized that these issues are long-standing and that they are creating a toxic work environment for nurses on the front lines of the pandemic. We also highlighted that bargaining is not the only way to address such issues; the Employer has a legal responsibility to uphold the terms of our contract and to follow through on the directives of the 2018 Hayes award. We reviewed our possible legal recourse should the Employer continue to stall at the table.

Next Meetings

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.