Employer Refuses to Take Systemic Inequity Seriously as Deadline Nears in Job Stability Discussions

On April 25th, 2022, the Employer presented the Job Stability Committee (JSC) with a proposal that, at best, was prepared with no consideration for equity goals or inequitable effects. This was despite the JSC identifying equity as the foremost pillar of job stability. The Employer’s reaction to well-founded critique of their proposal casts serious doubt on their stated commitment to both equity and concluding this process by the joint committee’s fast approaching deadline of June 30th.

As we listened to the Employer’s presentation, several Union members of the committee raised concerns about highly subjective language in the proposal, and its potential to create eligibility barriers for members who belong to employment equity groups. The Employer then very abruptly called for their team to go to a breakout room. We hoped that this move reflected a recognition that there were significant problems with the Employer’s proposal, and that they would be taking the document away to consider our comments. We learned, however, that the Employer was instead reacting to us naming the inequitable effects that might arise from their proposal. Rather than being upset about the significant problems with their proposal and potential or actual erosion of equity, they were upset by criticism of inequity.

In effect, the Employer was unwilling to listen to our comments on problematic language that appears in their proposal not once, but six times in a three-page document; these subjective terms of eligibility appear to be a cornerstone of their proposal. And although Union members had stated at the outset of the April 25 meeting that we wished to present an equity proposal-–and then after the move to breakout rooms we called to resume the meeting with our presentation—the Employer ended the meeting without returning to face us.

We are concerned that what we are seeing in the JSC is a pattern of the Employer stating a commitment to equity, but bringing little to the table to enact it. We are concerned about a pattern of the Employer shutting down discussion when inequity is named. Is there any substance to the Employer’s commitment to equity?

For the Union’s committee members, equity and job stability are inseparable. We refuse a conception of job stability that fails to address the massive inequities in our workplace. We urge the Employer to put their feelings aside and join us in this commitment.

We will begin the May 3 meeting of the JSC with a discussion of equity data and our proposals. We ask members to please stay tuned for news about that meeting, as well as for forthcoming posts about equity and job stability.