As was previously announced, the work of the Job Stability Joint Committee has been extended into the Fall. The results of the work of the committee – and accordingly, whether there will be significant improvements in job stability for Unit 2 members – will come down to this weekend of meetings on October 22 and 23. Below is what you need to know as we count down to this crucial moment.
The Process So Far
The Job Stability Joint Committee (JSJC) is the result of the 2020-2021 round of collective bargaining. It is a joint committee approved by the membership, and chaired by a mediator. The JSJC is tasked with conceiving of a job stability program that will be robust and long-lasting, with the view of replacing the Continuing Sessional Standing Program (CSSP) and Long Service Teaching Appointments (LSTAs). The union members of the JSJC are Julie Allen, Stephanie Latella, Zoë Newman, Parbattie Ramsarran, and Kevin Reynolds, with much support from staff.
The joint committee started meeting regularly in September 2021. The parties first agreed to joint principles, then discussed specifics of what a program could look like. During this time, in order to learn more about members’ concerns and needs regarding a potential new job stability program, the union also ran a survey, as well as a consultation townhall. The survey results are available here; unsurprisingly, the answers show that more stability and equity are needed to address precarity and its consequences.
The joint committee meetings continued until June 2022. Originally, the plan was to have a proposal ready by June 30th. However, the mediator, Christopher Albertyn, suggested that, given time over the summer, he could draft a proposal that would aim to be acceptable to both sides. While the extension agreed to by the membership was originally only until September, scheduling issues required a push into October.
What’s Happening This Weekend
Since receiving the mediator’s draft, the 3903 members of the JSJC and staff have been meeting to carefully consider the document and consult with legal counsel. Today, the union and the employer are submitting written comments on the draft to Albertyn, which will then be shared with both sides. This weekend, both the union and the employer will further discuss the draft, with Albertyn mediating. This will likely take the form of representatives from each side separately communicating what they see as the changes needed to the proposal in order to produce a workable program.
We are fighting for a program that provides members with greater job security and greater equity. Any such program must carefully balance the diverse needs of the membership: from expanding existing supports to better serve early- and mid-career members and members who belong to Employment Equity groups, to creating a path to a dignified retirement for those who are ending their career in Unit 2, to ensuring that conditions for existing members who have availed themselves of existing job security supports (like seniority or the CSSP and the LSTA) are not eroded. We will not accept a program that is more of the same or, worse, a concession.
At this time, we do not know how favourably – or not – the employer will take the mediator’s proposal, or how open they will be to meaningful negotiations. We are hopeful that something productive can come out of these discussions. Regardless of outcome, the union side has been clear that this last weekend of meetings would be the final step for the JSJC. Either a joint proposal arises from this weekend, or this joint committee process will have proved ineffective. It is possible to make gains this weekend. If we do not, that is the end of this joint process, but not the end of the fight for better job security – the next round of bargaining is just around the corner.
After the weekend meetings, the committee will need a day or so to reflect and produce a thorough report. We will then announce the results of the weekend negotiations by the end of the day October 25, on this website.
What Comes Next
This weekend is crucial to the process, but what happens after that is completely dependent on the membership.
There will be a Unit 2 Townhall on Job Stability on October 28, 11:00am to 1:00pm, to discuss the results of this weekend. Here is the link to register in advance for this Townhall. If there is a recommended proposal, it will not be implemented unless the proposed new program is ratified by the Unit 2 membership. The ratification process will be faithful to the process outlined in the bylaws–a secret ballot vote opened at a GMM and for five days thereafter.
If there is no recommendation as a result of this weekend, or the recommendation is voted down by the membership, the process of the job stability joint committee will end. The work of the committee–surveys, discussions, proposals, etc.–will become resources in the next bargaining round.
Keep an eye out for more JSJC information on the website this week ! If you have any comments, questions, or concerns for the union-side members of the JSJC, they can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.