Bargaining Team Report: March 24th

Bargaining Back in Action!

Today we marked the first day back at the bargaining table since the strike began!

As a reminder: On March 19, the Bargaining Team proposed a plan to resume bargaining based on the four schedules that we reported on at the last Special General Membership Meeting. After positive responses from the Employer and mediators, moving through the proposals in these schedules became the basis of the bargaining meeting called by the mediators for March 24. 

We had over 160 members join us in open bargaining! We started the morning with the Employer agreeing to our Schedule 1 proposals, which resolved about a quarter of our outstanding items. Throughout the day, we reached further agreement on most of the items in Schedule 2, creating momentum toward dealing with the most contentious issues, including wages, contained in Schedules 3 and 4. After 14+ hours of bargaining today, it is certainly turning into a marathon, but we are moving towards a strong collective agreement!

In the late afternoon, after much analysis of what’s been achieved by other unions in the sector, strategic considerations, and discussion of the window of opportunity that we are in, the Bargaining Team decided that the time had come to make a move on wages. We made this decision in the interest of getting the best deal for our members through open negotiations. The Bargaining Team voted to move from our current proposal of 7% on wages (including GIA and GFA for Units 1 and 3) in the first two years of the renewal collective agreement and 5% or the CPI index in the third to 5% in each of the three years. This move leaves untouched the retroactive wage increase we had already proposed. We also lowered our demand for a new Mentoring Fund from $20,000 per year to $10,000 per year. Rest assured, your Bargaining Team remains committed to winning strong, sector-leading wage increases and other improvements to our collective agreements.

Based on the momentum we built today and the substantive moves we made, the mediator recommended continuing bargaining on Monday. We ended the day passing a combined version of our Schedule 3 and 4 proposals, including our new wage and Mentoring Fund demands, to the Employer through the mediators. The Bargaining Team will continue the battle bright and early with a focus on our revised proposals. Let’s go! 

We practice open bargaining and all members are invited to join us at this crucial moment in bargaining. Please register in advance. The bargaining Meeting with the Employer begins at 9:30 a.m., Monday, March 25. (The Bargaining Team will begin meeting at 9:00 a.m.)