Bargaining Update #2
Web-posted:November 5, 2019 by President
We met with the employer (representatives of the University) last Friday in our first official round of bargaining. We engaged in an initial discussion about a group of proposals from us and from them, in an effort to establish our position on the issues of mental health, job security, capacity for Union representation, and procedural fairness. We established the general ‘flow’ of these discussions with the employer. It was overall a very productive meeting in which we made ourselves clear about the needs of our members, and our commitment to meeting those needs.
In turn, the employer made it clear to us that their primary concern was about the University’s place in the current ‘financial landscape’, given recent government legislation, and their desire to look for ‘efficiencies’ in the system in order to make up for shortfalls in funding. To that end they tabled around twenty concessions (on our part), including the establishment of work assignments less than .5 for Unit 1 members, and specific changes that threaten to erode the Right of First Refusal and the bargaining work of Unit 2.
Our greatest concern is a proposed shift to allow Unit 1 members to take on Unit 2 work. First, this is arguably an effort to corrode solidarity between our members. Second, while it might appear to Unit 1 members as a great opportunity to do higher levels of work, you need to keep in mind that in the end Unit 1 members will do much more work for the same pay, and the intensity of the work will take you away from your own academic work, while reducing the bargaining work of Unit 2 members. This is a complex issue, and we will be providing more detailed information on it as bargaining proceeds.
We are just beginning, and there will be more concessions and shifts to come. I will be updating you following every meeting. We will be tabling this Thursday, November 7 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm in the South East area of the University Centre. Please come see us to ask any further questions, as well as for coffee, popcorn, and treats!