Labour Board Decides in Favour of Consolidation
On application from the UOITFA, the Ontario Labour Relations Board has agreed to consolidate all three of our bargaining units into a single unit. Effective today, all UOITFA members will bargain with the employer together, and we will be covered by a single collective agreement.
This is a great outcome for the union, UOIT faculty as well as the institution and our students. The Labour Board agreed with the UOITFA that a more efficient bargaining model means less time spent in bargaining, and more time spent fulfilling the mission of UOIT. For the UOITFA, this decision means less effort is devoted to fighting for the same rights three times, so more resources can be dedicated to improving the terms and conditions of employment for all faculty.
The UOITFA can now start bargaining with the employer in earnest. To find out how you can get more involved in the upcoming bargaining, contact us using the form below.
The UOITFA submitted an application to consolidate the faculty it represents into a single collective agreement on April 30, 2018. Following two scheduled hearing dates, the Labour Board issued its extensive and detailed decision in favour of consolidation on August 7, 2018.
The Labour Board made its decision based on whether consolidating the bargaining units would “contribute to the development of an effective collective bargaining relationship” and “contribute to the development of collective bargaining in the industry” (para 41). The decision cites a significant body of case law that establishes reduced fragmentation would better uphold these basic principles. The Board considered the impact of consolidation as it pertained to “efficiency and convenience in collective bargaining and contract administration, industrial stability, jurisdictional disputes, employee mobility, and risk of strikes.” (para 54). Evidence showing the amount of time that UOIT and the UOITFA have spent in bargaining seems to have been a persuasive factor in the decision to consolidate bargaining units (para 59), along with a reduced risk of impasse and labour stoppages through a single agreement with a single expiry date.
The Board further notes many similarities between the two existing collective agreements, noting that any differences in appointment types, etc., can still be addressed in a single agreement. Indeed, this is standard practice in other faculty agreements across the province. The decision for consolidation notes: “Where this has occurred in other industries, it has required a great deal of hard work on the part of the parties. However, in this case the parties, in agreeing to a common format for the agreements and in adopting much of the same language, have already done a significant amount of the work. Furthermore, given that all faculty are working at one institution, the challenges should be less than the merging of multi-site bargaining units. More importantly, in the long term, efficiencies would be achieved in bargaining one collective agreement with one expiry date. Common issues could be resolved with common solutions while preserving the ability of the parties to reach distinct solutions on issues distinct to each group” (para 64). The decision also considers greater efficiency in Joint Committee meetings, where again both common and distinct issues can be addressed in a single forum.
The Board thus concludes: “Taking the evidence as a whole, and having regard to the Board’s jurisprudence referred to above, we conclude that consolidating the tenured faculty bargaining unit with both the permanent faculty bargaining unit and the temporary faculty bargaining unit would contribute to the development of an effective collective bargaining relationship. As a result, pursuant to section 15.1(5), we direct that the three bargaining units be consolidated. We remain seized for twelve months with regard to any further relief that may be required” (para 71). As such, tenured, tenure-track, teaching, and limited-term faculty will be covered in a single collective agreement.
The UOITFA looks forward to the hard work ahead in bringing our agreement in line with sector norms, creating greater efficiency in the collective bargaining process, reducing strike risks, and finding joint solutions to common problems while still respecting distinct faculty types. We will continue to update you as our current round of bargaining progresses; in the meantime, the existing terms and conditions of work for faculty represented by the UOITFA will continue until we have achieved a new collective agreement.
Click here to read the consolidation update sent to members on May 3, 2018.