Bargaining Update 6: Strike Mandate Vote January 16th to 25th

Dear Colleagues,

I hope you all have a very good holiday break and are enjoying the New Year! We have not had any bargaining sessions since my last update, but we would like to share additional details regarding the various concerns that we have about the current bargaining situation.

The UOIT Administration is holding on to a number of very concerning proposals and assertions including: a proposal that would allow the Administration to appoint an unlimited number of staff members to serve on Faculty hiring committees, an assertion limiting our members Intellectual Property rights over much of their teaching material, and a proposal that would grant the Administration the right to terminate employment outside of Article 24: Discipline. This proposal, Article XX: Termination of Employment, is extremely concerning as the Administration has included a reference to Article XX in their proposed language for Article 20: Tenure, meaning that Article XX could be used to erode the meaning of Tenure at UOIT. This proposal is an affront to the job security that accompanies the securing of a full-time continuing appointment here at UOIT.

In addition to these very concerning proposals, the Administration is doing all that they can to delay the bargaining process. They have repeatedly shown up to bargaining sessions unprepared and have taken huge amounts of time to produce 3-word responses to our proposals. As well, there has been a complete refusal by the Administration to table monetary proposals. With the administration’s complete refusal to do so, we have entered into unprecedented territory. While delaying has been a common feature of bargaining at UOIT in the past, the delay this time is even worse than it has been previously. They will not even give us a sense of when they are willing to put monetary proposals on the table. The Administration is therefore showing a complete disregard for the issues that were identified by the membership as key priorities in our bargaining mandate, including pension and benefits and workload. This kind of behavior at the table highlights the Administration’s complete lack of respect for the bargaining process and for our members, who deserve a fair and equitable Collective Agreement before the end of the Academic Semester.

In an attempt to help move the bargaining process forward the Executive Committee and Bargaining team believe that it is time to ask our membership to show support for our bargaining mandate through a Strike Mandate Vote. A strong Strike Mandate empowers the bargaining team and reminds the Administration that it is their responsibility to our members to take negotiations seriously and negotiate a fair deal as soon as possible. Without a strong Strike Mandate, we will not only fail to gain much needed improvements to our Collective Agreement; there is also a strong probability we will be forced to accept concessions like the language proposed by the UOIT Administration in their Termination of Employment proposal, Article XX.

The UOIT Faculty Association has scheduled several in-person bargaining updates during the Strike Mandate Vote. These in-person bargaining updates are being held to ensure that all of our members are given the opportunity to speak candidly about the current bargaining situation so our members can be as informed as possible before they vote in the Strike Mandate Vote. There will be ample opportunity for members to ask questions and voice their concerns during these three in-person meetings. In-person bargaining updates will be held at the following times:

Faculty Association In-person Bargaining Updates

Date Time Location
Wednesday January 16th 1pm to 3pm (voting for strike mandate vote will begin immediately following this meeting) J Wing 125
Tuesday January 22nd 9am to 11am ERC 2056
Wednesday January 23rd 11am to 1pm DTB 524

Strike Mandate Vote: Voting Times and Locations

If you cannot make the voting times as outlined below please contact office@uoitfa.ca as soon as possible to arrange an alternative method of voting. Voting for the Strike Mandate will take place at the following times:

North Campus

Date Time Location
Wednesday January 16th 3pm to 4pm (immediately following the in-person bargaining update) J125
Thursday January 17th 9am to 4pm UA 2028
Friday January 18th 9am to 4pm UA 2028
Monday January 21st 9am to 4pm UA Atrium
Tuesday January 22nd 9am to 4pm UA Atrium
Wednesday January 23rd 9am to 4pm UA Atrium
Thursday January 24th 9am to 4pm UA Atrium
Friday January 25th 9am to 12pm UA Atrium

Downtown Campus

Date Time Location
Tuesday January 22nd 11am to 3pm Bordessa Hall Lobby
Wednesday January 23rd 11am to 3pm Bordessa Hall Lobby
Thursday January 24th 11am to 3pm Bordessa Hall Lobby

The Faculty Association appreciates the support of our members and understands that talk of a Strike Mandate Vote can be stressful for our members and the larger UOIT community. Please see an informative Strike Mandate Vote FAQ below and if you have additional questions, please feel free to contact myself, any member of the UOIT Executive or your Faculty Representative. You can also contact the UOITFA Office directly via email at office@uoitfa.ca or via phone at 905-721-8668 ext. 2049.

Sincerely,

Mike Eklund, Chief Negotiating Officer

Strike Mandate Vote: Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Strike Mandate?
A strike mandate may not result in a strike. It is a bargaining tool that can be used to secure a better deal at the table. The FA’s bargaining team must receive direct explicit empowerment from the membership in order to be able to carry forth a strike. This means that without a strike mandate, there is very little strength behind each proposal put forth by the bargaining team. Strike mandates are arrived at through a secret ballot election run by the UOITFA. The majority of those voting must be in favour of a strike mandate in order for the bargaining team to be empowered. The result and turnout of this secret ballot is given to the Executive Committee which decides which information they will release to whom and when.

Why should I give the Bargaining Team a Strike Mandate?
Strike preparedness sends a strong message to the employer about the unity and conviction of UOITFA members. It also sends an unequivocal message that the membership stands behind its Bargaining Team.

Do negotiations continue after a strike mandate is received?
Yes. Both sides continue to negotiate in an effort to achieve a collective agreement.

How can I help UOITFA reach a fair and equitable settlement with the Employer?
At this point, you can help by attending general meetings, reading bargaining updates carefully, and talking about issues with your UOITFA representatives and officers, other UOITFA members, and your students. You can also volunteer with the Action Committee to do as little or as much support work for your team as you would like.

Does a strike mandate lead to a strike?
In most cases, it does not. Often a strong strike mandate alone is sufficient to get the Employer to take the union seriously in negotiations. There is an extensive process that must occur before UOITFA would take a strike position:

  1. The UOITFA, the Employer, or both apply for conciliation
  2. A conciliator is appointed and conciliation dates agreed to;
  3. There is at least one conciliation meeting in the attempt to reach an agreement
  4. Conciliation reaches impasse
  5. The Ministry issues a “no-board” report. There is a seventeen day waiting period. After all of these steps, the UOITFA Executive Committee would call a strike if and when there seemed to be no other way to reach an agreement. After seventeen days, the Employer could lockout UOITFA members.

A strike or lockout does not happen overnight; there is plenty of advance warning and significant planning involved.

Do I need to be worried about a possible strike or lockout?
At this stage, you do not. However, you should be aware that a strike or lockout is possible, and you should become familiar with the vocabulary and practice of legal strike action. It is important to learn about the issues at stake. While a strike is unlikely, it is always important to be financially prudent and to plan ahead. In university bargaining, strikes are much less frequent than strike mandates, and lockout is a rare event at Canadian universities.
Regardless of coverage, it is to your advantage to purchase eyewear, visit the dentist, stock up on medications, and schedule other routine medical procedures covered by our benefits prior to a strike or lockout deadline.

What sort of financial preparations should I make before a strike or lockout?
It is never too early to begin thinking about prudent financial preparations for a potential strike or lockout. If a strike or lockout appears to be imminent, you should consider contacting your bank managers, mortgage officials, or other financial advisors and inform them of potential strike or lockout. You should be aware that some credit card companies and banks offer insurance in case of strike or lockout, and can also make alternative payment schedules. You will need to check with your own financial institutions. UOITFA can provide a letter explaining the situation for your financial situation if you wish.

If you have expenditures that need to be reimbursed by the university, it is to your advantage to submit receipts in a timely manner.

How can I stay informed and get involved?
Continue visiting the UOITFA website and checking your e-mail for notifications from the Faculty Association. If you wish to get involved with the Faculty Association’s Action Committee please contact office@uoitfa.ca for further information.

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