Written by UOIT Faculty Association Chief Negotiator Mike Eklund
We have just concluded the first three bargaining sessions with our Employer, on October 24th, 26th and yesterday, the 29th. I wish that I could report that we are off to a good start. Fortunately, we are entering a two week break from bargaining and have the chance to consult with you all before we are back at the table.
Before I go into further detail, let me say thank you to the many of you (and the many students) who came by to show their support for the bargaining team and your bargaining mandate as we entered bargaining last week. Thank you to those who voted – a strong mandate, with 99% in favour, passed with the following priorities: pension and benefits, workload, compensation, best practices.
As I reported in my last bargaining update, we spent the summer struggling to get the Employer to the table and unfortunately this struggle continued into the Fall. Once we were able to get the Employer to the table, we then moved forward by signing a Bargaining Protocol and reaching an agreement to be ready to present non-monetary proposals on October 24th 2018. Both sides tabled non-monetary proposals on this date and the Employer was only unprepared on one issue: Intellectual Property, which is still outstanding.
Even though both sides were able to table the majority of our non-monetary proposals on October 24th, we have since had to deal with several obstacles at the table that threatened to stall any further progress. On our third day of bargaining, the Employer refused to consider or respond in any meaningful way to many of the proposed changes that we had put forward in an attempt to improve the working condition of Faculty Members at UOIT. The Employer did not accept any of our proposed changes regarding equity and tabled language that would pull back on the minimum amount of protections we already have in the Collective Agreement. They also refused to consider our proposals on Harassment and Discrimination, Health and Safety, Tenure and Promotion, and Continuing Appointments. The Employer also did not respond to our proposals on Promotion to Professor and Promotion to Senior Teaching Professor. We are hopeful that they will come prepared to respond to all tabled proposals when bargaining resumes on November 14th 2018.
For our part, we have responded to the Employer’s proposals on Joint Committee, on which we were then able to find agreement, Grievance and Arbitration, Annual Performance Review, Official File, Third Year Review (for tenure-track faculty), and Discipline. I believe we have provided the Employer with thoughtful and considered responses including incorporating parts of their proposals.
I should note that both sides were able to sign off on several proposals including Article 4: Management Rights, Article 7: No Strike or Lockout, Article 9: Joint Committee, and Appendix C: List of Arbitrators. While this progress may seem reassuring, the changes agreed to in these proposals were very minor and largely editorial in nature. We had hoped we could move forward in a more substantial way, but unfortunately, the Employer’s outright rejection of many of our proposals limited our ability to sign off on larger issues.
We have a break in bargaining for the next two weeks and we hope that bargaining will progress at a quicker pace then. We plan to return to the table ready to move forward again on our non-monetary with the aim of keeping the Employer on track to table monetary proposals as soon as November 21st, and with a clear sense of your concerns and support going forward.
I look forward to speaking with you further over the coming weeks.
Chief Negotiating Officer