Your elected bargaining team met yesterday to discuss the Employer’s most recent proposals and to evaluate where we are in the negotiation process. Given the lack of movement we have seen on the issues that you have identified as priorities – including fair wags, job security, workload, and benefits – the team has decided (1) to file for conciliation with the Ministry of Labour and (2) to call for a strike mandate vote.
Let me briefly explain both of these decisions in turn. As to the first, filing for conciliation refers to the process whereby one of the parties in a negotiation (the Union, in this case) requests that the Ministry of Labour for the province of Ontario assign a conciliation officer – a mediator, essentially – to meet with the parties and help them to reach an agreement. The conciliator is not an arbitrator, and their decisions and recommendations are not binding. They are there to help the conversation along. Your union has found this to be a very helpful and productive process in the past and we are confident that it will assist in these negotiations as well.
As to the second, while we remain resolute in our belief that we can continue to hold to your priorities and get a fair deal for sessional faculty, we are at the point where we really need your help to do it. There is a time in the bargaining process where words at the table will not suffice. The Employer (and the conciliation officer) needs to see that the members are truly behind their bargaining team.
This is why we are taking a Strike Mandate Vote, beginning on Tuesday, October 24th beginning after our 5 p.m. information meeting.
A strong strike vote will empower the bargaining team with a clear mandate and will help to get these negotiations moving again. It is important to note, though, that a successful strike mandate vote does not mean that we are automatically going on strike. Rather, it gives the Bargaining Team the ability to call a strike later on in the process as a matter of last resort. While this is the last vote that will be taken before the end of these negotiations, we will – as always – continue to consult with membership to help us decide what next steps to take.
The vote will be discussed at a Special General Membership Meeting on the evening of Tuesday, October 24th in the Arthur N. Bourns Building (ABB), Room 165. The information begins at 5 p.m. with a vote to follow. You will have a chance to hear from the Bargaining Team and ask any questions, or voice any concerns, that you might have about the bargaining process, conciliation, or the strike mandate vote.
The voting will open immediately following the meeting on the 24th.
Voting will then continue until Friday, October 27th from 8:00AM to 7:00PM according to the following schedule:
Wednesday, October 25th: The Lobbies of Mills and Thode Library + the Main Floor of the Degroote School of Business
Thursday, October 26th: The Lobbies of Mills and Thode Library + the Main Floor of the Degroote School of Business
Friday, October 27th: The main floor of the Engineering Technology Building (ETB)
All sessional faculty and hourly-rated sessional music faculty working this semester are eligible to vote. Sessional faculty who have worked within the last two terms are also eligible, as are those sessional faculty with a contract for an upcoming term. These members will have their ballots sequestered. In any case, all you need to bring to the vote is photo ID (though it is helpful if you bring a copy of your Letter of Appointment for this term or an upcoming term, or proof of employment for a past term, in case we do not have you on our current membership list).
The participation of our membership has been and continues to be crucial to the bargaining process. Do not hesitate to contact the staff if you have any questions or concerns leading up to the SGMM or the vote. Our Member Mobilizer, Amarjeet, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 416 856 9587. Please also visit the campaign website for more information on our proposals and for a Strike Vote FAQ.
In solidarity for a #BetterMac,
Graham Baker, President
on behalf of the CUPE 3906 Unit 2 Bargaining Team