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We know the members have many questions about thisround of bargaining and we will attempt to answer what we can in this forum. Please feel free to send your queries to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please realize that some questions cannot be answered at this time as we will need to work out a protocol with the employer when the timing is right for many of the issues that you are currently concerned about. Please know that we will endeavour to give you all the information we can as soon as we have it.
HOW did we get here?
We began bargaining in January with the University and had several days of exchange with some things being agreed to when CUPE asked for the help of the Ministry of Labour Conciliator in a move to try toget the University to give us their monetary package. We felt we had gone as far as we could without seeing it. It still took a few weeks after that and we met at the end of April to see what their package looked like. During this process the University advised us that there were to be changes to the contribution rates of the pension plan. It is mandatory during bargaining to disclose anything that would affect your income as well as any known operational or organizational changes. Because the locals have always had the ability to sit at the multilateral table to talk about pension changes, this came as quite a shock tothe teams. Conciliation continued in June when we were able to bring our CUPE Pension Specialist to the table. It was clear they were unwilling to bargain anything except the contribution rates and even that seemed to be a final decision by them so little progress towards a settlement hasbeen reached. (We were told in April that the pension issue had to be settled before they would discuss any of the remaining outstanding items.) We did however get agreement to have our actuary talk to their actuary to get the data required for us to make informed decisions regarding your pension. Just as this happened between the two actuaries, we received the phone call to tell us the University had applied for the ‘No Board Report’. This essentially puts a deadline date on the negotiation process unless the parties bargain through it.
What is conciliation?
Conciliation is a process established in the Ontario Labour Relations Act that has two primary purposes:
- It provides the union and the employer parties with the services of a conciliation officer to assist them in the negotiation process by acting
as a mediator in the hope of finding a solution that will lead to a new contract.
- It begins the process wherein the union may exercise its right to strike (only after members vote in favour of a strike) or work to rule or the
employer may lock the workers out.
Conciliation is mandatory. When the union or the employer file an application for conciliation and an officer is appointed, the parties must participate in the process.
What is a No Board Report?
Conciliation ends when either party asks the conciliation officer to provide a “No Board Report”. The officer will then advise the Minister of Labour that the parties have been unable to reach a settlement. The Minister will then issue the aforementioned “No Board Report”.
The Ontario Labour Relations Act still has provisions for the appointment of a Board of Conciliation. These Boards, similar to arbitration boards, would hear the parties’ dispute and then impose a settlement. Despite the legislation, there have been no conciliation boards appointed for decades so a “No Board Report” means that the Minister will not be forming a conciliation board to settle the dispute.
WHAT is Mediation?
17 days after the report is issued, both parties will be in a legal strike or lockout position. During this 17-day period, a mediator is appointed by the Labour RelationsBoard, as a final step to hammer out a deal before the legal strike or lockout position. If a deal is not reached, the union may call a strike after holding a successful strike vote or the employer can lock the workers out. Mediation will take place for CUPE on July 26, 27, and 28th.
WHAT is our deadline?
The legal deadline for lockout by the employer or strike by the locals is 12:01 am on July 29th,but as long as the parties wish to continue negotiatinga settlement, the deadline can be moved ahead.