March 20, 2012
To: Heads Up – Vancouver and Okanagan
From: Lisa Castle, AVP, Human Resources
Cc: HR Advisors & Associates
Re: Bargaining Bulletin #22 – Collective Bargaining Update
The purpose of this memorandum is to provide you with an update on developments in collective bargaining at UBC. An overview of collective bargaining (including information on the bargaining units) is available at http://www.hr.ubc.ca/collective-bargaining/.
As mentioned in Bargaining Bulletin #21, CUPE 116 held their strike vote on March 15. The purpose articulated for the vote was to demonstrate greater strength at the bargaining table, to then negotiate a better agreement with the University. We have been advised that the vote was 89% in favour, with an approximately 50% turnout. The parties are waiting to schedule further bargaining sessions once the University is in a position to negotiate the 2012 Cooperative Gains mandate (an overview of which can be found in Bargaining Bulletin #20).
CUPE 2278 has advised the University that they will hold a strike vote information meeting on March 21, followed by a strike vote on March 22. The University has concerns with the manner in which the Union is presenting information to support a positive vote. They state on their website that the University’s negotiating team has not listened to them. While agreement on all proposals tabled by either party is rarely possible, we have agreed to language changes on matters they have articulated as important to their members: protection from academic harm from issues arising in the employment relationship; hours of work; and more expansive leave provisions. The Union continues to articulate the proposition that if the Union’s members give them a strike vote, this will yield better results at the bargaining table, and they point to the University of Toronto as evidence of their point of view. Singular comparisons are not, in our view, an effective means to achieving balanced progress towards resolution, and notably, the University of Toronto is first or second across all Canadian universities in terms of pay for all employee groups, including faculty and administrators. A significant difference between the two institutions is UBC, like every other public sector employer in British Columbia, is negotiating under B.C.’s Provincial Government mandates: http://www.pssg.gov.bc.ca/psec/bargaining/index.htm.
We look forward to continuing discussions at the bargaining tables over the coming weeks, and we will continue to dedicate our efforts to reaching collective agreements with the CUPE locals with the bargaining mandates set by the Provincial Government.
However, given that CUPE 116 has a positive strike vote in hand, it is important to understand that the Union is now, with some notice, in the position of engaging in strike activity, and CUPE 2278 may well be in a similar position later this week. Human Resources is increasing its preparation for this possibility, with a greater focus on the needs of students as we near the end of classes and the start of exam period, and a review of essential service levels.
Thank you for your interest. We expect that we will be providing information more frequently in the coming weeks as this scenario unfolds.