Bargaining Bulletin #33

Sept. 15, 2017

To: Executive, deans and other senior academic leaders, academic heads, directors and managers, senior professional leaders in Vancouver
From: Lisa Castle, Vice President, Human Resources
Cc: Human Resources
Re: Bargaining Bulletin #33 –  Strike Notice – IUOE 882


Please be advised that the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 882, has served the university with strike notice, which will be effective at 7:00 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 18, 2017.

Today, the University filed applications with the Labour Relations Board for a determination of essential services to establish appropriate levels of staffing for the duration of strike activity (also called job action). Those services must be established before any strike activity can take place, including UBC’s other unions that may be impacted by picket lines. The University has advised IUOE that in our view the Union cannot set up picket lines at the gates to the University but may only set up picket lines at buildings where their members normally work such as the University Services Building on West Mall and the Campus Energy Centre on Agronomy Road.

Much of the University’s understanding of the Union’s intentions comes from their media releases and interviews, as there has been little communication and the Union is not responding to requests from UBC.

We wish to reassure you that it is our goal to negotiate an agreement with the Union without strike activity. As we have been unsuccessful in doing so at sessions in June and August, and the Union has not responded to any of our requests to come back to the table, one of our applications today was to the Labour Relations Board for the appointment of a mediator to assist the parties. In our view, given we are having difficulty in bargaining by ourselves, the assistance of a third party would be helpful.

As background, even though the agreement expired on March 31, 2014, negotiations between the University and the IUOE began in 2015. Negotiations were sporadic, and in 2016 the parties agreed to use a mediator to provide recommendations for a renewed collective agreement. The staff voted down the mediator’s recommendations. In spring 2017 the parties reached a tentative agreement, which the employees also turned down. The University has suggested mediation with Vince Ready, a highly regarded and respected mediator, and the Union declined. After unsuccessful negotiations in June, the University once again suggested mediation which was turned down by the Union.

The University allows members of the campus community to follow Policy #64 (Non-Performance of Work during a Legal Strike), and exercise a decision of conscience and choose not to cross a legal picket line. Should an individual decide to not cross a legal picket line, they should inform their department head or supervisor as soon as possible, normally within 48 hours after the union provides strike notice to the university. Please see the UBC policy on crossing picket lines at http://universitycounsel.ubc.ca/policies/policy64.pdf

The community should refer to http://jobaction.ubc.ca/ for all updates once job action begins.

This is the only outstanding public sector negotiation left in the province. All other unions have new collective agreements in place, all of which were negotiated under the Provincial Government’s Economic Stability Mandate.

We will provide more information as events develop. Visit http://www.hr.ubc.ca/collective-bargaining/ for updates.