Every three years the Board of Governors of the University, along with the Faculty Association, work towards creating a contract that is specified as a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). A CBA is used to create a set of terms and conditions, along with duties required between the employer and the employees. The previous agreement expired on the 30th of June 2017, and since April the two have been working to formulate a new agreement.
What is being negotiated? The CBA stands as a way to create terms and conditions for both parties. Things like memberships, tenure, pension and benefits are some of the many things that can be discussed, negotiated, and decided through this agreement. If you would like to learn more about it, you can read the 14th Collective Agreement by clicking here.
However, an agreement has not yet been reached. Due to this both parties will continue to work under the previous agreement until a new agreement is reached. To help with the decision, and hopefully lead to a decision being made, the two parties have decided to appoint a conciliator to assist with their negotiation. A conciliator is a third neutral party that is required to sit in on meetings and act as a moderator to help the two parties to an agreement, with the conciliator having no authority in the decision being made. This conciliator is assigned specifically by the provincial government, and is extremely knowledgeable when it comes to being effective in negotiations.
I’m sure you’re wondering; why am I only hearing about this now? This is because the negotiations are conducted under a media blackout until a conciliator is filed, which then the blackout is lifted. Now that you’re hearing about it, I’m sure your next question is something along the lines if “what happens if an agreement isn’t reached?”. Not to worry. Negotiations will continue until there is an agreement. The only time a strike (which is initiated by the employees) or lockout (which is initiated by the employer) could occur is if one party declares an impasse and the conciliator is instructed to file a report to the provincial government. This report to the Government shows that the conciliator has not helped the two parties reach an agreement. In order for this to happen, either the faculty will receive a mandate to strike, or the Board decides to initiate a lockout.
If you have any specific questions about the Agreement, would like current updates about what is happening, please feel free to come into contact with the ASU. They are constantly being updated by both parties, and have the most accurate information.