Unit 1 Conciliation Update: No Board Report filed – Strike / Lockout Position to be triggered prior to the end of November

Brad WalchukUncategorized

Following the outstanding support we have seen from members, Unit 1’s bargaining team came to the table today ready to move negotiations forward. We came to the table with a firm commitment to removing all concessions and to securing significant and meaningful gains on priorities you have continually endorsed throughout this process.

We spent over 12 hours communicating with our conciliator and the employer and provided significant movement on our proposals in an effort to keep negotiations moving. Sadly, around 9pm, after we had dedicated several hours to a comprehensive and meaningful pass, we were informed that over half of the employer’s bargaining team – including their Chair – had already left. Beyond causing us significant frustration, we take this as a sign of minimal serious engagement in the process on their part.

Despite this development (or lack thereof), we tabled the proposal we had completed thus far, including a firm re-commitment to our consistent stance on removing all concessions from our contract and the need for significant movement on your stated bargaining priorities as they were ratified prior to the commencement of negotiations.

The few members of their bargaining team who remained then signalled to the conciliator that they were not willing to meaningfully consider our priorities. Both parties then jointly filed for a No Board Report, thus triggering movement into a legal strike/lockout position prior to the end of November.

Filing a No Board Report puts pressure on both the union and the employer to reach an agreement prior to this deadline, provided that both parties are willing to negotiate.

We have secured a mediation date on November 19th and are working to secure more. We hope that by then, McMaster will realize that offering de facto pay cuts and concessions on job security to already precarious employees is not the way to a Brighter World, nor to a #BetterMac. It would also be prudent of the employer to recognize that given the rising cost of living for our members, protections against tuition increases would offer much needed security in an increasingly unpredictable economy. Further, we hope the employer will recognize that paid pedagogical training is not only a simple and reasonable request for any employee group, but that it is specifically reasonable for Teaching Assistants within a world-renowned university.

We remain eager to reach a fair agreement that reflects your priorities ahead of this deadline, and hopeful that the employer’s entire bargaining team will come to the table on the 19th ready to do the same.

In the meantime, we will be proceeding with all necessary preparations to ensure that we can be in the best possible position to defend our members’ interests in the event of a strike being called.

One of the best ways to avert a strike is by making the Employer feel the pressure of an engaged membership. We’re already off to an amazing start with an 87% strike vote — a historic mandate for Unit 1. Today we are asking that you help us build on this momentum by informing the University Secretariat and Board of Governors of your support for the CUPE 3906 Unit 1 bargaining team and the priorities ratified by our members. Consider taking 5 minutes out of your day to let the “right” people know it will be in the University’s best interests to negotiate a fair deal ASAP:

You can also use social media to share our most recent bargaining infographic (attached to this email) and/or stories about how your TAs have helped you. Keep us in the know by using #BetterMac or by tagging us @CUPE3906. TAs make the university tick, and ideally McMaster will come to realize this fact without us having to show them through a work stoppage!

We will continue to inform you of our progress at the bargaining table as much as possible. For a complete list of bargaining updates, please visit https://bettermac.ca.

In solidarity

Unit 1 Bargaining Team