October, 2013 (after 13 months without a contract)
Year 1: The year to forget
It took six months of meetings to agree on a Protocol for Negotiations, that was finally agreed to and signed on July 9th, 2012. Thereafter, we had 15 negotiation sessions with the employer. As has been communicated before, these meetings were completely counter-productive. The other side of the table presented us with a completely revised Collective Agreement, which attempted to erode our rights in each and every article/appendix/schedule. Needless to say, no progress was made, and you, our membership, granted us an unlimited strike mandate in an overwhelming majority vote at the Special General Meeting in November, 2012. This mandate was very much needed to deal with the onslaught of demands presented by the employer over this time. We thank you for that vote of support.
A change seems to be in the air
Early this Summer, we had the announcement of the formation of a new Office of Faculty Relations, under the Provost’s office. This office’s mandate is partly to deal with all issues pertaining to CUPFA members, specifically the Collective Agreement. Interesting! A new Provost; a new office – so why were the people on the other side of the table from Human Resources? Change must be in the air…
And it was. We are now negotiating with a new team, with the new Vice-Provost Faculty Relations, Jorgen Hansen, now a member of the employer’s team. We are certainly pleased that, compared to the beginning of negotiations where we had not a single academic on the other side, now 2 of their 3 are faculty members.
The road forward
We need to be cautious at this point, but we are at least “cautiously-optimistic”. We have had two sessions of negotiations with the “new” team, one informal and one formal. There was more progress in one formal meeting than during the first 12 months. They have rescinded all of their previous demands, and both sides have agreed to narrow the negotiations to a manageable number of issues. This is for normative issues (i.e. nothing about monetary yet). But the “cautious” slant is because no article has been agreed to, and we have virtually no indication about how the discussion about monetary issues will go, or when we will progress to this state. There are a significant number of meetings scheduled over the next few weeks, and so we hope for the best. We will keep you informed of any major developments.
Your Negotiating Team,
Patrice Blais, Chief Negotiator
David Douglas, CUPFA President
Scott Chlopan, CUPFA Secretary