A Message from CUASA’s President

Dear CUASA Members,

As your President, I would like you to know that I hear your concerns about yesterday’s announcement, and I take all of them to heart.

We are doing everything we can to respect the clear mandate of our membership to negotiate a fair deal and to take a measured and deliberate approach to the bargaining process. Our collective agreement needs to be modernized and properly reflect the realities of our campus.

Our membership expressed its concerns to Council at our last AGM. Things have changed, and the negotiations team believes that the administration is taking advantage of our open democratic process. They are forcing us into a part of the process that does not require the Employer to be democratic.

Although we are profoundly concerned about the possibility of major disruptions to our members’ research plans during the summer months, we cannot – as a collective – allow ourselves to be bullied through a process exclusively controlled by the administration. We believe the Employer is preparing to take advantage of the summer when many of you are busy with your research, teaching summer courses, and preparing for the fall semester.

We noticed a shift in tone and approach in the last set of negotiations leading up to yesterday’s request for conciliation. The Employer has also refused to disclose important information requested by the team – information the team needs. Aside from the disclosure request, to ask for a conciliator before a first offer benefits package is even tabled tells us that they only have one deal in mind, and that’s the wrong deal for CUASA.

It is critical for you to know that the Employer declined all dates proposed for June well before their request for conciliation. I have no doubt that they “staged the scene”. The negotiations team proposed multiple dates to the Employer on April 12. On April 20, the Employer confirmed their availability for May 3 and May 16. In light of their request for conciliation, it is clear to us they never intended to meet after May 16, and that this date was always planned by the Employer to be for conciliation. That is wrong. They intentionally misled your team while they were scheduling these sessions in good faith.

Also on April 20, the Employer made a pointed attack on the pension plan knowing they were not planning to return to the table. This pension language would nullify the Employer’s exclusive obligations to fund your pension minimum guarantee, an obligation that has been in your collective agreement since its inception. Read the Employer’s tabled language on Article 40.8 here.

The issue of equity is not new. We chose to amplify what we’ve all been whispering and wondering about. Our female colleagues shouldn’t have to keep fighting for pay equity on their own. Our Indigenous faculty shouldn’t have to keep fighting for reconciliation on their own. Equity is important. It’s 2018 and the Employer should get with the times.

Despite the fact that CUASA requested the Employer keep the previously-scheduled bargaining session for today, their response last night was a refusal to meet your team at the table. The Employer is rejecting our requests to continue negotiations and is exclusively pursuing conciliation.

I understand that some of you are worried right now. Your negotiations team is preparing to exercise all options to resolve this matter, including negotiating via conciliation, but only if the Employer is willing to negotiate fairly and honestly. Over the course of the next week, we will be sending out more messages about information sessions and events to keep you informed.

Again, we didn’t ask to be procedurally bullied, but we will defend ourselves and our rights under that same process. We will bargain the academic way – the right way.

Sincerely yours,
Root Gorelick,
CUASA President

1) Read CUASA’s letter to the Employer here.

2) Fill out the personal contact information form here.

3) Sign-up to volunteer for the lock-out planning committee by emailing [email protected].

4) Attend upcoming information sessions and events to learn how to prepare. Click here for the meeting schedule.

5) Find out more about the conciliation process here. Find out the difference between strikes and lock-outs here.

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