The Communiqué – CUASA’s Response to the University’s Bargaining Update No. 2


CUASA’s Response to Carleton’s Bargaining Update No. 2

In today’s email sent out to CUASA members, the University claims to have reached out by telephone and email to propose using an external mediator. This offer was never presented to your team at the negotiations table and thus is not an official offer from the Employer. We would like to highlight the actual sequence of events:

  1. The parties agreed to negotiated protocols. See item no. 2 of the protocols here. Since negotiating the protocols, the University had made no attempts at an illegal sidebar until the phone call referenced in their email today, which happened on April 19.
  2. On April 19, the University’s Director of Labour Relations, in-house counsel Robert Monti, called CUASA’s in-house, Christal Côté, at 1:45pm after sending a cryptic email asking to “chat”.
  3. At 1:45pm on April 19, Robert Monti expressed his idea to use Arbitrator Keller for mediation. He indicated that it was his belief that we were already at an impasse. Christal Côté told him that she would inform CUASA’s negotiations team of this suggestion. At this time, Robert Monti had not proposed the idea to his negotiations team.
  4. On April 20, the University rejected multiple proposals and tabled the attack on Article 40.8, the Carleton University Pension Plan. See our previous comments on April 20 here.
  5. On April 26, Robert Monti emailed Christal Côté as a follow-up about mediation and to inform her that he had “pitched the idea” to his team and that they were “agreeable”.
  6. The April 19 and the April 26 events were both clearly in violation of the protocols. At no time was the idea of mediation formally proposed by the University’s Chief Negotiator, Wayne Jones, to CUASA’s Chief Negotiator, Chantal Dion. To this day, your Chief Negotiator still has not received a formal request from the University for mediation. At the times these sidebars happened, the parties were still scheduled to return to the table on May 3.

We would like to highlight that on April 19, although we had our suspicions, it was peculiar that such information about impasses and desires to mediate were not being expressed according to the protocols. Protocols are traditionally negotiated to help guide the parties to act in good faith.

In light of this, we would also like to inform you about another sidebar contrary to the protocols that occurred before the May 2 request for conciliation. At the break during the Board of Governors meeting on April 30, University Provost, Jerry Tomberlin, approached CUASA President Root Gorelick and expressed concern for the pay equity problems that CUASA highlighted in its proposals (Article 45.7, see here). This was quite opposite to what the University’s negotiation team expressed to CUASA on April 20. The President answered the Provost’s questions to the best of his ability about the report and was left with the impression we would hear more about this at the table.

As you know, very shortly after, the University requested conciliation and cancelled the May 3 bargaining session. There were no formal opportunities for CUASA to respond properly to these sidebars. Although it may be true there was a request for mediation made via phone and email, knowing the full sequence of events is important when reading the University’s communication. The fact remains that the offers were informal and contrary to the negotiated protocols. There was no choice for mediation because the University never formally proposed it.​

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