Negotiations for the APTPUO’s main unit began on May 12. At the first meeting, both parties presented their normative proposals.
Since then, we have had two more meetings with the employer, on Friday, May 20th and on Thursday, May 26th. At these meetings, the Association began to introduce some counter proposals and to address some of the employer’s concerns. Unfortunately, the employer merely used the few bargaining sessions we had to reject in its entirety the proposals adopted by our members.
At the end of the last meeting, the employer indicated that they were going to request the appointment of a conciliator. This is a prelude to a possible labour dispute. For more information on the bargaining process and the different steps that can lead to a labour dispute, follow this link.
As you can imagine, these meetings were very disappointing and frustrating. The Bargaining Committee committed to engage in these meetings with a genuine willingness to bargain and discuss with the employer. However, we are convinced that the employer had no desire to negotiate in good faith.
We find it hard to understand why the employer has asked for conciliation at this stage, especially considering that the two parties have not even shared any monetary proposals so far. The risk of a labour dispute is now very real.
Therefore, the Bargaining Committee will file a bad faith complaint against the employer before the Ontario Labour Relations Board, demanding that the employer return to the table to bargain in good faith and to delay the conciliation process.
In the meantime, and considering the employer’s attitude, we are required to convene a Special General Assembly (SGA) in the near future in order to collectively decide on the next steps and to give the Bargaining Committee the necessary tools to reach a reasonable agreement for us.
Part-time professors have made enormous sacrifices for the University for over two years amidst the worst global health crisis in over a century. We face enormous pressures brought on by the pandemic that now also includes skyrocketing inflation. We mistakenly thought that the senior university administration would be more forthcoming and conciliatory at the bargaining table in support of its professors during this difficult time. Instead, they intend to take advantage of the situation and exacerbate precarity, declining wages, and insufficient working conditions.
Rest assured, we will stand together to seek better working conditions and to improve the quality of education at the University of Ottawa. Your Bargaining Committee is committed to continuing the bargaining process in good faith and to working tirelessly to find an agreement that works for us. We will demand that the employer does the same.
Here are some definitions:
Working Conditions Freeze
Following the expiry of a collective agreement, the law stipulates that the parties must maintain a freeze on working conditions until a new agreement is ratified or until negotiations reach an impasse.
Bargaining Conciliation and Impasse
As part of the bargaining process, a party may request the appointment of a conciliator. Usually this happens when negotiations no longer work.
It is important to understand that the appointment of a conciliator is a prelude to the initiation of any labour dispute. In fact, at any conciliation meeting, a party may declare an impasse in negotiations and demand a report from the Minister. The conciliator will then assume the role of mediator and attempt to help the parties to reach an agreement. Twenty-one (21) days following receipt of the impasse report, the freeze on working conditions is lifted and no collective agreement cases or benefits apply. In addition, either party may initiate a labour dispute, including a lockout by the employer.
Stay tuned for more details in your email.
APTPUO’s Bargaining Committee