Updates from Unit 1 bargaining team
For previous bargaining updates, click here
On Friday, Feb 10th, both the Unit 1 (TA/RA) and Unit 2 (Contract Instructor) Bargaining Teams requested No Board Reports be filed by the Ministry of Labour Conciliator appointed to assist with negotiations. This means that job action, including a strike or lockout, are possible in early March.
This email contains information about the status of bargaining, what a No Board means, and what you can do to help your Bargaining Teams secure a fair deal at the table.
CUPE 4600 is committed to improving both working conditions for our members and learning conditions for students. The membership of CUPE 4600 has spoken loudly in support of its negotiating committees, providing strong strike mandates for both Units. Teaching Assistants voted 84% and CIs 91% in favour of job action if necessary. CUPE 4600 is determined, more than ever before, to negotiate a fair and just collective agreement for Teaching Assistants and Contract Instructors at the bargaining table, up to and including job action if needed.
1. What is a No Board Report?
A No Board Report is filed when either side feels negotiations have stalled in conciliation, and to move towards a legal strike or lockout position. A strike or lockout is legally possible 17 days after the No Board has been filed with the OLRB by a conciliator.
A No Board Report does not necessarily mean a strike or lockout is inevitable. It simply means that job action is a legal option open to either the employer or the union after a certain date. The union will do everything possible to reach a fair deal at the bargaining table.
2. When could a strike or lockout start?
Your union requested a No Board for both Unit 1 & 2 today. When processing time and the 17 day period are accounted for, the date for a strike or lockout falls on or about Friday, March 3rd. We will know the specific date, and will notify all members of that date, once we receive an official letter from the Ministry of Labour.
3. Why did the Bargaining Teams request a No Board Report?
Your Bargaining Team has been attempting to secure a fair deal from the Administration since last July. While some progress has been made, the employer has not moved far on some of the issues that are most important to union members. With the end of the semester nearing, we have been left with little choice but to prepare for possible strike action.
Carleton's Administration has a long history of refusing to take negotiations seriously until your union makes it clear that our members are willing to go all the way to ensure they’re treated fairly. CUPE 4600 has never been on strike. However, several times through our history, we have had to make it clear to employer that our members are willing to strike in order to have even our basic needs taken seriously by the Administration.
4. What is the latest news from the bargaining table?
There has been some progress on a number of issues, but several areas that are priorities for our members remain unresolved.
The employer’s current proposals would mean that Teaching Assistants would be doing more work and have less take home pay and reduced protection from tuition increases. In particular, TAs in 2 year programs would see their tuition protection completely eliminated.
At the Contract Instructor table, there are several significant outstanding issues. The employer has so far been unwilling to discuss changes to the student evaluation process, to provide compensation or teaching supports for large class sizes, or to begin hiring some long-term CIs on multi-year contracts. Additionally, their wage proposals would put CIs at Carleton on track to be the lowest paid in the province.
CUPE 4600 will send out detailed Unit-specific bargaining updates early next week.
5. Are we still trying to reach a deal at the Bargaining table?
YES. The Bargaining Teams for both Unit 1 and Unit 2 will be continue to meet with the Administration. Your Bargaining Team is very much committed to reach a deal through negotiations and will do everything it can to secure a fair deal without resorting to job action.
6. Will I get paid if we go on strike?
YES. If you are engaged in picket line duty or other designated strike support activities, you will receive up to $300/week tax free for 20 hours of work, or $60/day for a 4 hour shift. Very shortly, a picket duty sign-up form will be sent to all members in order to let you sign up for specific picket line shifts.
7. Will I still attend class if we go on strike?
YES. If CUPE 4600 is on strike you still need to take part in any classes or research projects you are part of as a student. It is simply the work you do as a TA or Contract Instructor that you are withholding.
8. How can I support my Bargaining Team in securing deal at the table?
The best way to convince the employer to take our issues seriously and settle negotiations at the bargaining table is to show them we're organized and committed to the fight. You can contribute to that effort by joining one of the following committees, which are open to all union members:
Mobilization Committee: This committee is responsible for messaging and activities designed to increase the awareness of our bargaining situation both on campus and off. If you'd like to help with things like postering, media work, tabling, graphic design, etc., email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Strike Committee: This committee deals with the logistics of a possible strike, including picket lines, strike pay administration, organizing the off-site office, renting a strike trailer, and more. If you're interested in helping out, email email@example.com.
9. What if I need more information about strikes?
You can find answers to many common questions about strikes, lockouts and the bargaining process here.
Unit 1 & Unit 2 Bargaining Teams