Bargaining Update - July 9, 2024

YUFA's and the Employer's bargaining teams met for the first time with Conciliation Officer Hanane Benzidane and Joanna Macri of the Ontario Ministry of Labour.   They observed our bargaining session, and in a separate meeting with us they expressed willingness to meet with the parties as much and as long as possible to help us get a negotiated settlement.   They also met separately with the Employer's team.

The Employer presented a costing of YUFA's proposals. Very little detail was provided on the underlying data or assumptions used. YUFA asked for those details.   The Employer has also not provided all the financial disclosure which YUFA requested in June.

YUFA presented important proposals on: 

(a) Support for Indigenous colleagues and their work

(b) Stronger institutional measures to provide protection from harassment - including online harassment.

(c) Expedited mediation and arbitration procedures to address dysfunctional and expensive labour relations processes.

(d) A new article on electronic monitoring and privacy to ensure employees have rights on how information about them is collected and used. This is an important update for our nearly 50-year-old Collective Agreement in the digital age.

The Employer presented some counter-proposals. They maintained their position of freezing our PTR and proposed a working group to consider alternative PTR systems including introducing merit-based pay into annual increments.

For the first time, the Employer gave extensive responses to YUFA's non-monetary proposals.

  1. They said that Human Rights legislation requiring a duty to accommodate is good enough - we don't need improvements to certain equity proposals such as including "caste".
  2. They rejected proposals to strengthen disability accommodation, citing increased costs.
  3. In some cases where parties have active grievances, the Employer expressed preferences for pursuing expensive arbitration processes rather than accepting new language proposed by YUFA.
  4. There is no agreement on our DEDI or disability accommodation proposals. 
  5. They refused strengthened progressive discipline guarantees. 

We note that despite the Employer's insistence on the dire fiscal circumstances that from their perspective set the current bargaining context, they dismissed any attempt to entertain YUFA proposals seeking to open a dialogue on settling existing grievances. Instead, the employer expressed its desire to move the grievances forward to arbitration. Some of the grievances are already scheduled for multiple arbitration dates and will cost both parties a significant amount. It is not uncommon for parties to work out grievances in bargaining, and in fact the parties have done so in the past. The employer's refusal to engage at all with YUFA's proposals simply does not square with their presentation of the University's finances.   

As of the afternoon of July 9, there was no indication yet regarding whether or when the employer may call for a "no board" report.  There is another bargaining session scheduled with the Employer on July 16, and our next meeting with the Conciliation Officer is scheduled for the following scheduled bargaining session on Tuesday, July 23.