Management stalls efforts at bargaining table
The bargaining team went to the table during the week of July 18th – 22nd. We arrived at the table hoping that we would come closer to a negotiated agreement. However, we also anticipated that management would continue playing its antics, with no intention of coming any closer to a contract settlement.
We werecorrect in our expectations. Management came to the table with only two things on their mind: cost savings and concessions.
Management still has not addressed any of our proposals. They have not put their monetary package on the table and they have not tabled anything except the concessions they want us to accept.
Contrary to management’s “efforts,” your team has gone through management’s proposals. We’ve agreed to a number of items that they have brought forward. We have counter-proposed items from their proposal list. We have gathered more information about their demands. We have provided evidence contrary to the rationale they have put forward.
The past week also brought us two steps closer to our strike deadline. A conciliator has met with both teams as is set out in the Colleges Collective Bargaining Act. The union has also asked the conciliator to make their report to the Minister of Labour.
The steps still needed to be taken: the Minister needs to notify both parties of the report; 16 days must elapse after that notification; the Union must give five days written notice to Council and the Colleges of the strike date, and our current Collective Agreement must expire.
On July 21, your team drew a line in the sand. We told management that we would be available to meet as scheduled and that we would be waiting for a call from them when they wanted to a) address our demands; and b) put their monetary package on the table. Where we go from here is now in management’s court. If they do not call us to indicate that they will be addressing our demands and putting their monetary package on the table, we will refuse to meet.
There are a few options available.
The first option is that management continues to play their games and we end up on strike because of their inability to come to the bargaining table and negotiate seriously.
The second option is that we come to a negotiated agreement before our strike deadline.
And the third option is that management hopes to con you into taking a deal by making you take a vote on an offer.
This third option needs to be clearly understood. Management can, after August 15 , force us to take a vote. What this means is that management could put an offer in front of the members and force you to decide whether to take it or not. At that point, members need to ask:
- If the offer is so good why didn’t they put it forward sooner?
- If the offer is so good why didn’t your team ask you to vote on it? The team’s position is that if we thought it would be good enough for you to accept, we would have taken it and asked you to vote on it.
Management will use this tactic to try and split the union bargaining team from its members. It’s called ‘divide-and-conquer.’ They will tell you how good an offer it is and that the union is hiding this good offer from you. They will insist that the bargaining team isn’t really bargaining for you, they are bargaining for themselves.
What we would remind the members is this: your bargaining team was elected by you, to bargain your demands and to get you a deal that truly benefits you. Once we have that deal we will bring it back for you to vote on it.
Management does not work for you. Their agenda is simple and they’ve reminded us at every step: cost cutting and concessions are all we have heard about. They have shown that they will stall and deceive you; they have done everything in their power to interfere with your rights to information about negotiations.
Perhaps, if the Colleges spent more time negotiating rather than stalling, deceiving and interfering we might have already had a settlement.
Chair, 2011 CAAT Support Bargaining Team
Start peparing for strike action
Many locals have started to prepare for strike action. They are in the midst of getting their committees together, picket schedules set up, and preparing lists of tasks to complete in order to be ready for a strike. Almost 4,000 members across the province have completed the online strike survey.
- automates the Members Personal Information Form(MPIF) so that all the member needs to do is sign it in order to qualify for strike pay;
- sets up the Communications, Finance and Strike Duties committees;
- starts the process of scheduling picket lines;
- identifies those who have said they would be picket captains or picket marshals.
If your Local does not have their own survey or you have not filled out the online survey you can do so at: info.caatsupport.org.
Contact your team!
If you have any questions at all about bargaining, feel free to e-mail your team at any time. Our address is firstname.lastname@example.org.