BC common table negotiations adjourn; focus on local dates | National Union of Public and General Employees

BC common table negotiations adjourn; focus on local dates

Bargaining to renew the Common Agreement adjourned on December 2. Members of the joint union negotiating committee now head home to consult with members. Many local unions are seeking local bargaining dates in December and January.

Vancouver (03 Dec 2004) - Bargaining to renew the Common Agreement between faculty members of the Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of BC and the BC Government and Service Employees’ Union, and employers adjourned on December 2. Members of the joint union negotiating committee now head home to consult with members in preparation for a resumption of common table negotiations in the New Year. Many local unions have or are seeking local bargaining dates in December and January.

Prior to adjourning, unions delivered a strong message to employers. Negotiators said that members are not prepared to accept employer positions on many key issues such as academic freedom, educational technology, international education, regularization, job security and improved health and welfare benefits.

George Davison, FPSE’s negotiating committee co-chair, said that given the substantial change post-secondary institutions have experienced in the past three years, and the resulting pressures for educators, unions expected employers to be much more prepared to deal with fundamental rights and education quality issues. “We are surprised and angered that we have hit a brick wall on so many fronts,” said Davison.

BCGEU co-chair Dan Bradford said that employers must be prepared to deal with the significant recruitment and retention problems in BC post-secondary institutions. Noting that BC faculty are falling behind those in Alberta and Ontario, Bradford said that faculty salaries here need to be competitive with the rest of Canada.

Unions tabled 32 demands during this phase of Common Agreement negotiations, covering all priority areas except salary, the elimination of secondary scales, caps and bars, and the term of the agreement.

Union negotiators will be seeking to confirm dates with employers for resumption of common table bargaining in the New Year. Once home some unions will hold special bargaining meetings and ensure job action readiness as they prepare for the next stage of bargaining. Unions will seek to have canvassed issues with employers at the local level and be prepared to move as quickly as possible to conclude negotiations when the parties return to common table negotiations in the New Year.

Unions have tabled Common Agreement proposals in four areas: work-life balance; quality education; equity and fairness; and recruitment and retention/fair compensation. Backgrounders are available in each of these areas.

For more information, members of locals involved in common table bargaining can contact their representative on the joint union negotiating committee. Other inquiries can be directed to Roseanne Moran, FPSE Communications at 604-873-8988 or Stephen Howard, BCGEU Communications at 604-291-9611.