UPDATE on BC college bargaining

Unions and employers in the colleges, university colleges and institutes exchanged proposals during a bargaining session to renew the Common Agreement. Following the initial exchange, the parties have agreed to finalize the scope of common table negotiations by June 21st.

 

Vancouver (June 2004) - Post-secondary unions and employers table bargaining proposals

Unions and employers in the colleges, university colleges and institutes exchanged proposals during a bargaining session to renew the Common Agreement, June 8 to June 10th. Following the initial exchange, the parties have agreed to finalize the scope of common table negotiations by June 21st. Once the scope is finalized, bargaining will adjourn for the summer. The next bargaining session is scheduled to begin on September 27th. A bargaining protocol establishing the general scope of bargaining, the parties to bargaining and a bargaining schedule was agreed to by unions and employers in late May following several weeks of discussions.

At the table

The joint union negotiating committee comprises 25 people – representatives from 21 bargaining units (14 CIEA locals and 7 BCGEU/NUPGE/NUPGE locals), bargaining cochairpersons Dan Bradford (BCGEU/NUPGE) and George Davison (CIEA), and spokespeople David Piasta (CIEA staff) and David Streb (BCGEU/NUPGE staff). The employer negotiating committee currently comprises 11 people – nine representatives from institutions and two Post- Secondary Employers’ Association staff, including spokesperson John Waters.

Union proposals

The joint union negotiating committee tabled an extensive package of proposals for Common Agreement negotiations. The proposals were developed through consultation with local bargaining units and at provincial bargaining conferences. Through the bargaining process, proposals tabled this week will be developed into specific contract language and agreed to by the parties.

The joint union negotiating committee’s tabling document identified a number of issues for discussion with employers:

The unions are seeking provisions to protect educational quality in a wide range of areas, including: educational governance, professional development, academic freedom, copyright and intellectual property, distributed learning and international education.

The unions want to address equity issues, including building on the gains made to regularize faculty and continuing to work toward a single salary scale that provides equitable treatment of salary and benefits for all faculty.

The unions want to address ‘work-life’ balance issues, including improved family leave, compassionate care leave and improved retirement options. The unions’ tabling document seeks a general salary increase and the re-establishment of delisted health benefits.

Employer proposals

The employers tabled a limited number of proposals for change to the Common Agreement. Many of the employer proposals are designed to control cost drivers in the agreement in areas such as: paid union leave, labour adjustment, early retirement incentives, and overload provisions. Employers seek to limit benefit plans costs and have proposed a zero per cent salary increase in each year of a two-year agreement, ending on March 31, 2006. Employers have also proposed to delete or modify existing regularization and job security language in the agreement. Finally they have proposed to introduce a framework agreement for on-going gain-sharing or compensation trade-offs at the option of local parties.

CIEA and BCGEU/NUPGE locals will be communicating with members in the coming weeks to review in more detail proposals and strategy and to prepare for September bargaining sessions. In addition to Common Agreement negotiations, local bargaining will also occur. The current Common Agreement was signed in 2001 and expired on March 31, 2004.

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