Important information from the NSGEU about the 2020 Round of Bargaining
Dear Local 77 and Local 92-77 member,
We are writing to you in order to provide our perspective on the current state of affairs regarding your Local and your employer, Dalhousie.
The Employer contacted us in April to communicate their intention to require staff who fall under the Local 77 Collective Agreement to work from home. This wasn’t possible for all members, but the majority of you have been working at full capacity and, as far as we are aware, some have been working even beyond full capacity.
The Employer indicated they would conduct a survey of the managers with the intent of making a list of those members who, because COVID has limited their job duties, had capacity, and to identify their skills and qualifications. The survey would also ask managers to identify job duties that aren’t adequately being addressed either because of disruption in the job posting process or because COVID has required some new job duties the Department isn’t adequately resourced for. The Employer would then try to reconcile those two lists with the hope of finding work for those who had capacity and were qualified.
The Employer has communicated to us and Dalhousie Faculty Association (DFA) their perspective on the budget for the upcoming year and recently distributed a communication from Dalhousie’s President sharing their perspective with the University community. They estimate an $18M shortfall. This estimate was calculated by what looks like a great deal of effort and diligence but there remains a fairly wide margin of error in these numbers as tuition revenue is not yet an absolute. They intend to balance this budget short fall through collective bargaining.
As you may know, the Local 77 Collective Agreement expires at the end of this month and this will be a particularly difficult round of bargaining as the employer has already provided NSGEU and the DFA with their proposal. Their proposal is to lower wages starting July 1, 2020 by 5% with a 0% increase in 2021 contract year and that any other entitlement in the contract that would increase to be frozen at the 2019-2020 level. It also includes two changes to the pension plan that would reduce the benefit of that plan to future retirees. NSGEU categorically rejects these proposals and will not accept concessions in bargaining or set parameters before heading into bargaining. Compensation levels and pension were the only two employer proposals and they have indicated those are the only two they want to bargain.
Local 77’s typical bargaining cycle sees the local in a position to exchange proposals with the Employer in the early fall of the year the contract expires. The Employer has asked the three bargaining units on campus (Local 77, Local 99, and the DFA) to begin bargaining quickly with a goal to conclude before the end of summer. The Local Executive has decided they want to follow the process outlined in the local by-laws and established in our past practice. It is believed the local could still maintain that established process and meet the timelines indicated by the Employer.
There will be a Contract Support Committee established and any member who wants to join that committee can do so. We will meet (virtually) to finalize a bargaining input survey and use that survey along with some other resources to build our bargaining proposals. The Negotiating Committee (the members who actually participate in bargaining with the Employer) will be elected from the Contract Support Committee.
If you are interested in participating in the Contract Support Committee please contact a member of your Local Executive (email@example.com).
Please watch for further updates.
If you have any questions, please contact the NSGEU or your Employee Relations Officer firstname.lastname@example.org
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