Local 45 – Strike Vote Called as Union Heads to Conciliation

Progress was made during negotiations with the employer. However, there are still many outstanding issues on the table including wages and pension. On January 21, 2013, we applied for the services of a conciliation officer. The Bargaining Committee is asking for a strong strike mandate in order to give them the strength they need to achieve a fair and reasonable agreement during conciliation on February 19th.

Information/Strike Vote Sessions have been scheduled. Your Bargaining Committee will be joined by NSGEU President Joan Jessome and Chief Negotiator Tina Webber who will be able to explain the bargaining process, outstanding issues and answer any questions you may have.

Please support your Bargaining Committee by attending the scheduled strike vote information meetings and cast your strike ballot.

Church Point Campus

Strike Information Session and Voting

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

4:30 pm – 6:00 pm

Room SV-4

Church  Point

Halifax Campus

Strike Information Session and Voting

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

10 am – 11am

Room 208, second Floor

Halifax campus

Other Campuses

NSGEU members at the Saint-Joseph-du-Moine, Tusket and Petit-de-Grat campuses will receive information in regular mail about the voting process.

What is Conciliation?

Conciliation is an option available under the Trade Union Act when regular negotiations fail to bring an agreement.  Either party may write a letter to the Minister of Labour and Advanced Education requesting the services of a Conciliation Officer to assist the parties in reaching an Agreement.  The Conciliation Officer does not have the power to impose any settlement on either party, but acts more like a mediator and puts pressure on both sides to reach an agreement.

Your bargaining committee’s responsibility includes either recommending members vote in favor of a tentative agreement or vote to reject an Employer’s final offer.  If the Union and Employer reach a tentative agreement at conciliation, members will be asked to “ratify” the tentative agreement by voting in favor of the agreement.  If a tentative agreement is not reached, members will be asked to reject the Employer’s final offer.  A majority vote of the members will determine the result.  A majority vote on a tentative agreement or an Employer’s final offer is 50% plus 1 of those who vote.   For either vote, members will receive information and have the opportunity to vote by secret ballot.

If a final offer is rejected by the majority of Local 45 members, the Conciliation Officer will declare an impasse and, in accordance with the Trade Union Act, will file his report with the Minister of Labour and Advanced Education.  This will trigger the fourteen (14) day count down to a strike or lock-out by the Employer.  The 14 day period is also called the “cooling off period” for both sides.  Often the Conciliation Officer will call both sides back to the table for another effort to reach an agreement.

Why is NSGEU taking a Strike Vote?

There are major unresolved issues on the bargaining table.  Having a strong strike vote will show the Employer that members stand behind their bargaining committee and are willing to go on strike to meet their bargaining demands if necessary.

A strike vote is governed by the Nova Scotia Trade Union Act.  For a strike vote to be legal, the Union must have a majority vote (50% plus 1) of those affected by a strike, which is the entire bargaining unit.  It is very important that Local 45 members cast their ballot so the Union will have a clear direction from the bargaining unit.

What are the resolved and unresolved issues?

On the last day of bargaining, the Employer proposed .75%, .75% and .75%.   This falls well below the NSGEU lead table and other university settlements.

The other major issue in this round of bargaining is the Université Sainte-Anne Pension Plan.  In the last round of bargaining, the Union and Employer agreed to increase pension contributions from 6% to 10.5% to fund the solvency deficit in exchange for the same increase to the salary scales.  This time, the Employer initially tabled that the Pension Plan be jointly sponsored.  The Union disagreed with this proposal.  We then learned that new legislation no longer required Employers covered under the legislation to fund the solvency deficit of their pension plan.  We were pleased that this included Université Sainte-Anne and believed this would result in the Union and Employer being able to resolve the pension matter in negotiations, however, this did not occur.  Instead, the Employer tabled that new hires on date of signing of the agreement would not be covered by the existing defined benefit pension plan, but go into a defined contribution pension plan.  The Union is opposed to less terms and conditions of employment for new hires.  We do not want to negotiate a lesser pension plan for future Local 45 members.

A number of articles have been agreed subject to, of course, reaching a tentative agreement.  You will find the Union’s “agreed” document included in this email.  The issues that are not resolved and will be negotiated at conciliation include pension plan, wages, layoff, sick leave, vacation and duration of agreement.   Attached is a table outlining the major outstanding provisions and their status.

We strongly encourage you to attend any one of the information sessions and to cast your strike ballot.

Clarence Doucette – clarence.doucette@usainteanne.ca

Elaine LeBlanc – elaine.leblanc@usainteanne.ca

Alvina Samson – alvina.samson@usainteanne.ca


Tina Webber, Chief Negotiator




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