Negotiations on Hiatus until October

Categories: Arbitration, Bargaining, Bargaining Updates 2012, provincial government

When negotiations between UBC and the Faculty Association began on February 14, the parties set the third week in June as the date when we would take a hiatus, if necessary. This is standard procedure and the date has no particular significance other than being the date after which conflicting travel and work schedules of the negotiating teams made scheduling meetings impossible. At the time negotiations began both parties felt there would be sufficient time to conclude an agreement before the hiatus.

Unfortunately, by all accounts the Government of British Columbia prevented the university (in fact, every university in the province) from negotiating salary until early June, by which time it was too late to attempt to conclude an agreement by the hiatus deadline. Until the university has the authority to negotiate salary there are a limited number of issues that can fruitfully be discussed and this has seriously delayed negotiations. The Government’s approach to collective bargaining in the public sector has been an unfortunate, complicating factor in these negotiations.

What happens now with Negotiations?
The parties have agreed to set aside the week of October 22 to resume bargaining. Between now and then Article 9.05(b) of the Framework for Collective Bargaining will come into effect. Once we have agreed on an arbitrator, and have dates for the arbitration set, the talks will resume. The Association has proposed Colin Taylor as the arbitrator. Both parties agreed on using Mr. Taylor as the arbitrator in the last round but, as we were able to settle prior to the arbitration dates, his services were not needed. We await UBC’s response to our proposal.

If the parties cannot come to an agreement prior to the arbitration dates (which will almost certainly be in early 2013) matters in dispute will be put before the arbitrator for binding resolution.  The Association staff, with the guidance of counsel, has already started preparing our brief for the arbitrator and, should arbitration prove necessary, we will be well prepared.

What happens now with our Collective Agreement?
Although the Agreement expires on June 30, it continues to be in force until a new Collective Agreement is concluded between the Parties directly or by an Arbitration Board. Any salary increases negotiated for July 1, 2012 would be paid retroactively. Any increments, merit awards or PSA awards due July 1, 2012 would also paid retroactively. The annual 1% bonus will be paid at its usual time (normally July 1, but later for Sessional Faculty Members). You can thank the provincial government for this delay in receiving increases that are already owed you.

Enjoy the summer. The bargaining team will continue to work on your behalf even though it is summer. If you have any questions, do let us know.