We have told UBC that we would give them until Dec 1st to see if we could achieve a tentative settlement at the table. If that didn’t happen, we said we would move toward Interest Arbitration. We are now at that moment.
Here’s how Interest Arbitration works. The parties agree on an Arbitrator and set a date for a hearing; in advance of that, we decide which issues to take to Arbitration, and we make submissions to the Arbitrator outlining our priorities and providing evidence to support our position. The Arbitrator issues a binding award after the hearings. Most important in this period of extraordinarily high inflation is the fact that the Arbitrator in making a salary award is bound by our Collective Agreement to consider inflation in Canada, BC, and Vancouver, among other factors.
If, once an Arbitration date is set, UBC wants to keep talking about a possible settlement at the table, here are our key requirements:
a) Most important: a salary package that provides inflation protection
b) significant improvements in benefits-coverage, salary-equity, and leave-coverage.
c) significant gains on key non-monetary issues – you can track these in our blogs here.
Discussions on these issues can continue in the lead-up to the Arbitration hearings, but we do need to agree on an Arbitrator and set a date first. Without that assurance, we have no interest in a game of attrition or delay stretching into 2023. On October 31st we gave UBC a list of possible Arbitrators, and we have been waiting for them to respond so that we can set an Arbitration hearing date. We expect to hear back today.
Our objective is the best possible deal for our members, and we will keep pressing the UBC negotiating team until we achieve it—one way or another.