Mediation continued on November 16, 2018. Your committee presented a comprehensive counter offer to the Employer for their consideration. We met through the mediator for most of the day, but have not reached an agreement. Mediated discussions are continuing, while we continue with the mediated process. The parties have agreed not to share the contents of our respective proposals. We will provide a further update after our next mediated session.
We thank ASPA for their continued support! Please see attached memo sent to CUPE 1975 Negotiating Team. Please see attached letter from ASPA below.
Mediated discussion occurred November 1st. The employer provided your bargaining committee with a new proposal. This is not a final offer. Your committee is considering the proposal and will be putting forward a counter proposal at the next mediated session on November 16, 2018. The parties have agreed not to share the contents of the proposal while we are in discussions. We will provide further updates after our next mediated session.
Question of the Day
I attended the “You Talk, We Listen” event yesterday and filled out a form with my contact information on it. Some of my colleagues were unable to attend and are worried that things won’t be in place in the event of a strike. What other options are there to complete this form?
First of all, thank you for attending our event on Tuesday. We had a number of people stop by and ask us some very good questions about contract talks, mediation, and language in the collective agreement. Initially when we talked with CUPE National, It was suggested that we attempt to have a face to face conversation with all of our members and have them fill out their contact information on a form they were to provide in preparation of a work stoppage. The form was being worked on by CUPE National and was to be ready by Tues the 30th. Your executive were still trying to find a solution on how to accomplish this task as we have 2000 members located in a number of different locations throughout Saskatchewan. I believe CUPE National finally began to understand the magnitude of the task that we would be required to do and agreed last Friday to proceed ahead using the same process as happened in 2007 when we went out on strike.
In the event of a work stoppage, you will be required to sign in for your shift with your picket captain and sign out at the end of the shift. The picket captain will forward this information to our strike headquarters where it will be processed. We decided to use the form on Tuesday provided by CUPE National to gather our members contact information (mainly personal email addresses). By providing an email address we can add your name to our email list and communicate with you through email, website and Facebook. In the event of a work stoppage we are trying to get as much contact information as possible. This will enable the union to get money in each member’s hands as quickly as possible. We are asking for help from you, to provide your own information. Visit the website if you have not already done so and input your personal email address. We also ask that you volunteer for different positions required in the event we do go on work stoppage. The forms are listed on the website at CUPE1975.ca
You can sign up in two ways. Click on the link below and fill out the the form. Make sure to press the submit button at the end of the form. Your information will automatically go to the Union office.
Print off the form included in the link listed below and mail it through campus mail or bring it to the Union office at Room 21 McLean hall. Form_Paws_off_our_Pension_Volunteer_Sheet_2018_10_18
Our question of the day has been replaced today with “the Rumor of the Day”. Apparently it has been circulating that some of our union members believe that now that a mediator has been assigned to our case, that we are able to forgo the 60 day period and implement some form of a job action (strike) or that the employer can initiate a lock out. Under section 6 (six) of the Saskatchewan Employment Act (SEA), it states that we are required by law, to work alongside the assigned mediator and the University of Saskatchewan to try and come to a resolve with our bargaining. The 60 day period is a minimum time frame and with agreement with the party’s involved, CUPE 1975 and the University, the meditation period can be extended beyond the 60 days with the hopes of coming to an agreement. At the end of the mediation period (a minimum of 60 days) if an agreement cannot be reached, there is a further 14 day “cooling off period”, where no action, such as a strike or lockout can take place. After the 14 day cooling off period, either party has to give 48 hours’ notice of job action or lockout. We received notice this week that a mediator has been assigned to our case and we have provided a number of dates where our negotiating team is available to meet. At our rally/strike vote many of you heard that although there is hundreds of strike votes conducted each year in Canada, very few end up in a strike. Your negotiating team is hopeful that we can come to a resolve thru the mediation process.
Most university offices and services will be closed for the holidays this year beginning on December 24, 2018 until January 1, 2019. Employees who would normally be scheduled to work on December 24 will receive this day off with regular pay, and will not need to work the time in advance or use vacation time, banked EDO’s, time in lieu or overtime. Employees who are not scheduled to work December 24 as a part of their regular schedule will not receive any additional compensation and/or paid time off. The closure on December 24 is an exception for 2018 only. Regular operations of the university will resume on January 2, 2019. Please contact the union at 966-7015 if you are asked by your supervisor or department to give up a holiday or EDO, etc. for the December 24th day.
October 16, 2018
Today Oct. 16th, at our Union Executive meeting, our national servicing representative shared with us that a mediator has officially been assigned to our negotiations. With a mediator in place, our negotiating committee has provided the employer and mediator our availability over the upcoming months. November 1st and 2nd dates were held as bargaining dates prior to talks breaking down and these dates will be used as our opening dates with the mediator.
After a mediator has been identified, we have 60 days to work along with him and The University to try and come up with a resolve to our contract impasse. If talks are going well, we can request an extension to the talks. If the talks aren’t progressing as hoped after the 60 days, there is a 14 day cooling off period before either party can take any further action. Your negotiating committee is hopeful that we can come to a resolve with the employer.
I WAS HOPING TO TAKE A HOLIDAY IN THE UPCOMING MONTHS:
What would happen if the union went on strike prior to me going on holidays? Would I be paid by the University any holiday pay? Would I get strike pay?
Firstly, all holidays need to have prior approval from your manager. Once your holiday is approved, and if it happens when we are on strike, the employer has the right to pay or not pay you holiday pay if we are on strike.
In the upcoming meetings with the employer and the mediator, we hope to get more clarity on this answer.
The holidays you have accumulated are a liability for the University that must be used or paid off at some point in your career here. Some departments have difficulty scheduling and accommodating people within their departments each year for time off. For this reason, there may be an appetite for the employer to consider it. However, we have no control over that.
Secondly, you must participate in the strike to receive your strike pay. If your away for a week and unable to walk the picket line or do other assigned duties from the union, you wouldn’t be eligible for any strike pay.
First of all – Thank you to all our members that voted to support your negotiating team at last week’s strike vote. It was nice to see such a strong turnout and the many good questions put forward from you.
Prior to the vote last week, our executive talked about how important the vote was, but also how we needed to respect the outcome of the vote. Although the vote went in the direction we had hoped, we would like to have the people who voted against the motion, to respect the outcome also. We live in a democracy and it was done in a democratic way.
Questions of the Day
- I haven’t received any emails prior to the strike vote or call. How does the union intend to communicate with us going forward?
At the rally, pension talk with Mark Jansen in the Education Gym this spring, we were asking all members in attendance to share their emails (not usask) with us for communication purposes going forward. We received approximately 500 emails and we have sent out a group email to all those who provided one to us. If you didn’t receive one prior to the strike, it is possible we didn’t get your address correct. In this case, please contact the union office with the correct information. Also, at the Thursday rally and vote we asked again for any personal emails we might not have. We are in the process of creating a group list however it will take some time to do this. In the meantime, we ask that you continue visiting our website and Facebook page.
- Can you explain the timelines of negotiations right now? Are we in a strike position this week?
At our last bargaining session on September 14, 2018, we declared an impasse with the employer. We filed the impasse with the Saskatchewan Labour Board and a mediator will be assigned to work with both sides to try and arrive at a settlement. Once the mediator is identified by Labour law, we have 60 days to come to an agreement. The period can be extended if both sides agree there is good work being done and want to continue to pursue an agreement. If they don’t, then there is a two week cooling off period before either party can take any further action. As of today, a mediator has not been identified.
FYI – Your executive does not have access to the employers email (usask) system without the employer approving content of the email. For this reason, anything strike related cannot be sent through your usask email.
Results of the Strike Vote
957 Ballots Case
6 spoiled ballots
70% of the votes cast were in favour of a strike.
CUPE 1975 members have voted in favour of job action in a vote held on September 27 and 28th.“ Our members have made it clear that they support our bargaining committee’s fight to protect our members’ secure defined benefit pension plan,” said Craig Hannah, president of CUPE Local 1975. “This strike mandate is a clear message to the University of Saskatchewan: we demand pension issues to be dealt with at the bargaining table.”
CUPE 1975 represents 1900 members who work at the University of Saskatchewan in a variety of non-academic positions.
The bargaining team for CUPE 1975 will be putting forward a motion at the next General Membership Meeting in October to pay an additional $200.00 a week non-taxable from CUPE 1975’s strike fund to members that participate in the strike. This will be over and above the $300.00 non-taxable a week that striking workers get form CUPE National
Remember to Vote: Vote and Rally 4:30 to 7:30 pm Sept. 27th Arts 143 and 146. All day Voting Sept. 28th from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm. Location: Grad Students Common – Emmanuel and St. Chad Bldg. directly behind McLean Hall. Follow the signs. Members please read the above attachments. CUPE 1975’s response to the email sent out by the University to our members on September 24, 2018. If you still have questions please do not hesitate to call the union office at 966-7015. We have also updated the Questions and Answers.
Voting on Sept. 28th (Friday) will be held at Emmanuel and St. Chad which is located across from new Health Sciences bldg. and Dental Clinic. Directly behind McLean Hall.
Questions and Answers September 25, 2018
Part II. (In addition to the link provided below)
Can you explain to me how the proposed new pay scales/bands would work? I am currently in a phase 4 position- would I remain in a phase 4 in the new system. What if I don’t agree with my placement?
Your bargaining team had very preliminary talks at negotiations with the employer in regards to a proposed pay band system. We had identified many things that we wanted more clarity on. We believe in their haste to bring an offer to the table, the employer glossed over many of the things that will impact you the member, one of them being having no appeal mechanism to challenge these new placements.
How would essential services work if we went out on strike? Who would be deemed essential?
The positions that would be deemed essential would be negotiated between the employer and CUPE 1975. In the event of a disagreement the labour board will be involved.
Can CUPE 1975 send me a personal email like the employer to keep me posted on any updates on my USASK email account?
CUPE 1975 does not have access to the employers email system. All emails CUPE 1975 sends through USASK email have to be approved and edited by the employer first. We will continue to keep you the member posted through our Web Page, your personal email system where members have provided your personal emails (no USASK), our Facebook page and mail outs.
The negotiating team has provided answers to the questions you may have in regards to negotiations and upcoming strike vote.
Click on the attached Link: Questions and Answers from your CUPE Local Negotiations Team
NEGOTIATIONS UPDATE SEPTEMBER 18, 2018
At the General Membership Meeting on September 18, 2018 CUPE 1975 members overwhelmingly voted in favour of directing their bargaining team to conduct a strike vote. The details are as follows:
IMPORTANT BARGAINING UPDATE
After almost two years of bargaining, your Local 1975 bargaining committee has served written notice to the Employer and the Minister of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety that the union and the University of Saskatchewan have reached an impasse in the current round of negotiations.
The main sticking point in negotiations is our pension plan. The University is refusing to talk pensions at the bargaining table, and is threatening to make unilateral cuts to your pension plan, which could drastically reduce your hard fought retirement benefits.
CUPE 1975 and the University of Saskatchewan have a long history of engaging in serious and good faith bargaining over our pension plan. We see no reason that this practice should stop.
It is imperative that we fight to strengthen the pension language in our collective agreement so we can continue to have a voice in changes to our pension plan.
This is why we are seeking a strong strike mandate from our membership. We need to send a message to the Employer that we will fight for our right to have a say in our retirement security.
After decades of hard work and paying into the pension plan, our members deserve to know that they can count on their pension in retirement.
We will continue to do our best to reach a fair deal at the bargaining table. Now that we have filed for impasse this includes working through the conciliation process with a government appointed mediator and the Employer to try to reach a deal. As this process unfolds, it is important we show the Employer that we are united and ready to stand together for our pension plan.
A RALLY will be held on September 27th at 4:30 pm in Rooms 143 and 146 Arts Bldg and will feature Mark Hancock, CUPE National President, and Jerrett Clark, President of the CUPE Local at Carleton University who just successfully won a similar pension fight. Location:
Following the rally on September 27th a strike vote will take place until 7:30 pm in rooms 143 & 146 of the Arts Building. The strike vote will continue on September 28th in the Graduate Students’ Association Commons, located directly behind McLean Hall across from the Dental Clinic from the hours of 7:30 am to 5:30 pm. To learn more about our pension plan read the document “Frequently Asked Questions” which can be found by visiting our website at cupe1975.ca.
In solidarity, Your Bargaining Committee,
Craig Hannah, Bob Jones, Ryan Klassen, Natalie Laing, Jeff Theis, Ann Iwanchuk
Canadian Union of Public Employees CUPE.CA
|September 18, 2018||FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
Media Release: CUPE Local 1975 says “Paws off our pensions” to the U of S and files for impasse
(Saskatoon) After almost two years of bargaining, your Local 1975 bargaining committee has served written notice to the employer and the Minister of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety that the union and the University of Saskatchewan have reached an impasse in the current round of negotiations.
The main sticking point in negotiations is the pension plan. The University is refusing to talk pensions at the bargaining table and is threatening to make unilateral cuts to the pension plan.
“CUPE 1975 and the University of Saskatchewan have a long history of engaging in serious and good faith bargaining over our pension plan. We see no reason that this practice should stop,” said Craig Hannah, president of CUPE Local 1975. “If the University has their way, workers will no longer have a voice when it comes to their retirement security.”
In 2015, the University filed a grievance over the union’s view that language in our collective agreement gave us the right to negotiate pensions. Despite the parties negotiating changes to the pension plan for 65 years, Arbitrator Hornung sided with the University and ruled that the current collective agreement on pension is not strong enough to protect against unilateral changes to the plan. Since the local is currently in collective bargaining, they are seeking to add language regarding their right to bargain pensions.
“The average benefit paid to members of the local enrolled in the pension plan is just $18,100 annually, but the knowledge that we have a pension we can count on is a major part of compensation and a major reason our members come to work every day,” said Hannah. “Our members will not accept the University unilaterally telling them what their pension will or will not be.”
“After decades of hard work and paying into the pension plan, the dedicated people who make U of S work need to know that they can count on their pension in retirement,” said Hannah. “It is imperative that we fight to strengthen the pension language in our collective agreement, so we can continue to have a voice in changes to our pension plan.”
CUPE 1975 represents 1900 members who work at the University of Saskatchewan in a variety of non-academic positions.
For those members interested and did not receive a copy of the application
or brochure from the Sargeant at Arms at the AGM Oct. 23, 2018, please see link to the Saskatchewan 2019 Winter School. Up to 9 members will be chosen and deadline is Nov. 9th for submission. In the event of job action for CUPE 1975 during these dates – Winter school will be cancelled for our members.
Also link to the application form that must be submitted to CUPE 1975
(The Education Committee will go through the applications and people chosen to go will be notified)