WLUFA/CAS Newsletter, 2010-11, Issue 8
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Conciliation fails to achieve CAS contract agreement
1. WLUFA met with the University in conciliation on three separate occasions during the month of April. Both parties worked hard to reduce the negotiating agenda in order to focus on the main outstanding issues of access to employment and compensation.
2. For WLUFA, the question of access to employment for our Members took the form of a continuing appointment.
3. In response to the University’s rejection of any expansion of the existing course-based seniority provisions, WLUFA tabled a new proposal for an ongoing position based on the demonstrated teaching needs of the University. In order to move negotiations on this issue to a successful conclusion, the Association Executive Committee agreed to exempt a limited number of courses from the count of those that can be taught outside the full-time Bargaining Unit.
4. For its part, the University retained its proposal for a continuing appointment. This provided no guarantee of respect for the existing seniority provisions in the Agreement.
5. As well, the establishment of continuing appointments and the selection of instructors to fill them remained entirely at the discretion of the University.
6. As such, this proposal provided no advantage over Members’ current access to limited-term appointments and provided considerably less in terms of compensation and benefits.
7. With regard to compensation, WLUFA communicated its willingness to accept the University’s offer of 2% on scale in each of three years. However, the University rejected attempts to establish two additional steps on the current two-step experience grid.
9. During the course of conciliation, WLUFA requested that the University provide costing of its most recent proposals, but the University refused on the grounds that the cost of their proposals is not relevant to these negotiations.
10. The University has not justified its position by evidence of an ability to pay, which in fact it could not substantiate, but instead simply opposes reasonable improvements in CAS compensation and working conditions as a matter of policy.
13. Currently, the Agreement provides a two-step experience grid with a non-seniority and a seniority rate of pay. WLUFA recognizes the $120 difference in these rates and proposed that the rate remain constant for additional steps.
14. The additional cost of adding a third step in the second year and a fourth step in the last year of the agreement is approximately $80,000 in total.
15. The cost of funding a health-care spending account, and therefore the difference between the Parties on this issue, is $160,000 in each of the second and third years of the Agreement.
16. Class sizes have increased by an average of 10 students since our last Collective Agreement.
17. This means that the work of our Bargaining Unit is contributing additional revenue to the University in the vicinity of 17 million dollars. The total cost of the difference between the Parties in these negotiations is 3% of that increase.
18. Given the difference between the positions, it is WLUFA’s belief that mediation/arbitration is the best way to achieve an agreement and has proposed this avenue to the University.
7. While the government would like the University to table a proposal that provides no increases in the first two years of the collective agreement, the University has chosen not to do so.
The institution has been attempting to move these negotiations forward by tabling what is strongly believed to be a realistic settlement having regard to Laurier’s financial circumstances and the sector settlements.
The last formal offer that WLUFA received from the University was for 1.5% per year. No offer of 2% was made by the University. The Conciliation Officer advised WLUFA that he believed a settlement could be reached at 2% per year but the University never made such an offer. Comments made by the Conciliation Officer are privileged and not to be repeated outside of the conciliation process. WLUFA’s disclosure of such comments does not respect this process.
9. The University provided WLUFA with detailed costing information on April 7, 2011.
11. This figure reflects a misrepresentation of the total payroll costs of the WLUFA proposal. The University estimates that the additional payroll cost of the WLUFA proposal would be much higher than WLUFA's figure in the first year - and a 10-12 per cent increase in total compensation over three years.