Both Laurentian Administration and LUFA (Laurentian University Faculty Association) have been working hard to arrive at a renewal collective agreement. The parties met for 8 days in May through June. LUFA’s bargaining team cancelled six days of bargaining in June. Negotiations resumed in August and September. The parties have met for 12 days of face-to-face bargaining so far.
By point of reference, in 2014, the parties met for approximately 36 days of face-to-face bargaining ultimately concluding in mediation on September 29, 2014, before arriving at a renewed collective agreement.
What’s the latest?
On Thursday, September 7th, the Union notified us that they “will be initiating job action prior to October 2nd”. We have been advised by the conciliator appointed by the Ministry of Labour that the earliest date they will be in a legal strike position is 12:01am on September 28. Prior to initiating a strike, a strike vote must have been conducted and more than 50% of those voting must vote in favour of a strike.
What’s the status of discussions at the table?
Discussions remain very professional and respectful however there are still numerous issues on both sides that have yet to be discussed at the table. The parties have not reached an impasse and we continue to make progress.
The parties have agreed to multiple days of face-to-face bargaining at the end of September and continue to explore additional dates. The University has also indicated its availability on several additional dates through to mid-October.
What about mediation?
Both parties agreed to mediation, scheduled for October 5th.
As of today, there are still a number complex, outstanding proposals, and more than 20 issues which have yet to be tabled.
The Union went ahead without the University’s agreement and booked a second and third day of mediation for September 15 and 24.
Given the matters which still need to be addressed, the university declined mediation on the 15th but accepted the 24th in order to reduce the number of issues for mediation by creating time for face-to-face bargaining.
This is not a process we want to rush, it’s important to get it right.
Despite the Union’s notice of job action, the University will continue a collegial process of discussions at the table and will continue to strive for an agreement that meets the needs of the University and of our faculty.
What should the students know?
In the case of a strike, classes will be suspended temporarily. For now, it’s business as usual and students should concentrate on their studies.