CUPE 3906 Postdoctoral Fellows Bargaining Blog

April 18, 2009

Bargaining Bulletin #5 – April 17 Update

Filed under: Bargaining Bulletins,CUPE 3906,Uncategorized,Updates — CUPE 3906 - McMaster University @ 10:29 pm

Bargaining Bulletin #5April 17 Update

April 17, 2009, saw the university administration and the union representing Post-Doctoral Fellows at McMaster University making important progress on non-monetary items, but in a continuing stalemate regarding wages, benefits and professional development supports.

Union Movement

The day saw movement on both sides, with the Union tabling modified academic freedom protections, and moving substantially on monetary items, proposing a package that includes a total compensation increase of less than 6%, including:

* a 2% wage increase (less than the university sector average of 3%)

* an employer contribution of 50% of the dental plan premium (as opposed to 100% provided at all other staff)

* a 2% RRSP contribution (as opposed to the larger contribution to pensions provided to all other staff)

* a small guarantee of $500/year for professional development support (much less than afforded to Faculty)

Employer Movement

The Employer provided meaningful language pertaining to hours of work and the job postings protocol, but retained their position of a o.o% increase to total compensation over 3 years.

Update on Remuneration

The Union had previously reported that on April 6 the Employer signaled willingness  to seek a greater monetary mandate from their principals.  We regret to inform members and supporters that they have clarified their position.  They have asked that we confirm their position that, while any increase in compensation and benefits beyond the proposed 0.0% increase over 3 years would require that they “ask” for a modified monetary mandate, they have NOT committed to “seek” such a mandate.

Next Steps

The Union’s bargaining team has made it clear, based on ongoing guidance from the Post-Doctoral Fellows we represent at the bargaining table, that we CANNOT accept a contract that freezes wages and benefits at unacceptable levels for the next 3 years.   As such, while further monetary movement may be possible depending on the will of the membership, the monetary package offered by the Union on April 17 will NOT be reduced until the Employer has provided a monetary package that at least keeps pace with inflation and the increases afforded to other McMaster staff.

Bargaining dates have been set for April 29 and May 5, 2009, and the progress on these days will indicate whether any further negotiations will be possible in the absence of a government-appointed conciliation officer.

Should a meaningful proposal be tabled by the Employer in the coming weeks, the planned end of May deadline for negotiations may still be possible.   Otherwise, negotiations will continue through the Summer, with the assistance of the Ministry of Labour, and the Union will call together members to consider all available options.

Watch this blog for updates as they unfold.

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