September 4, 2007
Report to the membership – 3rd round of Bargaining.
We met with the employer on Tuesday August 28th, expecting the them to bring a comprehensive monetary package forward. They took the position that this would be impossible without a thorough discussion regarding the Retiree Benefit Plan, as we had made it clear to them during the last meetings that making improvements to the plan would be an important part of our new contract.
On Tuesday and Wednesday we made significant progress on other items. We have essentially cleared all the non-monetary items from the agenda and made progress on several of the smaller monetary demands. We were successful in reaching agreements on many of the leave-related Articles, including 21.02, 21.11, 21.21, 22.01 (bereavement, family related, religious, National Aboriginal Day) as well two new articles – sick leave reinstatement for term employees and membership in professional associations. We also spent considerable time discussing overtime-related issues, explored alternate options with regards to the Recreation Allowance – which is currently a taxable benefit, and made headway on our proposal regarding the CULE Solidarity Fund.
We also obtained commitments from the employer to address some of our concerns around Health & Safety and the scheduling and standardization of the Education Program.
The employer scheduled a long joint meeting with Coughlin & Associates on Thursday, where we were given an overview of the Retiree Benefit Plan – it’s history, current financial situation, and future prospects. After the meeting we met with them alone and discussed our various options. We then felt we were in a good position to make our demands regarding the Plan clear.
We met with the employer until noon on Friday, where we outlined our proposals regarding additional funding and the length of the plan. After a lengthy discussion, the employer feels they are now ready to table a position on the remaining major issues.
We feel that although the pace of negotiations has been slow, progress has been made. Our next set of meetings is scheduled for September 27,28,29 and we look forward to seeing what direction our negotiations will take.
Your Bargaining Team.