Bargaining 2019: Report from the Bargaining Coordination Committee
The Bargaining Coordination Committee (BCC) met on 28 September in Vancouver followed by a bargaining workshop on the following Saturday. The consensus by the participants at both meeting was a cautious optimism. The Federation of Post-Secondary Educators (FPSE) President George Davison reported to the locals that there was an encouraging feeling when he met with the Premier’s Chief of Staff on FPSE concerns on the issue of Secondary Scales. When President Davison opened with the observation that there was a systemic problem with lower pay for sessionals that would cost 65 million dollars to fix, “They did not blink,” George reported to BCC. The government was clearly aware of post-secondary issues and appeared ready to deal with union concerns.
The Secondary Scales issues has been the focus of locals going back to an earlier Letter of Understanding #5 by the eight Common Table signatories to work with local management to cost the proposal. Since opening this initiative, the locals have proposed that a separate table be set up to negotiate the removals of Secondary Scales. The concern is that if this issue is not dealt with separately, management will direct locals to pay for the request through the government mandate money.
To date, three unions have ratified agreements with the provincial government where the mandate accepted has been a three-year contract at 2% per year. Given that the posted Cost of Living increase is over 2%, the mandate per year money is no great increase for the union member. Where unions hope to improve is the “pot of money” set aside for local issues that have been underfunded and need catch up money. This last area is where most of the action will likely take place in local bargaining and will require detailed attention by our local 2 bargaining team in the weeks ahead.
At this writing, we have identified our bargaining team at about a dozen members from all areas of the university and they will take the required FPSE bargaining workshop in mid-October. We are in the process of completing out School visits and are finalizing our online survey for the membership, which will come out in November.
The theme of this bargaining round from FPSE is “Mobilizing Our Power” with the locals agreeing to work together to pass on information to each other as they work through the bargaining process. I encourage our members of local 2 to get involved in seeking gains for our union by attending School visits and communicating with our bargaining team your thoughts and ideas.
In solidarity with cautious optimism,