Bargaining

Please check this page regularly for updates, requests for participation, and meeting announcements.

august 2015 update

The tentative agreement has been distributed by email to the members of Local 77. If you did not receive this email, please contact nsgeu77@dal.ca.

We have arranged the following Information Sessions where Robin MacLean, NSGEU Executive Director, and Darryl Warren, Employee Relations Officer, along with your Bargaining Committee will be present to review the tentative agreement with you in detail. [Please see email sent from NSGEU for copies of the tentative agreeement. If you did not receive such email, please contact

The Information Sessions give you an opportunity to ask any questions or voice any concerns you may have and to vote.

Please make every effort to attend any one of these information sessions and vote on this tentative agreement.

DALHOUSIE CAMPUS, Halifax

Date: Thursday, August 13, 2015
Place: Kenneth C. Rowe Management Building (6100 University Ave), Room 1028
Times:

  • 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
  • 12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
  • 4:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.

DALHOUSIE AGRICULTURAL COLLEGE, Truo

Date: Friday, August 14, 2015
Place: Cox Institute, Rm 24, 21 Cox Rd. Bible Hill
Time: 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Your Bargaining Committee would like to thank you for your solidarity and continued support throughout these negotiations and look forward to seeing you at one of the Information Sessions.

Employer's 35 hour work week proposal

We want your feedback on the employer's 35 hour work week proposal. See the details and the email address to send your feedback below.

SUMMARY OF THE "35 HOUR WORK WEEK" PROPOSAL ISSUE
The employer has proposed language for the next collective agreement that would allow a manager and employee to mutually agree to increase the employee's hours from 32.5 to 35. The Union wants its members to get paid more money but are concerned the benefit will only be applied primarily to new hires, unfairly and infrequently to existing members, and/or increase a gender equity gap in pay for fields predominantly held by men and women (technology versus clerical) or even for people doing the same positions. We want your feedback, after reading our concerns below, about this proposed change.

BACKGROUND
During our last round of bargaining (2012) the employer tabled a proposal that would allow a member of Local 77 to negotiate a longer work week with their supervisor. It would have hinged on mutual agreement and, of course, the member would get paid extra for working longer hours. At that time the bargaining team presented a number of concerns about the language and eventually compromised on striking a committee to discuss the matter during the life of the contract. At a Local General Meeting, shortly after we ratified our last agreement, a number of members volunteered to sit on that committee to represent the Local. The committee never met. We did inform the Employer that we had representatives ready but we were told that because of budget constraints that it was no longer a priority and they chose to never call the committee together.

EMPLOYER'S NEW REQUEST
During this current round of bargaining, the Employer tabled similar language and have identified it as their number one priority. The bargaining team presented the same concerns this time (see below), but the employer is no longer interested in following through on that committee to discuss our issues. The Employer has indicated that they received "overwhelming" feedback from managers with regard to extending members hours of work from 32.5 to 35 but the Employer is unable to give us any actual numbers or any specific areas that have an interest besides Information Technology. The language they tabled would again allow the extension of hours on mutual agreement between the member and their supervisor.

OUR CONCERNS
The bargaining team has several concerns about adopting this language:

  • The recent Budget Advisory Report indicates a 2% decrease in budgets for next year.
    It seems counter-intuitive that shrinking budgets would allow for increased hours unless those hours are already being paid to members in the form of over-time. The concern is that if a member currently has to work over-time in order to get their work done that this language could be used to pressure members to switch over-time for straight-time. If a particular department does not have enough staff hours available to get work done without over-time or without this language, perhaps a review of their numbers and more staff is the answer instead of staff working longer hours.

  • Assuming the need is only where the Employer has indicated (Information Technology), this leaves the rest of the membership with unrealistic expectations.
    If there is language in the Contract that would allow them to get paid more but they can not access it, it would frustrate members. Perhaps you could broach the subject with your supervisor to get a realistic sense of whether this language is a benefit you could enjoy. If the language is intended to be used in such a narrow scope, then it is possible for the Employer and the Union to agree on a case by case basis to extend the work week, a solution that has worked in the past. If hours of work is a problem in a specific area we don't think the answer is to agree to language that could frustrate members in all the other areas. Information Technology is also a predominantly male department and there is a concern that women across campus would benefit less with this arrangement.

  • Who gets to increase their hours once a need is identified?
    If three members are all doing the "same" job within a department and want to increase their hours but there is only money for one or two of those members to go to 35 hours a week, how do you determine who gets the increase? The Union suggested seniority should be the deciding factor, but the Employer disagreed. The Union would be concerned that this benefit could be subject to favoritism. They have stressed that the entire campus will not be on 35hrs a week "in our lifetime" and have rejected suggestions we start with specific departments or classifications.

  • The Employer wants this as a recruitment tool.
    Related to the above concern, the Employer has said repeatedly that they want this language in the agreement as a recruitment tool. They have indicated that Dal's hourly rates are competitive but the published salaries are not because of the 32.5 hour work week. While they have said they are agreeable to avoid posting positions of 35 hours a week until the current members doing the same work in the department have an opportunity to decline the increase in hours for themselves, a problem arises from the word "same." It doesn't take much difference in duties to classify two jobs as "not the same," thereby limiting current members' access to the extended work week and giving the benefit to new hires.

  • The language is divisive.
    There will be members (many according to the bargaining survey) who want to work the extra time and will be disappointed when their manager says no. There are members who will not want to work the extra time (we've heard from them) and will feel pressured when their supervisor suggests it would be beneficial to the department. Having the right to decline your supervisor's request is not always a good thing. Members fear repercussions for not being a "team player". Nonunion work places decide to become unionized for a number of reasons and inconsistent hours of work is high on that list. NSGEU has direct experience with other work places where there is or was an inconsistent work week within the same group or classification and it has caused resentment amongst the members. Although it is more of a philosophical argument, the idea that a unionized work place, currently with a consistent work week, would want to insert language into the Collective Agreement that would change that is contrary to the tenants of the Union. It could certainly be argued that your Union should support any language that will put more money in members' pockets. We are aware this may be the position of members regardless of the issues we've outlined, which is why we've decided to bring it forward for more discussion with the membership.

WE WANT YOUR FEEDBACK
The bargaining team is looking for feedback from the membership. This proposal was brought up at our last General Meeting and after discussing the issues, we a had pretty clear message that the members understood the concerns. The vast majority did not support the language as it stood. They're asking us to agree to inserting language into the Collective Agreement without having any idea as to the scope of its affect on the membership. We are confident that the majority of members would prefer to make more money and bumping their work week up by 2.5 hours would certainly do that. However, it is unknown how many members would actually benefit from this language and how fairly it would be applied.

If you have an opinion (pro or con) when it comes to the Employer's proposal to allow a manager and employee to increase the employee's hours of work, please let us know by sending an email to nsgeu77@dal.ca.

april 2015 update

We have not yet scheduled more dates for the month of April. We had more negotiations on March 24th, 25th, and 26th. NSGEU will provide an update soon on the details of any further discussions.

march 2015 update

We continued negotiations March 5th, 11th, and 12th. We have not discussed any monetary changes of the collective agreement with the employer to date. Most non-monetary issues have been discussed with the employer with agreement on many of them. Further updates will be provided at the March 10th meeting.

Should you have any questions, please contact any member of your Bargaining Committee, or attend any upcoming Local meetings where regular reports will be provided.

January 2015 update

Your Bargaining Committee exchanged proposals with the employer on Oct. 27, 2014. Negotiations continued for either half or full days on Nov. 13, 27, Dec 2, 11, 17, and January 20, 22 and 26, 2015. Further dates will be scheduled for February.

Your Bargaining Committee has discussed most of the proposed non-monetary language changes with the employer and reached agreement on some changes.

In November, the union tabled its proposal on reducing the wage gap between the C3, C4 and C5 classification pay grades as well as between LA2 and LA3, and between T7 and T8. The union also proposed a new T11 classification pay grade.

Negotiation sessions have been productive to date although we have not yet received the employer's monetary proposal.

october 2014 update

Your Bargaining Committee exchanged proposals with the employer's Bargaining Committee on Oct. 27, 2014. Negotiation sessions, either half or full days, are scheduled for Nov. 13, Nov. 27, Dec. 2, Dec. 11, Dec. 16, and Dec. 17.

Your Contract Support Committee thanks all those who completed the online bargaining survey. Your responses provided important information and feedback that was used by the Bargaining Committee in preparing the bargaining proposals.

Please see the complete Local 77 bargaining proposals (and outline) tabled on Oct. 27, 2014.

The proposals include many important changes such as: increasing the opportunity for laid off members to be redeployed by expanding their right to vacancies; adding a displacement process; increasing redeployment/recall rights; improvements to various paid leave provisions such as vacation, and family illness and bereavement. We also tabled language to improve members' rights to apply for term positions and to ensure they do not go on the redeployment list if they do not pass their trial period in a new position.

Should you have any questions, please contact any member of your bargaining committee (see below), or attend any upcoming Local meetings where regular reports will be provided (next scheduled one is December 18th).

members of the NSGEU Local 77 bargaining committee

In June of 2014, the Contract Support Committee has elected the members of the Bargaining Committee. The Bargaining Committee represents Local 77 members during contract negotiation with Dalhousie University. The committee includes two clerical/administrative positions and two technical positions as well as one of NSGEU's Employee Relations Officer: