POSTED ON July 02, 2014
The Employer Has Filed for Conciliation

Despite CUPE 2626’s best efforts to reach an agreement with the University (the Employer) regarding a new collective agreement, the Employer announced to CUPE 2626 on June 30 that they had filed for conciliation.

As you know, since last fall, CUPE 2626 has been busy working to reach an agreement with the Employer. We are committed to getting a deal that benefits you, our members. At this point, it would seem that the University is more eager to put an end to this round of bargaining and ask for conciliation than it is interested in working toward a fair deal for the academic workers without whom research, exams and seminars would slow to a crawl.

What is conciliation?

Conciliation is a process established by the Ontario Labour Relations Act to attempt to resolve collective bargaining impasses. Conciliation can be requested by either the Employer or CUPE 2626. Once requested, the Minister of Labour, through the Labour Relations Board, appoints one of its Conciliation Officers to attempt to mediate between the parties.

It is important to note that while the process is mandatory, the Officer’s recommendations to the parties aren’t binding. Ultimately, it’s up to the parties to accept or ignore them. The Conciliation Officer continues to work for a settlement as long as both parties are willing to move.

What happens if conciliation fails?

A ‘No Board’ report is issued in the case that conciliation fails. Where a Conciliation Officer concludes that a Union and an Employer are unready to reach agreement, the Officer may recommend that the Minister of Labour issue a notice to the parties that the conciliation process will end, without invoking a Conciliation Board. Essentially, the fact that the Conciliation Officer has the power to make this recommendation is what puts pressure on the parties to settle in conciliation.

Following release of the notice plus 17 days, the collective agreement ceases to operate. In other words, CUPE 2626 would then be in a legal strike position and the Employer can legally alter the terms and conditions of work and lock out the bargaining unit.

What happens next?

At this point, we are waiting for a Conciliation Officer to be appointed. We will be issuing updates in the coming days and weeks as we move through the conciliation process. Should you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us by email or to come see us in person (UCU 303, 85 University Private).