"No-board" report issued in Queen's-QUFA negotiations
Ontario’s Ministry of Labour has advised Queen’s that a “no-board” report was issued Friday July 29.
This means QUFA will be in a legal strike position, and the university will be in a legal lockout position at 12:01 am on Monday August 15, which is the 17th day after the date of the “no-board." The QUFA contract expired April 30, 2011 and negotiations on a new agreement have been underway since January.
“A strike or lockout will not necessarily occur on August 15 or after that,” says Associate Vice-Principal (Faculty Relations) Dan Bradshaw. “Mediation is expected to begin August 11 and talks can continue beyond the legal deadline. The university respects the collective bargaining process and we are entering mediation looking to reach a negotiated settlement with QUFA.”
The university applied for the “no-board” on July 25 because the administration wants the negotiations resolved before the start of the new academic year.
Another reason the university is moving the process forward is because August 31 is a critical date relating to the Queen’s Pension Plan – a key issue in the talks.
August 31 is the date of the plan’s next valuation, when actuaries take a financial “snapshot” and determine what additional contributions the university will be required, by law, to make over the next three years.
“These additional contributions are required to bridge the gap between what the plan has in it and what provincial law says must be in it,” says Mr. Bradshaw. “The larger the required contributions, the greater the impact on the university’s operating budget. Discussions about changes to the plan have been ongoing since 2005 and it’s time to move forward.”
Should changes be made to the plan sometime after August 31, the university can file what’s called an “interim cost certificate” or “interim valuation report.” While this would reduce the university’s payment requirements on a go-forward basis, the reduction wouldn’t be retroactive, so any reductions that could have been achieved starting August 31 would be lost. The longer it takes to address the plan’s underlying structural problems, the worse off the plan will be at the next valuation in 2014, and the larger the long-term impact on Queen’s operating budget, which is already in deficit.
Regular updates and information on all labour relations activities at Queen’s can be found at http://queensu.ca/labournews.