University-union meetings underway
Mediation/arbitration talks have begun in an effort to resolve outstanding issues from last March’s vote by university staff on whether or not they will unionize.
The description and membership of the United Steelworkers Union bargaining unit, should it be formed, will be discussed in a series of meetings that began in late September and are scheduled to continue into November.
“We are working collaboratively with union representatives,” says Al Orth, Acting Associate V-P (Human Resources), who is at the table for Queen’s. “There are a significant number of ballots, of those cast, that may or may not be counted, depending on the outcome of our discussions about the composition of the bargaining unit. We hope to come to an agreement within the next few months so we can move forward, either with the union or with the staff association.”
The Steelworkers Union applied to represent the general staff group; the University believes the appropriate bargaining unit also includes the Research, Contract and Grant staff, who, for over 20 years, have been covered by common HR policies, benefits programs and salary structures.
The result of the talks would be binding on both the University and the union.
The University has also started to negotiate a first contract with the Ontario Nursing Association for the 10 registered nurses in the Queen’s Family Health Team.
Meetings have yet to be scheduled between the university and representatives of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, who will be representing the Team’s nine allied health professionals, who include dieticians, pharmacists, social workers and registered practical nurses.
Negotiations for a first collective agreement will begin next month between the University and the Public Service Alliance of Canada, which certified graduate Teaching Assistants and Teaching Fellows last spring.