USW application, Bill 16 impact staff compensation
The ongoing staff union-certification process and new provincial legislation (Bill 16) aimed at freezing public sector wages for two years will affect staff salaries and benefits for Queen’s employees.
“These are complicated issues and I expect that discussions with the United Steel Workers Union (USW) that lead to a final vote count will help clarify the situation,” says Rod Morrison, Vice-Principal (Human Resources). “We also expect further information from the Ontario government about Bill 16.”
United Steel Workers Union (USW)
The current compensation agreement between the University and the Queen’s University Staff Association (QUSA), expires June 30. However, the terms of the agreement will remain the same and compensation will not change while issues arising from the certification application brought by USW earlier this year are being resolved. This means there will be no salary increases (step or scale) or changes to employee benefits.
If a bargaining unit is certified, new terms negotiated and ratified by the University and USW as part of the first collective agreement would take effect. If the final vote results reject unionization, the University would continue to work with QUSA to finalize a compensation agreement for general staff.
It will likely be fall before the outstanding issues between the University and USW are resolved and a final vote count can take place.
“In the interim, the existing compensation agreement for general staff can’t be changed,” adds V-P Morrison. “We couldn’t make changes unless we had agreed to them before the union applied for certification or it was our past practice to make changes to the contract without consulting QUSA. This is not the case.”
In addition, a new provincial law is now in effect that immediately freezes compensation for everyone not covered by collective agreements. Compensation for employees who are not covered by a collective agreement will be decided in accordance with this law. Read MTCU memo. The government also expects new agreements with bargaining units and those who bargain or discuss compensation collectively will contain no net compensation increases for two years.
The University will be negotiating with all employee groups in this context.