Hello. On behalf of the Saskatchewan Association of University Teachers (SAUT), the St Thomas More Faculty Union and the University of Saskatchewan Faculty Association, I would like to extend an invitation to you and your members to attend a pre-election forum on the issue of post-secondary education in Saskatchewan.
On Feb 4, 2016 ASPA and the University of Saskatchewan reached a tentative agreement. The ASPA bargaining team is recommending ratification of the agreement.
ASPA BARGAINING TIMELINE
July 28th and 29th – Mediation
August 4th – Mediation
September 23rd and 24th – Mediation
September 24th – The employer provided ASPA with an offer. The offer was noted as being “without prejudice and without precedent”. ASPA began to counter the employer’s offer but were unable to articulate it completely as the employer interrupted and advised us without prior written notice that the offer on the table was now a final offer from the University. Mediation had broken off and the parties began their fourteen (14) day cooling off period.
October 1st – The employer provided ASPA with a draft of the collective agreement on Thursday at 4:27pm and we were advised that this was going to be placed on their website early the following week. The draft contained items that had not been agreed to or discussed previously. ASPA requested that the University refrain from posting the draft agreement until it could be reviewed by ASPA. ASPA was advised that they were posting it anyway.
October 5th – October 9th – ASPA held information sessions with its members.
October 9th – ASPA received a letter from the University’s chief negotiator Greg Trew. The letter advised ASPA that the employer was expecting them to take the offer to the membership for a vote. There is no obligation for ASPA to do so. The letter also offered to meet with only the ASPA President, Dawn Giesbrecht as a one on one dialogue.
October 20th – ASPA responded to the employer, advising them that we were consulting with our members and would provide them with a response in due course.
October 23rd – ASPA posted the power point presentation on the ASPA website
October 26th – ASPA held a rally in the bowl, welcoming President Stoicheff to his new role and asking for him to be a catalyst for positive change on campus. We also delivered a letter to the President asking him to have his bargaining team come back to the table so that we may have the rest of the counter proposal heard by the employer. (View letter) At the end of the day, ASPA received a faxed letter from the employer’s Chief Negotiator, Greg Trew suggesting that ASPA had engaged in an unfair labour practice and that we were bargaining in bad faith because we had communicated a monetary bargaining position with our members prior to providing this information to the employer. ASPA had begun to share this offer with the employer back on September 24th, but was unable to complete the full counter-proposal because the University decided to walk away from the table during our presentation. ASPA has not committed an unfair labour practice.
October 28th, – ASPA received a letter from President Stoicheff (View Letter). ASPA responded to Mr. Trew and offered to have the parties meet so that negotiations could continue. We offered a number of dates in which we were available to meet with the University. ASPA wanted to have the chance to actually be heard by the employer’s bargaining team and were hopeful that discussions could continue. The employer however was not interested in bringing together the full bargaining teams again contrary to statements that seem to indicate they were willing. (View Article)
October 29 –November 7– ASPA conducted a survey of its members.
November 18th – ASPA provided a letter to Mr. Trew advising him that we had done a survey of our members and that 71% of our members had rejected the employer’s proposal and therefore we were not taking the employer’s proposal to a formal vote. ASPA once again offered to meet with the University bargaining team and if the University was still unwilling to meet with the full team then ASPA’s Co -Chief Negotiators would be prepared to meet with a single representative of the University.
November 19th – The Chief Negotiator for the University provided ASPA with a letter saying that they have no need to meet with the bargaining committee. He further suggested that bargaining had concluded but offered to “find a basis for further discussion” as a one-on-one with the Chief Negotiator for ASPA. Dates were provided.
December 10th – Ken Glover and Jim Coller (ASPA Co-Chief Negotiators) met with Greg Trew the Chief Negotiator for the University. The parties discussed ways to move forward. The parties will review the results of the conversation and will provide feedback in January.
Rally in the Bowl video excerpts and commentary.
ASPA President Dawn Giesbrecht
ASPA negotiator Ken Glover
CUPE President Wayne Foley
Reactions from Faculty Association and ASPA members
From Ken Glover:
Hello, I am Ken Glover, a University employee since 1992, 7 year ASPA volunteer, a past ASPA president, and co-lead negotiator for the ASPA bargaining team.
As an ASPA executive member, I had the privilege of sitting with people when they were laid off a few years ago. From my own experience and those of the other ASPA volunteers, I heard how a number of people were first concerned about the students they work with, their co-workers, and the programs they were being forced to leave behind. “What will happen to them?” was almost always asked.
Right now, there are a lot of dedicated and passionate people working at the university doing jobs they believe in and take ownership for the outcomes of. The direction the senior leadership at this institution has been taking is to take advantage of those people by heaping upon them increased workloads, less thanks, and less acknowledgement.
At the bargaining table we are told that our members stay too long in their jobs (like that is a bad thing), that staff turnover is too low (when most companies are striving for a low staff turnover), and then using those as reasons to claw back benefits and offer no wage increases for 2 years of a 4 year agreement.
We were also told that the university has money, but not for ASPA members. Most employees don’t get to personally experience this kind of truth about how we are thought of by the “leadership” of this institution. As ASPA President, I got to learn a lot about how senior leadership thinks about the employees, and in bargaining we get a lot more of that kind of abusive relationship building. When the ASPA bargaining team suggested interest based bargaining, where we can talk about the challenges we face together, and come up with some creative ways to address those challenges, the University’s team accused us of using this style of bargaining as a way not change anything and came back with their positional agenda and bullying attitude.
I have heard that our new University President, Peter Stoicheff, is a man who walks the talk. When he says he wants to build relationships and have an engaged and enthusiastic workforce, he means it. I would like to invite President Stoicheff to charge his bargaining team to live his vision and come back to the table to negotiate with mutual respect for all the employees on campus.
The story about our rally starts at 6 minutes into the clip.