2014 Collective Bargaining Update #2

Dear Members,

I want to provide you with a brief update on collective bargaining.

AAPS and UBC began bargaining on June 11. The parties have a number of dates scheduled for bargaining in July. Unfortunately the University is unavailable for bargaining this summer after July 21. There are a number of dates now scheduled for September and October.

The current Collective Agreement between UBC and AAPS expires on June 30. However, please be advised that all terms and conditions of the current Agreement remain in place until the parties ratify a new deal. This includes the Professional Development Fund which will continue to operate as usual through bargaining. It is also important to note that any wage increases reached in the new agreement would be retroactive to July 1, 2014.

When the two sides met on June 11, a series of proposals were exchanged. AAPS tabled a number of proposals including:  changes to Article 9 and the University’s right to terminate without cause, greater assistance for terminated employees in finding new employment, and an expanded SEB plan for birth mothers, birth fathers (partners), and adoptive parents during the parental leave.

Article 9 continues to be a difficult conversation in bargaining as the University continues to refuse to engage in any serious dialogue about tying the right to terminate for reasons of ‘fit and suitability’ to performance reviews. AAPS has tabled a number of modest proposals in past rounds of bargaining that would tie the right to terminate for fit and suitability to the provisions for performance management set out in Article 6. We have seen an increase in terminations for fit and suitability and several members recently terminated for ‘fit and suitability’ had regularly been receiving 3% merit in recognition of outstanding service in the years prior to their dismissal. The average years of service for those terminated for lack of ‘fit and suitability’ is 7 years. Regrettably UBC has not been receptive to any proposal that tethers a commitment to performance management to its right to terminate without cause. We will continue to work through these difficult issues and foreground the corrosive effect that terminations for ‘fit and suitability’ have on all of our members.

Both sides have agreed to deal with non-monetary issues prior to tabling General Wage Increase (GWI) proposals. Bargaining between AAPS and UBC falls within the parameters of the Public Sector Employers’ Council (PSEC). AAPS has prepared a monetary proposal that factors in inflation as well as UBC’s nearly 20 year old commitment to compensate our members at the 50th percentile of a comparator market. UBC has signaled that any monetary offer it tables will be within PSEC’s Economic Stability mandate. That mandate has seen wage settlements across the public sector cumulatively totaling 5.5% over 5 years.

While AAPS is committed to a reaching a deal that is fair for our members and sustainable for UBC, the discussions in bargaining thus far have been difficult and weighed down by the ongoing challenges in the relationship.

Further bargaining updates will be issued as we move through the process and all members will be eligible to vote on ratification of any deal reached at the bargaining table. Member information sessions will be scheduled prior to any vote on a new agreement.

Best wishes for a safe and fulfilling summer.

Michael Conlon, Chief Negotiator