Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 4207 - Unit 3, representing Instructors in English as a Second Language Services at Brock University, signed a tentative agreement with their employer on February 15. The union ratified the tentative agreement on February 28.
The Brock Board of Trustees met to vote on ratification on March 12. However, the Board failed to provide a clear answer about the outcome of the vote. In a message to the union that evening, the employer stated that the Board voted to ratify the tentative agreement subject to changes dictated by the employer. This is a clear violation of the ratification process, as outlined in the Ontario Labour Relations Act.
When repeatedly asked about the status of ratification, the university has refused to provide any clarification. The union was informed that it could expect an answer to that question on the morning of March 21, after the employer had consulted with its principals. Clarification was not provided.
“The Brock administration clearly has no respect for the law, for the bargaining process, and has no respect for the union or employees at the university,” said Dan Crow, president of the union.
“How can we be expected to trust an employer that refuses to live up to an agreement that it has signed? How can we trust an employer that refuses to let us know if they have ratified a tentative agreement? We are now in a position where we have to explore all possible options to get the employer to actually abide by commitments it has made.”
The union is potentially in a legal strike position, which could mean that picket lines go up at Brock at any time now.
“We ratified the agreement. We expected that we would be able to continue to provide high quality services to students. We expected that the members would have the improvements to job security, and improved working conditions that we negotiated for them – and for which we had tentative agreement with the employer. Why the administration would act in such an arrogant and duplicitous way is a mystery to all of us,” said Crow.
For further information, please contact:
Dan Crow, President, CUPE Local 4207 - Unit 3 (905) 931-8007
Wendy Forbes, CUPE Communications (416) 292-3999