Queen’s college members are ready to strike if negotiations with a conciliator in January do not bridge the hole between the 2 sides.
QUFA, the union representing college, libraries, and archivists at Queen’s, introduced on Wednesday that 82% of 1,077 voting members have been in help of strike motion.
Whereas the vote means an unsuccessful spherical of bargaining with a conciliator might see all QUFA members placing a while in February, each side are looking forward to a decision subsequent month and QUFA President Jordan Morelli mentioned he is “cautiously optimistic” because the bargaining groups set their sights on the assembly with a conciliator.
Provost and Vice-Principal Dr. Teri Shearer, the college’s chief funds and working officer, says the college’s bargaining workforce are hopeful to succeed in a good deal for each side, and identified that the bargaining groups have traditionally come collectively to honest agreements.
“I am very optimistic,” Dr. Shearer mentioned.
“I really feel like QUFA and Queen’s have a historical past behind us of working collectively to advance the wellbeing of our college students and I am assured we will carry that historical past of fine relationships and mutual respect to the desk with the conciliator and attain a negotiated settlement.”
Dr. Shearer mentioned the college needs it to be clear that they respect and recognize the contributions made by QUFA members, calling them the “frontline staff” of Queen’s pupil expertise.
She mentioned whereas the allegations of being disrespectful all through the bargaining have been made by the QUFA workforce, that is not the case.
“I do not know what to say about that,” Dr. Shearer mentioned.
“It is definitely very removed from the reality.”
QUFA has mentioned that the college workforce has not been prepared to meaningfully have interaction on the desk, resulting in the union deciding to forego mediation deliberate between the 2 sides in December and as an alternative put together for conciliation facilitated by the Ministry of Labour.
President Jordan Morelli says the priorities for QUFA have not modified all through negotiations, and that whereas they hope to keep away from strike motion, the overwhelming vote in favour reveals members nonetheless think about the identical issues as essential as ever.
“We clearly do not need to strike we need to be on the bargaining desk and dealing collaboratively with the college to barter a good collective settlement,” Morelli mentioned.
“However they’ve to come back to the desk prepared to try this… our members are strongly supportive of the proposals that QUFA has been making on the bargaining desk.”
The negotiations between the 2 sides have stretched on since June, with vital progress being made on sure asks however little to none on some key areas QUFA has recognized in its proposals – like higher job safety for adjunct members.
Within the interim, an Ontario courtroom struck down the wage suppressing Invoice 124, which means that QUFA workers aren’t restricted from combating for greater than a 1% annual increase.
On condition that the negotiations began beneath Invoice 124, members have been ready to simply accept simply the 1% increase, and Morelli says something greater than that might be higher than what had been anticipated.
Compensation is not the driving issue within the negotiations, he says, however that QUFA might ask for extra within the absence of Invoice 124.
“If you do not get a rise in compensation that’s equal to the inflation charge you then’re dropping cash,” Morelli mentioned.
“For a few of our members they’re barely or not even making a dwelling wage in Kingston… so you realize, having a good compensation improve can be essential.”
Whereas a date nonetheless hasn’t been set for conciliation, the 2 sides are anticipated to fulfill in mid to late January.
If no deal is reached at the moment, there shall be a 17 day cooling off interval earlier than the college can lockout the staff or the QUFA members can strike.
Each side are in settlement that they hope to succeed in a deal and never impression Queen’s college students, and Morelli says even when a strike occurs the timing may align in order that it begins when college students are on studying week.
He says that may solely occur if the college does not negotiate in higher religion.
“If we find yourself on strike it is going to be as a result of the college wasn’t prepared to compromise on the bargaining desk,”
“Ther ball is of their courtroom.”
Owen Fullerton, Native Journalism Initiative Reporter, YGK Information