"No board" report issued in Queen's-CUPE negotiations
The Ontario Ministry of Labour has advised Queen’s that a “no-board” report was issued yesterday, July 12.
This opens the door to a legal strike or lock-out of members of the Queen’s locals of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).
The university and CUPE will be in a legal strike/lock-out position at 12:01 am on July 29, which is 17 days from the date of the “no-board”. The CUPE contracts expired in June 2010 and negotiations for new agreements have been underway since January.
“A strike or lock-out will not necessarily occur,” says Associate Vice-Principal (Human Resources) Al Orth. “We are expecting to begin mediation within the 17 days and talks can continue beyond the legal deadline. We respect the collective bargaining process and the university is looking to reach a negotiated settlement with CUPE.”
The university applied for the “no-board” on July 6 because CUPE employees have been without a contract for more than a year. Mr. Orth says it’s the university’s position that it’s time for an agreement so everyone can move forward.
CUPE collectively represent approximately 430 staff who are technicians (Local 254), library technicians (Local 1302) and a number of employees in Physical Plant Services, Residence Operations and Athletics & Recreation (Local 229).
A key issue in these negotiations is the re-shaping of the Queen’s Pension Plan (QPP), which is underfunded. A remediation plan needs to be in place as quickly as possible to make the most of the province’s solvency relief options.
The law requires the valuation of pension plans every three years. The QPP’s next valuation is August 31. The valuation is a “snapshot” of the financial state of the plan on that date.
“August 31 is a critical day because the state of the plan on that date will determine what additional contributions the university will be required, by law, to make over the next three years,” says Mr. Orth. “These additional contributions are required to bridge the gap between what the plan has in it and what provincial law says must be in it; the larger the required contributions, the greater the impact on the university’s operating budget.”
Regular updates on all negotiation activity at Queen’s will continue to be distributed through e-Queen’s and can be found, anytime, at http://queensu.ca/labournews.