Collective bargaining update: Dec. 14, 2022
The parties met with the conciliator on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1. After conciliation on these dates, MUNFA advised the conciliation officer that they felt the parties were at an impasse (a situation in which no progress is possible). The conciliation officer then filed a report with the provincial minister responsible for labour indicating that negotiations had come to a standstill. The minister has accepted this report which triggers a 15-day cooling off period, meaning the earliest the union would be in position to take a strike vote is Dec. 29, 2022.
Salary increases are one of the outstanding issues. MUNFA has maintained its positon that it requires 14% over 4 years with the agreement front-end loaded with an 8 % salary increase effective Sept. 1, 2022 (back-dated). The university receives funding from the provincial government for salary increases. The allocated funding is reflected in our most recent proposal; Sept. 1, 2022 -2%, Sept. 1, 2023 – 1%; March 1, 2024 – 1%; Sept. 1, 2024 -2%; Sept. 1, 2025 -2%; Sept. 1, 2026 -2% and Sept. 1, 2027 -2%. We have advised MUNFA that the university is flexible in considering a 4 year collective agreement. There are no other sources of funding within the university budget for salary increases.
A second component of our compensation offer is a one-time $2000 signing bonus. This money cannot be applied to salary increases as it is one-time funding for this purpose from the provincial government. MUNFA has indicated that ASMs do not want this signing bonus for all members, but they have requested it be paid to term appointments on contract during the academic years 2021-2022 and 2022-23.
As previously reported, the university has proposed changes to group insurance benefits (Other Post-Employment Benefits) applicable to employees hired after the collective agreement is signed. Generally the proposed changes require that newly hired employees who retire from the university and commence receipt of pension must have a longer period of service with the university to receive Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEBs) and pay 60% of group insurance premiums.
Each of the above proposals are consistent with previously ratified collective agreements with other employee groups within the university.
The university welcomes a return to the negotiating table and will continue to work towards a mutually beneficial agreement. We remain hopeful that a resolution will be reached through bargaining.
Memorial University is strongly committed to negotiating a renewed collective agreement that is acceptable to both parties.