As most of you are very much aware, our public sector Locals are now actively involved in bargaining with their Employers and Treasury Board officials. In order to establish a backdrop on the timelines of this round of bargaining we can offer the following update.
CUPE was served notice to bargain on February 29 of last year. There was no further communication received until the middle of September, at which time government was seeking immediate bargaining dates. We met with all of our bargaining committees in order to review and update our opening proposals as well as prepare a Protocol Agreement that the parties could agree on. For those who may not be aware a Protocol Agreement is necessary to establish guidelines for bargaining, including deadlines for submitting new proposals and ground rules for removing and/or renewing articles of the collective agreement. The Protocol Agreement proved to be somewhat problematic but was eventually signed on December 16, 2016.
Bargaining did commence prior to the signing of the Protocol Agreement and the following meetings have occurred:
November 17 and 18 – Local 1860 and NL Housing Corporation
November 21 to 23 – Master School Board and English School District
December 7 and 8 – Local 2329 and NL Provincial Libraries
December 12 – Local 1560 and English School District
January 4 – Local 1560 and English School District
January 5 – Local 2543 and Government House
January 19 and 20 – Local 1860 and NL Housing Corporation
January 30 and 31 – Master School Board and English School District
All our groups have met at least once at the bargaining table to exchange proposals and commence bargaining, with the exception of our Hospital Support Locals and our Group Homes. With these contracts we have encountered a difference on the interpretation of specific articles in the existing collective agreements which needs to be resolved before continuing. We have exchanged letters with Treasury Board on this matter outlining our position. Additional bargaining dates for the other five sectors have been proposed by Treasury Board and CUPE will be responding to those suggested times early this week.
We meet on a regular basis to oversee, coordinate and provide direction for all aspects of the negotiating process, including effective communication between all our sector bargaining committees. We will continue to update our members, to the fullest extent that we are able, throughout the process. All updates, including this one, will be posted on our CUPE NL website and will be sent to all Local Officers for distribution. We will continue to strive, at the bargaining table, to reach new collective agreements that will be acceptable to our members. Despite the excessive number of concessions proposed by Treasury Board, we remain committed to this process and are hopeful that the Employer(s) are likewise committed to the same as we move forward.
We greatly appreciate your solidarity and support. It is essential for our committees to retain their resolve, energy and determination to take on the task before them.