Q&As

Bargainingshow all Q&As on one page

What is a collective agreement?

A collective agreement is a written contract of employment covering a group of employees who are represented by a trade union. This agreement contains provisions governing the terms and conditions of employment.

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What is collective bargaining?

Collective bargaining is a process in which a trade union and an employer negotiate a first collective agreement or the renewal of a previous collective agreement.

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Is Brock currently in collective bargaining with any employee groups?

Yes, Brock is currently negotiating renewal collective agreements with two unions:

  • CUPE, Local 4207-3 – Expired July 6, 2014 (Represents ESL Instructors);
  • OSSTF, District 35 – Will expire April 30, 2015 (Represents administrative and support staff)

Brock University and the IATSE, Local 461 (representing Stagehands in the Brock Centre for the Arts and the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts) ratified a three-year agreement for the period between June 6, 2014 and June 5, 2017.

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What happens if, during collective bargaining, the employer and the union cannot agree on the terms of a collective agreement?

Either the employer or the union may apply to the Ministry of Labour to appoint a conciliation officer. This officer will then try to help the parties reach an agreement.

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What is conciliation?

Conciliation is a process by which a union or an employer can apply to the Ministry of Labour for help in reaching a collective agreement.

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What if the employer and the union cannot reach agreement in conciliation?

The conciliation officer informs the Ministry of Labour that a collective agreement could not be reached. The Ministry of Labour then issues a notice informing the union and the employer that the Ministry “does not consider it advisable to appoint a conciliation board”. This notice is commonly known as the “no-board report”.

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Has a “no-board report” been requested, and what does it mean?

Yes, CUPE Local 4207-3 requested a “no-board report,” which was issued by the Ministry of Labour on Feb. 28, 2015.

Once a “no-board report” has been issued, a legal strike or lockout may occur on or after the 17th calendar day after the date on the “no-board report.”

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What further help is available to the employer and union after a “no-board report” gets issued?

If the parties have not reached a settlement in conciliation and the “no-board report” has been sent to the parties, the Ministry of Labour offers the services of a mediator to confer with the parties and try to reach a collective agreement.

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I heard that the Union has held a strike vote. What is a strike? What is a strike vote?

A strike is any cessation of work, including a work slowdown, resulting in an interruption of the employer’s operations by bargaining unit employees.

Bargaining unit members cannot lawfully strike unless a strike vote by secret ballot is taken by the Union and more than 50% of voting bargaining unit members vote in favour of a strike.  A successful strike vote authorizes the union’s representatives to set a strike deadline and call a strike if they believe that further negotiations will not reach a collective agreement.

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Has a strike deadline been set?

Yes, CUPE Local 4207-3 has set a strike deadline of March 17, 2015 at 12:01am.

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Does a strike deadline mean there will be a strike at the University?

No. The parties to a collective agreement may continue to negotiate and reach an agreement, despite the fact that a strike deadline has been set.

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