Updates

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Conciliation requested in bargaining with CUPE 4207-3

CUPE 4207-3, which represents ESL Instructors, filed a request for the appointment of a conciliation officer, following the fourth meeting between the parties on Sept 11. The collective agreement between Brock University and CUPE 4207-3 expired on July 6.

Conciliation is a process by which a union or employer can apply to the Ontario Ministry of Labour to appoint a conciliation officer, who will try to assist the parties to reach a collective agreement.

The University remains committed to a negotiated settlement and looks forward to continuing our discussions with CUPE 4207-3 to reach a collective agreement.

Further updates will be provided to the community as discussions continue.


University and BUFA ratify collective agreement

Brock University and the Brock University Faculty Association (BUFA) have ratified a three-year agreement for the period between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2017. BUFA represents 576 professors and professional librarians at Brock.

Bargaining discussions commenced in May 2014 and pre-conciliation mediation began on Aug. 6. BUFA and the University acknowledge the critical role of mediator Peter Simpson, from the Ministry of Labour, in bringing the parties together and building a bridge to the tentative agreement.

The tentative agreement was reached on Aug. 13. It was ratified by the Brock University Board of Trustees on Aug. 25 and by the BUFA membership on Aug. 29.


University and BUFA reach tentative agreement

Brock University and the Brock University Faculty Association (BUFA) reached a tentative agreement on a new contract early on Wednesday Aug. 13, 2014.

The tentative agreement was reached with the assistance of a mediator, and upon ratification would succeed the current collective agreement that expired June 30, 2014.

Details regarding the new agreement will not be released until both parties have ratified it with their principals.

 


Collective bargaining updates

BUFA — After meeting on a number of occasions, the Parties have mutually agreed to pre-conciliation mediation. The first meeting with the mediator will be on Aug 6. The collective agreement expired on June 30.

IATSE — Bargaining committees for the University and IATSE have met twice. The parties plan to continue bargaining and are in the process of scheduling additional dates. The collective agreement expired on June 5.

CUPE 4207-3 — Bargaining committees for the University and CUPE 4207-3 have met twice and are scheduled to meet again on July 30. The collective agreement expired on July 6.


University, BUFA bargaining update

The Parties have jointly agreed to continue their bargaining discussions and apply to the Ontario Ministry of Labour for pre-conciliation mediation. This voluntary process will result in the appointment of a mediator whose role will be to assist the Parties to arrive at feasible solutions in their bargaining discussions.

The Collective Agreement (the Agreement) between the University and BUFA (July 1, 2011 – June 30, 2014) describes that the Agreement “shall remain in full force and effect after its expiry date until a new Agreement has been reached, or until the conciliation process prescribed by the Ontario Labour Relations Act has been completed….”.

The joint agreement of the Parties respecting a pre-conciliation mediation process is a voluntary step before the process of conciliation mentioned above.


University, BUFA bargaining update

The parties have been meeting in May and June and have agreed upon dates for bargaining during July and August.

 


University, BUFA commence bargaining

Today (6 May 2014) the Brock University administration and the Brock University Faculty Association (BUFA) met to commence bargaining on a new collective agreement.

After signing off on a joint Memorandum of Conditions on Bargaining, the parties exchanged and provided explanations of their respective proposals. The parties also discussed a schedule of meetings for the months of May and June.


President’s response to open letter

President’s response to open letter (PDF)


April 9 town hall presentation

The April 9 Town Hall presentation is now available for download as a PDF:

April 9 Town Hall Powerpoint.pdf

A video of the Town Hall is also available:

http://brockvideocenter.brocku.ca (Login required)


Brock community learns the hard cost of deficit reduction

Brock University officials held a town hall meeting with staff and faculty members on April 9 to discuss steps being taken to cut this year’s operating deficit from $14.5-million down to $7-million, and also to talk about another tough year to come in 2014-15.

About 500 people filled the Sean O’Sullivan Theatre to near-capacity for two hours of a detailed presentation and an open question period. Another 250 in the David S. Howes Theatre watched the meeting live-streamed, and about 200 people logged on to view it via webcast.

The most significant impact has been in lost jobs, through a variety of measures including attrition, redeployment and layoffs.

Brock has been incurring annual operating deficits averaging $7 million for the past six years, offsetting much of the funding shortfall through increasing enrolments.

But with limited space left to grow, tuition rates capped at 3 per cent for domestic students, and domestic government funding cut by 1 per cent each year for the past two years, the University has experienced expenses in excess of revenue. Going into the next academic year, 61% of the University’s revenue is regulated to only increase 0.6%.

Brian Hutchings, Vice-President of Finance and Administration, said if Brock’s current operating model were left unchanged, the University would become insolvent as increasing deficits hit $20-million in 2014-15 and surge past $30-million the following year.

Like all Ontario universities, Brock has had to use millions in operating money to cover shortfalls in its pension fund; in 2013-14 that cost Brock $5.8-million. Other big hits were

· $4.8 million for utility bills, operating costs and debt repayment on the Cairns Family Health and Bioscience Research Complex;
· $2.5 million needed for deferred maintenance on other infrastructure; and
· $2.5 million in Ontario government funding cuts of various forms.

In the last year as the University sought to find new efficiencies, it introduced measures like a six-month delay on hiring, reduced administrative travel, encouraging employees to buy additional vacation and deferring non-essential equipment purchases.

But in an organization where nearly 70 per cent of its $300-million budget is personnel costs — salaries and benefits — Hutchings said job cuts are unavoidable. Brock is one of Niagara region’s biggest employers, with more than 5,500 employees in 2013.

The University has announced that 86 positions will be eliminated. So far 40 have been met through voluntary resignation or retirement, another nine full-time staff have been redeployed to existing vacancies, and 10 people have seen their employment with the University come to an end. So far all eliminated jobs have been from administration ranks. A review of the University’s academic programming is ongoing.

As it enters the 2014-15 fiscal year, the University will look for opportunities to address the remaining 27 positions through attrition, redeployment and, where necessary, layoffs. Despite these reductions, the University continues to be an estimated $5.67-million short of reaching its mandated target of a balanced budget in 2014-15.

Hutchings said the University has no choice but to change its operating model.

“Restoring our financial stability will not be easy,” he said. “Working together as a community, we will find ways to create some growth, and we will also make some difficult decisions.

“We will get it done, we will restore our financial health. But it will not be painless, and nobody is pretending otherwise.”

During the Town Hall, Brock also announced a new website brocku.ca/outlook has been set up as the main update centre for information regarding budgets, people impacts and collective bargaining with the union locals that represent University employees.