Results of the ratification vote

Dear APUO members,

The results of the ratification vote are the following: 365 YES and 6 NO. The tentative settlement has therefore been supported by 98.4% of the members who casted a ballot. With 371 ballots, the participation rate is 29.7%.

We wish to thank our members for the strong and continued support given to us during this round of bargaining, especially for the strike vote held on July 31st. This unprecedented mobilization of APUO members was crucial in helping us to reach this settlement during mediation.

We look forward building on this strong support to address our next challenges, beginning with the core issue of tenure and promotion.

Sincerely,

The APUO Executive Committee

Ratification meeting

Dear APUO members,

A ratification meeting of the proposed collective agreement (1 May 2012 to 30 April 2016) will be held Thursday August 29 2013. A summary of the process and the results, followed by a «Questions and Answers» period, will take place from 10:30 AM to 12:00 PM, in room 122 of Lamoureux Building. The ratification vote itself will begin at 11:00 AM and last until 5:00 PM at the entrance of room 122 of Lamoureux Building.

You can download the 2012-2016 Tentative Settlement which includes changes to the collective agreement and the letters of understanding that accompany it, and a PowerPoint synthesis of the main issues/results.

We hope to see you in large numbers, as in previous general meetings.

Sincerely,

The APUO Executive Committee

Update on bargaining

Dear APUO members,

We want to let you know that we are currently finalizing with the employer the letters of understanding (LOU) that accompany the tentative collective agreement.

We consider it essential to be able to send you all relevant information, in its comprehensive and final form, before the ratification assembly which is to be held before the end of the month.

We look forward seeing you in large numbers at this upcoming assembly to vote on the proposed new collective agreement.

Sincerely,

The APUO Executive Committee

Bargaining: We Have a Tentative Settlement

Dear APUO Members,

The APUO is happy to report that the very strong support you expressed last week enabled the negotiating team to reach a tentative settlement with the employer.

This agreement includes a firm commitment by the employer to hire 60 new professors and 1 librarian over the next three years, the integration of the 31 existing LTRPs into continuing renewable appointments, significant scale and catch-up salary increases, as well as a modest pension contribution increase. The agreement also offers a guaranteed minimum number of APUO members.

In sum, we believe that the APUO has reached the best deal possible and we are happy to recommend it for ratification. A Special General Assembly (SGA) and secret vote to ratify the agreement will take place within the next 10 working days. We will forward you all the relevant information as soon as possible.

We would also like to thank all of our members who contributed to the bargaining process over the last year, as well as the excellent professional advice and support of the CAUT, which accompanied us through the mediation process.

Finally, thank you again for your extraordinary support. Your vote enabled us to bring you this deal.

Sincerely,

The APUO Negotiation Team

Preparing for Mediation

Dear members,

As you know, the membership turned out in staggering numbers on Wednesday to demonstrate overwhelming support for the negotiating team and its positions.  We have been inspired by the fact that more than 450 members attended the Special General Assembly and that almost 700 members came out to vote in person.  Representatives from the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) and the CAUT defense fund who participated at the meeting said that they were astounded that this many members participated, and that 82% voted in favour, given the fact that it was in the middle of the summer and the first strike mandate vote ever in APUO’s history.

We could not be more grateful for this show of support.  We believe that it will give the bargaining team the tools and leverage it needs this weekend to negotiate a fair and equitable deal.  Therefore, we hope that we will be able to report back on August 5 that we have a proposed agreement to share with you. In the event that negotiations break down, however, please watch for an email that will give you essential information about how to get ready for a strike or lockout.

We know that all of you, like us, are most concerned about the impact any potential labour disruption would have on students.  We assure you that the executive is doing everything it can to find ways to creatively minimize any effect on students to the extent possible.  Please read this letter from the APUO to students, and share it with as many students as you can. We are also pleased to share this letter from the Graduate Students’ Association (GSAED) pledging its support for the APUO in our endeavour to secure a fair and equitable contract and promote the quality of education at the University of Ottawa.

Thank you again for your overwhelming support.  We hope that we will bring you good news in the following days.

Sincerely,
APUO Executive Committee

La Presse (August 1, 2013) http://www.lapresse.ca/le-droit/actualites/education/201307/31/01-4675940-les-profs-votent-pour-la-greve-a-82.php

Ottawa Citizen (July 31, 2013) http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/University+Ottawa+professors+give+union+strike+mandate/8731687/story.html

CBC news (July 31, 2013) http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/story/2013/08/01/ottawa-u-of-o-professors-and-librarians-vote-for-strike-mandate.html

APUO VOTES MASSIVELY IN FAVOUR OF A STRIKE MANDATE

Dear APUO members,

Members have voted 82% in favour of authorizing the Executive Committee to call a strike if necessary. 691 ballots were cast, 563 voted “Yes,” 127 voted “No,” with one spoiled ballot.

The APUO remains committed to negotiating a fair deal that promotes the quality of education and fair working conditions at the university. Mediation is scheduled for August 3rd and 4th.

We sincerely thank our members, our union partners on campus, and student associations for this strong show of support.

Sincerely,

The Executive Committee

URGENT – Bargaining information & Bargaining Bulletin #9

Dear APUO members,

Throughout these negotiations, the APUO believes that the employer has acted in many ways that contravene both the spirit and the letter the Ontario Labour Relations Act. Such actions have included stating false information; refusing to share data they are legally obligated to release; communicating in ways that constitute attempts to negotiate directly with the membership; and now, seeking to intimidate members in order to influence the strike mandate vote planned for July 31.

Since the beginning of this process, it has been clear to the APUO that the employer has been using its vast institutional resources to wage a battle against members and the APUO. Up to this point, the APUO has assumed that members would prefer that we focus on negotiations rather than use the legal system to respond to the employer’s unacceptable actions. We had also hoped that, even if the employer continued its dishonourable actions, it would have at least ceased the ones we believe to be unlawful.

As you all know by now, this has not been the case. With its communications on Thursday and Friday of last week, the APUO can no longer ignore the issue. Peter Simpson (one of CAUT’s most seasoned advisers with more than 20 years experience) said that the employer’s communication was “unprecedented” in his experience, and that “it is hard to read it as something other than an attempt to interfere in the union’s credibility and its communications with its members ahead of a strike vote”.

Therefore, this morning the APUO has responded in the only way possible under the Ontario labour law. We have filed an application to the Ministry of Labour requesting that it (a) investigate the employer’s violations of the Ontario Labour Relations Act; (b) force the employer to disclose information required by the APUO for bargaining and insist that the employer respect the law regarding its communications; and (c) award the APUO damages to compensate for the employer’s illegal activity. You can find more detailed information about this in the Bargaining Bulletin #9.

More than ever, the employer’s actions signal that a strike mandate is critical to conclude this round of collective bargaining. To begin, the employer executed a strategy that forced negotiations to a crisis point during the summer, betting no doubt that the APUO would be intimidated into accepting an unreasonable offer. Since we have not responded in that fashion, the employer is now doing everything in its power to stop members from expressing their collective support to the APUO Executive Committee and negotiating team and voting YES to a strike mandate. The employer is doing so precisely because a successful strike mandate vote means that they will have to offer APUO members a significantly better deal than what they have tabled so far. We are convinced that members will see through the employer’s tactics and recognize them for what they really are.
In this context, the APUO is therefore asking you to support a strike mandate, because it is an absolutely necessary tool to get our members a fair deal that properly enhances the quality of education and ensures fair working conditions for all members.

Consequently, voting NO to a strike mandate is not about voting to accept the employer’s latest offer. Voting against a strike mandate sends a message to the employer that it can behave in any illegal or illegitimate manner with impunity. It is a vote for the employer to bully its employees (not just in negotiations, but in everyday working relations) to any extent. It tells the employer that it can use the same unlawful intimidation tactics to win greater and greater concessions from APUO members on a growing number of issues.
Voting YES to a strike mandate is not voting to go on strike immediately. It is allowing the Executive Committee to call a strike if and only if mediation fails and it is absolutely necessary to get a negotiated agreement that is fair and equitable. It is choosing to tell the employer that it cannot ignore the membership’s views and cannot unilaterally impose its own preferences on them. It is choosing to demonstrate that APUO members will not reward the employer’s unacceptable and illegal actions. Most importantly, it is voting to take a stand for respect and collegiality, and show the employer that their new, aggressive, corporate-style approach will not work now, or in the future.

We end this communication by sharing an unsolicited letter sent to President Rock (and copied to us) by Michael Behiels, an APUO member who reflects on the employer’s recent actions in the context of what he has seen over the course of his (almost) 40-year career as a professor.

Thank you very much for your continued strong support. We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible on July 31.

Sincerely,

The APUO Executive Committee

URGENT – BARGAINING INFORMATION

Dear APUO members,

As mentioned at the end of our last communication sent on July 24, you will find here a document explaining why we are asking for a strike mandate on July 31, as well as the reasons why it is essential to vote YES to this mandate in order to increase the likelihood of obtaining a fair and equitable settlement that would also support the quality of education in our university.

You will find here a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on the main issues of concern for our members in the event of a strike.

You will find here a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) specific to the logistical issues for research and scholarly activities when on strike.

You will also find here the lockout/strike protocol given by the APUO to the employer several weeks ago. Even though this protocol is a true reflection of standard norms and practices in place in Ontario universities, and therefore has no polemical provision, the employer has yet to sign it, or even actually discuss it if needed. Yet, the clarity and predictability that come with such a protocol are also in the interest of a responsible employer.

Finally, for our members who would wish to look a them again, please find here Analysis of Employer proposal  and  Financial situation a revised version of the analysis presented at the July 3rd Special General Assembly (SGA) on the employer’s latest proposal, as well as the presentation on the employer’s real financial situation that was made at the same SGA. Keep in mind that this analysis does not rest on a comprehensive evaluation of the proposal, since the employer is still refusing to share the information needed to assess all of the implications (including those of article 7.2 of the collective agreement). Having said that, our analysis already makes it clear that the employer’s proposal, though it may appear reasonable on the surface, is of no interest once carefully examined.

We thank you for your strong continued support towards your Executive Committee an your Negotiating Team.

Sincerely,

The APUO Executive Committee