SPECIAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY 31 JULY 2013

Dear APUO Members,

As you know, after little more than three months of bargaining, the employer called a No board last week and thus ensured that on August 8, it will be in a legal position to lockout APUO members and/or unilaterally rewrite the collective agreement. Since a strike is the only action the APUO can potentially take to stop the employer from doing this, we have no choice but to ask our members for a strike mandate by holding a strike vote.  A successful strike vote is the only way for members to allow the APUO to negotiate a fair and equitable deal, and be protected from the employer unilaterally locking members out or re-writing the collective agreement as of August 8.

Therefore, a Special General Assembly will be held to discuss the issue from 10h00-11h30 in the Marion Auditorium (140 Louis-Pasteur) on July 31, as previously mentioned. Voting will be done by secret ballot from 11h00 – 18h00 in front of the auditorium. 

Please note the following details:

What is the question?

The ballot question will be as follows:  “I vote in favour of a strike and authorize the Executive Committee to decide if/when a strike should occur”. You will have to choose between “Yes” or “No”.

How will the votes be collected and counted?

The votes will be collected and counted by an independent accounting firm (Welch, LLP) who will report and officially attest the results to the APUO.  No members of the Executive Committee or the APUO staff will be in possession of the ballots at any time.

What if I do not work on the main campus?

To ensure as much accessibility as possible, the APUO has hired a shuttle bus to pickup any APUO members who would like to vote from the Roger-Guindon campus (departing the Science H building at 9:30, returning at 12h00), and bring them to the main campus.

What does voting in favour of a strike vote mean?

Voting ‘yes’ does not mean that we will necessarily go on strike. Of the 13 strike mandates won by 11 faculty associations in Ontario in the last 5 years, only 1 has actually had to go on strike.  All the others reached fair agreements after being empowered by a strike mandate. Voting ‘yes’ does give the Executive Committee the authority to eventually call a strike should it become absolutely necessary to reach a fair settlement.

Why is the vote being conducted in this way?

To determine how to conduct such a vote, the APUO consulted its internal and external legal counsel, as well as CAUT.  Given the APUO’s constitution and the stipulations of the Labour Relations Act, we were advised to hold the vote in the same way that the APUO holds the one other type of vote overseen by the Labour Relations Board: a ratification vote.  In conformity with the law, the APUO has always held this vote by secret ballot in conjunction with a Special General Assembly.  We were advised that the voting should be open for at least 4 hours.  Previous APUO ratification votes have been open between 4-6 hours.  We have chosen to keep the vote open longer than that to create as much access as possible.  Therefore voting will be open for 7 consecutive hours from 11h00-18h00.

What additional information will be available to help me decide?

You will receive additional information in the following days.  Please read it very carefully.  In particular, you will receive (a) a ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ with details on a strike mandate, a strike vote, what a strike/lockout would entail, etc.; (b) the standard lockout/strike protocol used by other universities that the APUO has proposed to the employer; (c) other documents about the negotiating process and issues of the current round of collective bargaining. To the same extent, the first part of the Special General Assembly on July 31 (30 minutes) will make it possible to share the latest information with members. The second part (60 minutes or more if needed) will make it possible for members to ask all of their questions, to present their viewpoints and their arguments to all members present.

Please make every effort possible to be present at the July 31 Special General Assembly, and try to convince as many colleagues as possible to come with you.

Sincerely,

The APUO Executive Committee