MUALA Submits its Intent to Bargain

Dear Members,

On May 14, 2019, McMaster University Academic Librarians’ Association (MUALA) submitted notice of its intent to bargain with the Employer.  

Based on the availability of both bargaining teams, MUALA has confirmed six meeting dates ahead of the expiration of the current agreement on July 31, 2019. Our first meeting is scheduled for May 21, 2019, with further dates scheduled in July. MUALA is optimistic that significant progress can be made in these meetings, but the team is fully prepared to bargain past expiration should the need arise.

Members will receive bulletins following each meeting with updates on the progress of negotiations. All-member meetings will be scheduled throughout the course of bargaining for the discussion of key issues.

MUALA’s submission package was founded on your input. Thanks to your participation in surveys, consultations, and group discussions over the past year, the Negotiating Committee was empowered to construct a series of proposals that represent the diverse needs of our membership. We will be proposing language that seeks improvements in key areas and adds clarity to existing structures. While we recognize the difficulties of collective bargaining in the current political climate, our unity is our strength.

MUALA is fortunate to have an articulate and dedicated bargaining team negotiating on its behalf.  Representing both library systems and a diversity of professional experience, MUALA’s Bargaining Team comprises:

  • Myron Groover, Archives and Rare Books Librarian, Mills Library (Chief Bargaining Officer)
  • Andrew Colgoni, Services Librarian, Thode Library
  • Neera Bhatnagar, Head of Systems and Public Services, Health Sciences Library

We look forward to working with the employer on the collective goal of creating a strong and useful Agreement that serves the interests of both our Membership and McMaster University.

On behalf of the MUALA Executive Committee,

Jack Young

Secretary, MUALA

MUALA votes in favour of tentative agreement

After a long and challenging period of bargaining, a tentative agreement was reached between the McMaster University Academic Librarians’ Association and the employer early the morning hours of Nov 14th 2015. In a vote that closed Nov 19th, the members of MUALA voted in favour of ratifying the agreement. Details of the agreement will be made available once the ratification process is complete.

Throughout the bargaining process, the membership remained committed, consistently showing their strong support of the bargaining team and the actions taken towards achieving an agreement. The team and the membership were bolstered by the rallying support of other unions and associations as demonstrated through meaningful letters, blog posts, emails, tweets, and calls.

Thank you. We are grateful for all that you did and honoured to be part of such a community.

MUALA Executive and Bargaining Team

McMaster unions in full support of MUALA

MUALA leadership met with other unions on campus today to discuss our ongoing efforts to secure a fair and equitable deal from the university. The outcome of the discussion was hugely positive; shortly after the meeting, CUPE 3906 released the following statement:

“The consensus amongst the unions here on campus — CUPE, Unifor, IUOE, and BUC — was that the librarians have our full support during their difficult negotiations with McMaster.”

Sincere thanks to the members of CUPE 3906, Unifor 5555, IUOE 772, and the Building Union of Canada for their solidarity and support during this trying time.

McMaster University Library Negotiations at a Breaking Point (Press Release)

After four days of conciliation, the McMaster University Academic Librarians’ Association (MUALA) has asked the Conciliator for a “No Board” report placing the Association in a legal strike position in November.

The Association is disappointed that talks are breaking down.

“We are very frustrated in the Employer’s aggressive bargaining tactics and their disregard for the crucial role our members play in the Universities’ teaching and research success. Our members very much want to be working with students and supporting faculty research rather than walking the picket line,” says MUALA President Laura Banfield.

On October 9th, 94% of the membership voted unanimously (100%) in favour of a strike mandate. With the request for a no-board, the MUALA Executive will now be in a position to call for a strike 17 days after the Ministry issues the report.

The University and the Academic Librarians began bargaining in June of this year and many significant issues related to academic rights and responsibilities, career advancement, benefits and compensation remain outstanding.

“McMaster has tabled a wage increase that is far below inflation and less than what others have received, and is trying to cut the merit pay that was agreed to in the last round. This is about equity and fairness,” says Banfield. “We remain hopeful that the Employer will return to the table with a reasonable offer so that a deal can be reached before our strike deadline”.

MUALA represents Academic Librarians who work at McMaster University’s University Library and Health Sciences Library. Academic Librarians, who are required to hold advanced academic credentials, play an integral role at research universities. Their responsibilities include: support for research and teaching; the preservation, collection and provision of scholarly materials; and, involvement in independent scholarly activity.

Contact: Laura Banfield, MUALA President, mualapresident@gmail.com
For more information visit the MUALA Website: www.muala.ca

Press Release – McMaster Librarians – Nov 3 2015

MUALA votes in support of a strike mandate (Press Release)

With a voter turnout of 92%, 100% of members voted yes in a strike vote held today and yesterday by the Academic Librarians at McMaster University. The Union Executive is now authorized to call for job action if necessary to achieve a fair and reasonable settlement with the University.

“Bargaining is stalling as a result of the employer’s demands to strip away members’ professional and academic rights” says Laura Banfield, President of the McMaster University Academic Librarian Association (MUALA). “This strike vote shows the members’ overwhelming support for their Bargaining Team and their determination to reach a fair agreement soon.”

The employer is trying to remove Academic Librarians’ right to participate in academic decision making and shield their decisions by removing agreed to criteria and processes.

Additionally, compensation is also proving to be a roadblock to a deal. The employer wants to roll back compensation and limit salary increases far below inflation.

“Academic Librarians at McMaster are already amongst the lowest paid, making far less than most other Academic Librarians”, says Laura. “The members are only looking for a fair settlement.”

A Conciliation Officer has been appointed and the first conciliation date is scheduled for October 14th.

The parties are negotiating to renew their first collective agreement, the term of which expired July 31, 2015.

MUALA represents 24 Academic Librarians who work at McMaster University’s University Library and Health Sciences Library.  Academic Librarians, who are required to hold advanced academic credentials, play an integral role at research universities, including important responsibilities in support of research, teaching, the preservation, collection and provision of scholarly materials, as well as involvement in independent scholarly activity.

Contact: Laura Banfield, MUALA President, mualapresident@gmail.com