At our well-attended General Membership meeting on August 27th, the Bargaining Team provided a detailed update of bargaining so far, which is summarized below.
The Team met with the employer over several days in July, and a number of items have been signed off. It is our understanding that the employer will table a compensation package when we meet again on September 14th.
Unfortunately, the employer’s many concessionary proposals are a serious roadblock to reaching a deal. While not all of these proposals have been discussed, they do remain on the table. For example, with these proposals, the employer seeks to:
- delete the requirement to use a Search Committee in the hiring process and the inclusion of members on the Committee
- delete substantial portions of procedures and criteria associated with promotions and evaluations
- delete the right not to do the work of other striking or locked-out employees
- exclude contributions to MUALA as professional service
- delete most MUALA rights to release time to engage in union activities
- exclude work with external organizations as part of academic service
If the association agreed to these concessions, our working conditions would be seriously degraded and the employer would have almost complete discretion to hire, to assign merit pay, to evaluate performance, and to promote. We are already among the lowest paid academic librarians in the country, and these proposals would compound our position in relation to other librarians by making us among the worst in regards to academic rights. All other collective agreements pertaining to Academic Librarians echo to some degree the principal that as “academic staff, librarians have the right and obligation to participate fully in academic affairs.” *
McMaster’s Mission and Vision statement declares that the University values “integrity, quality, inclusiveness and teamwork in everything we do.” ** We insist that the employer live up to its own principles and rescind this erosion of our academic, professional, and employment rights.
The MUALA Bargaining Team continues to work towards ensuring that our members get a fair and reasonable agreement. Thank you for your support and please contact us if you have any comments or questions.
MUALA Bargaining Team: Laura Banfield (President and Chief Negotiator), Neera Bhatnagar, Rick Stapleton