During negotiations earlier this year leading to our first collective agreement, MUALA was informed by the University that it had “experienced a significant change in its financial circumstances, which now necessitates certain cost reductions within the bargaining unit.” As a consequence, MUALA is currently negotiating with the University administration regarding these cost reductions, which include voluntary separations (retirements) and may include involuntary separations (layoffs). Once these negotiations are completed and the staffing levels reduced, there will be a reorganization of the roles of academic librarians at McMaster University Library. When this reorganization is finalized, MUALA will have an opportunity to comment on the whole process.
The MUALA negotiating team and administration reached a tentative agreement on February 25, 2011. The details of that agreement are to be presented to member at a meeting on March 2, 2011 followed thereafter by a ratification vote. The ratification vote will take place from March 2, 2011 until 12:00pm on March 4, 2011. The results will be announced on March 4, 2011.
The MUALA negotiation team and the University administration have agreed to suspend negotiations until October.
We wish to emphasize that this agreement to suspend our bargaining is not the result of a breakdown of negotiations. The reason for the suspension is that the provincial government is establishing province-wide, sector-based consultations on compensation for all Ontario universities and colleges on the one side, and bodies representing unions and associations on the other.
These consultations will be taking place over the next couple of months. Until they are complete, we cannot really make any progress in negotiations. Accordingly, we have scheduled our next negotiation meetings for October 18th – 20th and 28th -29th, as well as November 1st-3rd.
The Union and the University have agreed to activate the Labour Management Committee to maintain a dialogue about labour relations matters during the bargaining hiatus.
The MUALA Negotiating Team, met with the Administration for three days of collective bargaining June 28th-30th, 2010. During this time a number of non-monetary elements were tentatively agreed upon pending final agreement to the whole by both parties and subject to ratification by our members. These elements are of a more routine variety; we have not yet discussed the more substantial issues, such as appointments and promotions, etc. The next round of negotiations is set to take place July 19th-30th. In the interim, we will be working on the outstanding non-monetary items and be preparing for the monetary items discussions. It is expected that some remaining non-monetary and some forthcoming monetary proposals will be tabled by the administration prior to the next meeting. We are pleased with the progress to date, but realize that there is still much to be done – we are learning about the importance of being patient and the necessity of paying attention to, and keeping track of, the details, large and small.