(2015-2016 HR#1) Update on Arbitration with CUPE 3902, Unit 1

Date: July 6, 2015
To: Principals, Deans, Academic Directors, and Chairs
From: Angela Hildyard, Vice-President, Human Resources & Equity; Cheryl Regehr, Vice-President & Provost
Re: Update on Arbitration with CUPE 3902, Unit 1

As you all know, earlier this year, members of CUPE 3902, Unit 1 at the University of Toronto went on strike. Throughout the strike, both sides worked hard towards an agreement but, after nearly four weeks of those efforts, the strike continued.

In late March, in order to resolve the impasse, President Gertler called upon the union to join the University in a binding arbitration process. We were very pleased that the union agreed to that suggestion and as a result the strike ended. We would like to provide you with an update on what has happened since that time.

First, because of the tremendous efforts of faculty, staff, and teaching assistants, our undergraduate and graduate students were able to complete their terms. Thousands of courses proceeded and disruptions were declared in only 35 courses to allow for changes to syllabi. Many teaching assistants continued to work during the strike. Those who continued to work, and those who returned to work when the strike ended showed their dedication and commitment to ensuring that our students were able to complete their terms. No courses were cancelled, the term was not extended, and all eligible students could graduate as planned.

It is important to note that a large number of the issues under discussion between the University and CUPE 3902, Unit 1 were resolved through the bargaining process. Many elements of the prospective collective agreement were already in the process of being implemented across the university while we awaited the arbitration result. Only a small number of issues were before the Arbitrator in the binding arbitration process.

We have now received the Arbitrator’s decision on the remaining issues. Arbitrator Kaplan’s decision accepted the submission of the University. Arbitrator Kaplan decided that the renewal collective agreement should be based on the unratified Memorandum of Agreement that had been reached between the University and the union bargaining teams on March 18, 2015, during mediated negotiations that took place during the strike, without any of the additional amendments sought by the union at arbitration. Arbitrator Kaplan did not accept the union’s proposals seeking the addition of new provisions regarding graduate student funding into the collective agreement. The arbitration decision and the terms of the March 18 agreement can be found here.

The University is continuing its strong commitment to graduate student excellence supported by competitive funding packages, including excellent compensation for those who work as employees as part of their package. The University believes that graduate student funding is an academic issue best addressed through academic processes rather than collective bargaining and labour disputes. Information about the University’s approach to graduate student funding can be found here.

We look forward to continuing to work with all of you in support of our students.

– See more at: https://people.utoronto.ca/about-hr-equity/news/2016m/uoawc3u1.htm#sthash.BO7RkhQs.dpuf