Collective Bargaining Information



Collective Agreement Expirations

Bargaining Unit Expiration Date
CUPE 3902, Unit 5 (Postdoctoral Fellows) December 31, 2019
IUPAT Local 557 (Painters) April 30, 2017
CUPE 3261, F/T, P/T (Service Workers) June 30, 2017
CUPE 3261, Casual June 30, 2017
USW 1998 Staff Appointed (Administrative and Technical Staff) June 30, 2017
USW 1998 Casual June 30, 2017
OPSEU 519 (Campus Police) June 30, 2017
CUPE 2484 (Day Care Workers) June 30, 2017
OPSEU 578 (Research Officers & Assistants at OISE) June 30, 2017
CUPE 1230 F/T, P/T (Library Workers) June 30, 2017
CUPE 1230, Student Casual June 30, 2017
CUPE 3902 – Unit 3 (Sessional Lecturers, etc.) August 31, 2017
IATSE (Stage Employees at Hart House) August 31, 2017
CUPE 3902 – Unit 1 (Teaching Assistants, Course Instructors, etc.) December 31, 2017
UNITE HERE, Local 75 (Hospitality Workers at 89 Chestnut) January 31, 2018
Carpenters and Allied Workers, Local 27 April 30, 2018
Unifor 2003 (Engineers) April 30, 2018
IBEW, Local 353 – Electricians April 30, 2018
IBEW, Local 353 – Locksmiths April 30, 2018
IBEW, Local 353 – Machinists April 30, 2018
Sheet Metal Workers – Local 30 April 30, 2018
UA Local 46 (Plumbers) May 31, 2018
CUPE 3907 (Graduate Assistants at OISE) August 31, 2018


Frequently Asked Questions


Where are the University’s policies listed?

Policies of general application that have been approved by Governing Council are posted on the Governing Council website, with Policies & Guidelines and Agreements listed on the HR & Equity website.

In addition to Governing Council policies, there are departmental practices and various University guidelines that may be found in more local sources. Speak to your supervisor if you are looking for guidelines on particular issues.


Who is my Union Steward?

The names of union stewards are often listed on your union’s website. You may also get this information by contacting your Union office or asking your Human Resources representative.


When can I bring my Union representative to a meeting with my manager?

In most cases, when an employee meets with their manager, a Union representative is not entitled to attend. The main exception is that Union representatives are entitled to attend disciplinary meetings at the employee’s request. Your collective agreement may allow a union representative to attend in other circumstances as well, therefore you should check your collective agreement for more information. If you would like a union representative to attend a type of meeting that the collective agreement does not specifically say they can attend, then you may ask your manager if they will allow a union representative to attend. Your manager has the right to permit or deny the union representative’s attendance at that meeting.


Who should I speak to if I think the collective agreement is not being followed?

You should always attempt to speak with your manager first. If speaking with your manager does not resolve the situation, you may wish to speak with your HR representative and your Union representative. Conversations may then take place between HR, the Union, and the Labour Relations team, in an effort to resolve the issue.


My manager and I disagree on how to interpret the collective agreement. Who should I go to for assistance?

You may go to either your HR representative or your Union representative. Normally in cases where an interpretation is needed, the HR office contacts the Labour Relations team and either Human Resources or Labour Relations discusses the matter with the Union. If no agreement can be reached and a grievance is filed, Labour Relations becomes involved. The Labour Relations team is also involved if the issue is under discussion at the bargaining table.


Can I speak to a Labour Relations Officer directly to discuss an issue concerning the collective agreement?

In the event you have a concern regarding the collective agreement, you should speak with your manager, your Human Resources Generalist or your Union representative.


When would I normally see a representative from Labour Relations?

You may interact with an Labour Relations representative at a grievance meeting, accommodation meeting, negotiations, training sessions or through the mediation / arbitration process. Their role in these meetings is generally to ensure the collective agreement and / or relevant policies are being followed, to ensure the University’s interpretation of the collective agreement is presented, and if needed, to work with HR to seek reasonable resolutions and settlements to grievances and to enter into agreements with the Union on behalf of the University.


If I file a grievance what is the process?

All collective agreements outline a grievance process normally commencing with an informal stage where the parties meet in efforts to resolve the grievance prior to a formal grievance being filed. Should the informal stage not resolve the grievance, the grievance will follow the step process of the collective agreements. Normally, this involves two or three steps following the informal step. At each step, representatives from both the Union and the University meet and aim to resolve the grievance.

The collective agreement will often provide for a time limit within which the grievance must be commenced (usually a certain number of days after the event giving rise to the grievance). If the grievance is not filed within this period, it may be dismissed. The Union and the University may mutually agree to extend time limits in some cases, and in some cases arbitrators will also waive time limits if particular criteria are met.


Can I bring a family member, colleague or friend to a grievance hearing?

Normally, only the employee, Union representative(s) and management representatives attend grievance meetings. If you want anyone else to attend with you, you need the agreement of both the Union and the University.


What is mediation?

Mediation is a method of resolving disputes between the University and the Union. A third party, known as a Mediator, works with the parties to attempt to find a resolution to the dispute that is agreeable to both sides. The Mediator is typically hired jointly by the Union and the University. Mediation most often occurs following the final step of the internal grievance process, in attempt to settle the matter before an arbitration hearing. A key feature of mediation is that the agreement, if any, is determined by the parties themselves rather than being imposed by a third party.

The role of the Mediator is to help each party understand each other’s position and help them to consider ways of resolving differences. Normally the parties do not interact directly but speak to each other through the Mediator.


If my grievance goes to arbitration what is the process?

Arbitration is a legal process for resolving disputes between the University and the Union. An arbitration is similar to a court proceeding, where each side presents its case through opening and closing arguments and may call witnesses (usually the grievor and other employees/managers), who give testimony in response to questions by a representative of the University and a representative of the Union. A person (the arbitrator) or persons (arbitration board) makes a decision that the parties have to follow. Arbitrations take place when a grievance goes through all the steps of the grievance procedure and is still not resolved. In many instances, before the arbitration begins, arbitrators encourage the parties to settle the grievance before it reaches the evidence stage.


Glossary of Terms


Abeyance

A period during which the Union and the University agree to wait before dealing with a particular grievance.


Arbitration

A process for resolving disputes between the University and the Union. An arbitration is similar to a court proceeding, where a representative of the University and a representative of the union make opening statements and present their arguments. Parties usually also call witnesses (usually the grievor and other employees/managers) who answer questions asked by the University and Union representatives. A person (the arbitrator) or persons (arbitration board) makes a decision that the parties have to follow. Arbitrations take place when a grievance goes through all the steps of the grievance procedure and is still not resolved.


Bargaining Unit

A group of employees who are represented by the same union and are covered by the same collective agreement. Often the members of a bargaining unit all have similar types of jobs. Examples of bargaining units at the University are: USW Staff-Appointed, CUPE 1230 Part-time/Casual.


Collective Agreement

A written contract between the University and the Union that outlines many of the terms and conditions of employment for employees in a bargaining unit. The terms and conditions are reached through collective bargaining between the University and the Union. The types of terms that are included in a collective agreement include wages, benefits, job postings and the grievance procedure.


Collective Bargaining

When a team representing the Union (employees and union executives) and a team representing the University (members of management) meet and try to agree on the terms of a collective agreement.
When a new bargaining unit is formed, the parties negotiate a ‘first collective agreement.’ Periodically (usually every one, two or three years), the parties meet for collective bargaining and negotiate changes to the agreement. This changed agreement may be called a ‘renewal collective agreement.’


Conciliation

A neutral third party from the government (the conciliator) helps the parties agree on terms for a new collective agreement. Either party may ask the government to appoint a conciliator. The parties are not legally allowed to have a strike or a lock-out until after they have met with a conciliator and the conciliator has issued a ‘no board’ report.


Grievance

A claim that one party has not followed the collective agreement. Grievances can be filed by either the University or the Union, but usually they are filed by the Union. If an individual or group of individuals thinks that the University has violated the collective agreement, they may ask the union to file a grievance on their behalf.


Implementation

The process where the parties put the new provisions of a collective agreement into effect. Implementation takes place after the ratification of a collective agreement. The University ensures that pay, benefit and pension changes are implemented and that operational changes to the collective agreement are communicated to the managers. The University and the Union also work together to finalize a revised print version of the collective agreement. The University then distributes the print version of the agreement to managers and bargaining unit employees.


Labour / Management Meeting

Meetings between representatives of the University (Management) and the Union representing employees (Labour). Most collective agreements say that Labour / Management meetings have to be held on a regular basis. At these meetings, the Union and the University can talk about many different issues including the meaning of different parts of the collective agreement, changes in the workplace or training, among other things.


Lock Out

A refusal by the employer to allow members of the bargaining unit to work. Legally, the employer can only lock the employees out after collective bargaining has taken place and after a conciliator has issued a “no board” report.


Mediation

A neutral third party (the Mediator) tries to help the parties settle a dispute. The Mediator is hired by the Union and the University together. Mediation usually happens after all the steps of the grievance procedure have been taken, in an attempt to settle the grievance before an arbitration hearing. The mediator can’t tell the parties how to settle the dispute, but can only help the parties decide how to settle it themselves.


Memorandum of Agreement (MOA)

The written document that says what the parties agreed to when they agree to something other than what is said in the collective agreement. The Memorandum is signed by both parties.


Memorandum of Settlement (MOS)

The written document that says what the parties agreed to when they settled a grievance or when they agreed to a new collective agreement. The Memorandum is signed by both parties. A Memorandum of Settlement signed at the end of collective bargaining may also be called a ‘tentative agreement’ because it is the agreement between the Union and the University but it has not yet been agreed to (ratified) by the employees.


No Board Report

This is a report issued by a Conciliator once he/she decides that the University and the Union are not ready to agree on a collective agreement. The term “no board” comes from the fact that in this report, the Conciliator recommends that a Conciliation Board should not be appointed (i.e., that ‘no board’ should be appointed) to further attempt to help the parties reach an agreement. Either the University or the Union may also request that the Conciliator issue this report. Seventeen days after the “no board” report has been released, the parties are legally allowed to strike or lock-out.


Notice to Bargain

When either the University or the Union tells the other that it is ready to start meeting to negotiate changes to the collective agreement. The parties are only allowed to give notice to bargain in the last 90 days before the current collective agreement expires.* If neither party gives notice to bargain, the current collective agreement continues for another year.


Ratification

The process of members of the bargaining unit voting to accept or reject the terms of the collective agreement that the University and Union have agreed to. The ratification vote happens at the end of collective bargaining, after the University and the Union have reached a tentative agreement. All members of the bargaining unit have the right to vote. Each person gets one vote. If more than half of the votes are to accept the terms of the tentative collective agreement, the agreement is finalized and implemented.


Strike

When the employees in a bargaining unit stop working in order to pressure the employer to agree to the union’s proposals in collective bargaining. The employees may all completely stop working at once, or they may have rotating strikes, or they may work to rule. Legally, the employees can only strike after collective bargaining has taken place and after a conciliator has issued a ‘no board’ report.


Strike vote

A vote by bargaining unit members to tell the union whether they are for or against going on strike. The employees legally can’t go on strike unless the majority of the bargaining unit members who vote, vote ‘yes’ in the strike vote. All members of the bargaining unit have the right to vote. The vote is by secret ballot.


Tentative Agreement

A collective agreement agreed to between the University and the Union but not yet agreed to (ratified) by bargaining unit members.


Without precedent / without prejudice

Terms used in settlements between the University and the Union. These terms most often refer to the positions that the parties take while negotiating to settle a grievance, and to the ultimate resolution of grievances.

For example, when a grievance is settled on a ‘without prejudice’ basis, the specific grievance is resolved but neither party commits to taking or not taking the same position in future cases.
When a grievance is settled on a ‘without precedent’ basis, the resolution of that particular grievance can’t be referred to in future cases. In particular, it can’t be referred to in the future to demand that a future dispute be resolved consistently with the earlier dispute.

*most U of T collective agreements