1 Aug 18-Local 071 Chapter 011 Bow Valley College Bargaining Update

Bargaining reaches impasse

Your bargaining committee met with the employer on June 21 for negotiations. Unfortunately, the parties were unable to find common ground and reached impasse.

Your union had tabled a revised proposal with the narrowing of our priorities in an effort to push the process forward. The employer maintained its position of a status quo two-year collective agreement. The employer’s monetary proposal includes no increase to total compensation and no increase to rates of pay in the salary schedule.

We want to state clearly that your union rejected the employer’s status quo proposal in February 2018 for the following reasons:

  • The employer’s accumulated surplus at Bow Valley College is $132 million.
  • The employer’s operating surplus for 2016/2017 at Bow Valley College is approximately $11 million.
  • The weighted average settlements in the Alberta public sector are 1.55% (2017), 1.99% (2018) and 2.16% (2019).
  • The average monthly increases in the costs of living in Calgary since July 2017 is 1.6%.
  • The projected increases in the costs of living are for 2017 (1.5%) and 2018 (2.1%)*
*Source: ATB Economics and Research April 2016

The employer defended the two-year agreement proposal by saying there is an “air of austerity in Alberta,” and to “make up for past errors” and that “there is no argument of ability to pay.”

The employer is unwilling to include new language on the following:

  • Contracting In
  • No Contracting Out
  • Wage Equity/ Job Evaluation
  • Duty to Accommodate language
  • Exclusions review
  • Flexible Spending Account (currently provided to management and exempt staff)

The employer will not guarantee job security and will not guarantee no position abolishments and no layoffs. The employer also won’t improve transparency or disclose essential job evaluation information in the collective agreement.

The employer will not improve the language for Time Off for Union Business, which eliminates the opportunity for members to learn more about their union and access professional development opportunities at no cost to the college. Isn’t it ironic the employer’s denial contradicts the College Mission Statement – “to make all learning count.”

We advised the employer their position is unrealistic and impractical. It is unrealistic for our members to accept no wage increases for two years, which amounts to a cut in pay because of cost of living increases. It is not fair for our members to flat-line their defined benefit pension plan for two years compounded into the future.

We would also note that at the February meeting, the employer committed to tabling a proposal for leaves, which they have failed to do. This demonstrates the employer’s unwillingness to bargain in good faith.

Bow Valley College it the fastest growing college in Alberta. While other post-secondary learning institutions are downsizing, Bow Valley College continues to grow and the support services members provide are fundamental to continuing that growth.

Our next step is to apply for formal mediation and the assistance of a third party. To do that, we
Will request that we begin essential services agreement (ESA) discussions. We may apply for the assistance of a mediator only if the parties have an ESA that has been accepted for filing with the Commissioner.

We have developed a member engagement plan and community awareness plan. On August 13th, we will be holding a meeting with our members to discuss next steps in member engagement, mobilization and community awareness.

Please contact any member of your bargaining committee and confirm your support or if you have any questions, comments or concerns.

Iba Boda 
Stephen Caughie 
Peter Steward 

John Wevers Negotiator
780-238-4767 or j.wevers@aupe.org
Dave Malka Organizer
780-231-1800 or d.malka@aupe.org
Mariam Ibrahim Communications
780-930-5218 or m.ibrahim@aupe.org