The College Support Full-Time bargaining team met with the employer on July 19, 20 and 21. It was our second week at the bargaining table. The union and the employer clarified a number of proposals from each side and provided context and reasoning.

We emphasized the importance of our demands and encouraged the employer to provide us with meaningful responses. Our members sent us to the table with these demands and the employer hasn’t addressed them yet. We made it clear to the employer that we are here to bargain and are expecting significant talks to happen at our next set of dates.

Although we are applying for an exemption to Bill 124 (which caps our wages to 1% per year for three years despite soaring inflation), there are also a number of non-monetary demands that we have tabled, including the following:

Fairness: Job competitions and job security

We have tabled the demand to give part-time and Appendix D employees access to full-time job competitions, and to have a system of equating job experience with levels of education. This will ensure that all members will have fair access to job competitions, and ensure that members with high levels of experience aren’t denied positions due to unnecessarily strict educational qualifications.

We’ve tabled a proposal to give members on probation access to vacancies when lay-off processes take place. We have also tabled language to eliminate final displacement; this will ensure better job security.

Respect: Equity provisions for Indigenous members

After thorough consultations with Indigenous leaders and deep reflection, we created and tabled our proposals to start addressing some of the inherent barriers for Indigenous CAAT-S members. We will continue to reflect and seek guidance to ensure inequities are addressed and barriers removed.

The bargaining team has sent a strong message that the employer cannot ignore: Colleges must ensure that Indigenous employees have welcoming and inclusive workplaces that respect traditional ways and culture.

Dignity: Health and safety provisions and vacation time

We tabled the demand that all safety devices required by support staff be provided at no cost to the employee. Support staff typically spend more time in labs and other areas of the workplace, and require safety devices more often than any other working group.

We’ve also tabled the demand that we align the vacation calendar with the benefits calendar (January 1 to December 31), and to realign the date to request vacation to November 1. Currently, the vacation year starts on July 1, which means vacation entitlement gets reset in the summer when members typically need vacation days the most.