In my message to you last week I informed you that the negotiating teams for the AASUA and the employer were set to exchange opening proposals on October 21, with negotiations set to begin in earnest on November 2.
However, when the negotiating teams met yesterday to discuss and agree upon protocols for bargaining, the employer’s team informed us that they would not be able to provide us with the salary and compensation portion of their proposal on October 21 as agreed. Due to what they classified as “matters beyond our control,” they said they could provide us most of their opening proposal on the 21st, but the salary and compensation piece would have to wait until November 12.
Because the agreement had been to exchange full and complete opening proposals on the 21st, and because the nature of these negotiations will be such that there is no point even looking at language proposals without knowing what the salary proposal is, the AASUA negotiating team saw no option but to reject the employer’s suggestion to present only a partial proposal on October 21. Instead, we asserted that we would wait to exchange full proposals on November 12 once the employer’s salary portion is ready.
What this means in practice is that, instead of negotiations beginning in earnest on November 2, this will not happen until November 25 at the earliest.
As you can imagine, the AASUA negotiating team was extremely disappointed by this news from the employer. The AASUA team was fully prepared and ready for the initial exchange of proposals back in March, but that was postponed by the employer because they needed to process the impacts of the provincial budget. After further delays due to the pandemic, your AASUA team was ready to begin again in September, but when we approached the employer’s team they asked for a delay until October 21. This now marks the third time that AASUA’s bargaining team has been fully ready with our opening proposal only to have the employer postpone the exchange.
The employer’s team was unable to provide us with a reason for the delay. What we do know, however, is that it has now been over seven months since we were supposed to commence bargaining, that we have been without a collective agreement since June 30, and that we are now being asked to wait even longer to begin negotiating a new one. AASUA members deserve better.
The AASUA is committed to keeping our members well-informed throughout the bargaining process, and we will be sending you an update on our and the employer’s opening proposals shortly after the exchange takes place.
As always, I welcome any thoughts, questions, or concerns you might have about this or anything else.