AESES-UM Bargaining (2019)
June 3, 2021
For those members who attended our recent Annual General Meeting, thank you for taking time to participate and ask questions, and for sharing your concerns on the status of bargaining at the University of Manitoba. It is understandable that frustration is building given we are now in our third year without a contract.
Several factors have led to the extremely slow bargaining process, which is consistent with most public sector unions’ experiences. The biggest obstacle to this round of negotiations has been the Pallister Government and the Public Services Sustainability Act (PSSA). Even though public service unions took the government to court and won, our employers are fearful of opposing the mandate issued by the Provincial government due to their large role in the funding of the universities. On June 2, the PSSA appeal launched by the government will be heard by the Manitoba Court of Appeal. We expect that it will take several months before a ruling will be issued. Regardless of the outcome, an appeal to the Supreme Court is expected.
As we have indicated in previous communications, COVID-19 also created difficulties in continuing with our bargaining efforts. At the start of the pandemic, everything was put on pause as we navigated the impacts of the virus in our work communities and the closures of the universities’ campuses. This created an even greater volume of work for the AESES Office as we dealt with, and continue to deal with, members’ questions and concerns about their individual situations.
Work also continues on the grievances that were filed on behalf of over 200 members temporarily laid off last year due to improper application of the collective agreement. This undertaking has required a considerable amount of our time and resources and has proven to be a substantial matter that is still ongoing.
Through our pandemic survey, we learned that our members are becoming exhausted – not just from pandemic fatigue but also from the growing workload that has resulted for so many. AESES members have pulled out all the stops to give more and more of themselves to keep the University operating close to normal. In spite of this, members feel invisible to the Administration. At both the bargaining table, and other meetings with the University, we have continually expressed that AESES members are the backbone of university operations and are deserving of respect and recognition.
Bargaining has been slow, cumbersome and at times stagnant as the Employer has yet to provide a contract offer for either the Bargaining Team or our members to consider. In more recent weeks, however, there have been additional exchanges between Human Resources and our Bargaining Team. Our goal is to have a comprehensive offer that is reasonable enough to bring to the membership as soon as possible.
Until then, I encourage all of you to get vaccinated and keep practicing physical distancing, masking, etc. and to follow all of the restrictions. If we all do this, we will get back to some resemblance of normalcy and hopefully that will be sooner rather than later.
March 24, 2021
Bargaining with the University of Manitoba has proved challenging during the COVID-19 pandemic and within the constraints of government interference limiting monetary gains. Regardless, there has been ongoing communication between our Bargaining Team and the University. This has included a number of virtual meetings with additional meetings being planned. Understandably, the pandemic has presented its own difficulties and virtual meetings have been less efficient than in-person.
While working within this challenging environment, the parties have been busy exchanging contract language for review and consideration. In addition, the AESES Bargaining Team undertook a comprehensive review of our bargaining priorities in order to re-evaluate our strategic direction. As part of this review, results from the recent survey of the membership on how they are managing during the pandemic were also evaluated and considered.
While some priorities have been altered, the overall goals remain unchanged for our Bargaining Team. We continue to focus on the preservation of the current rights within the collective agreement and to seek improvements. As of the date of this message, no comprehensive offer has been provided from the University.
The Bargaining Team appreciates the members’ patience during these unprecedented times. All of us would have preferred to have had this resolved long before now but many factors have disrupted the normal bargaining process. As new information becomes available additional notifications will be forthcoming.
November 20, 2020
On Monday, November 16, AESES and the University met to resume bargaining after a lengthy pause in the process. While there were several valid reasons for the pause, rest assured AESES has been working hard behind the scenes to represent our members’ best interests since day one.
Most members should be familiar with the Public Services Sustainability Act (PSSA)—government legislation meant to control the monetary aspects of the bargaining process for public sector employees—and how the court struck it down earlier this year as it was deemed unconstitutional. The decision was announced in June, following the completion of a trial earlier this year. Ultimately, the court ruling is significant for our members as we believe the government does not have a hand in our negotiations with the University and that any monetary freezes must be negotiated through the bargaining process rather than through heavy-handed government interference. That being said, the government has signalled their intention of appealing the decision so this issue will likely be tied up in the courts for quite some time.
In addition to the court case, we are all managing life during a pandemic. The effects of COVID-19 are far-reaching and have affected all of us in various ways. Beginning in April, AESES saw the start of temporary layoffs of our members; the number of affected staff has now surpassed 140 members, with many being recalled to work but others remaining laid off with no known return dates on the horizon. AESES has been active in representing our members on this front, in addition to the multitude of other COVID-19 issues that have arisen.
Finally, COVID-19 has meant that our bargaining teams have had to adapt to a new bargaining model. We can no longer meet face-to-face and this has affected our bargaining process as we were committed to the Interest-Based Negotiation (IBN) style, which allowed for more natural discussions to occur. Instead, we have moved our negotiations to an online format, and this certainly presents new challenges. Although our bargaining team members are still able to contribute to the negotiations, they must do so within the confines of video conferencing.
Several of our members reached out to AESES following our update on the potential UMFA strike action, and they asked about the status of our bargaining and when they can expect a new contract. For the reasons above, AESES wants to assure you that we have not abandoned our members and our fight for the best possible negotiated agreement. The UMFA situation immediately preceding our return to bargaining suggests to us that we will likely face significant challenges to seeking monetary improvements; however, our priority remains to bargain for a contract reflective of our members’ interests and this includes pressing for monetary improvements. We hear our members and are strongly opposed to both the government’s and the University’s austerity measures.
Going forward, the AESES bargaining team will be meeting twice per week with the University’s bargaining team to attempt to negotiate a contract that reflects our members’ interests. Currently, we are scheduled to meet right up until the winter break, although we could finish sooner or later depending on how things progress. We will continue to work towards the best possible negotiated agreement for our members. Furthermore, we will endeavour to provide more frequent bargaining updates to our members now that we are back at the table.
December 1, 2019
No new updates at this time.
October 1, 2019
Bargaining at the University of Manitoba has been on hold over the summer and the two sides have not met since late June. The AESES Bargaining Team has met on their own to review proposals and to establish and confirm priorities for proposals moving forward. There are no new dates set for bargaining yet, however the sessions will likely resume in October.
July 31, 2019
AESES and the University have held weekly bargaining sessions which commenced in mid-April and concluded at the end of June. The sessions were a mix of half-days and full-days and were conducted in the Interest-Based Negotiation (IBN) format along with guidance from a third-party facilitator.
The process is more time consuming; however, this was expected due to utilizing the IBN format. Unlike traditional bargaining, IBN allows for thorough discussions on issues. This includes fulsome exchanges of information allowing each side to provide detailed explanations of their underlying interests. The process then moves to the brainstorming of potential solutions to those issues so that mutually agreeable resolutions can be reached.
Discussions so far have taken place around issues such as leaves relating to vacation time, sick time, maternity/parental leaves, personal leaves, and family care. Additionally, there have been conversations on professional development opportunities, critical incident protocols, and the position discontinuance process. While some matters have been dealt with, the majority of issues currently remain unresolved.
We also have yet to discuss monetary items and AESES is keenly aware of the constraints being placed on public sector employers by the provincial government. These restrictions severely inhibit the potential for monetary gains during bargaining. As a result, our members will likely experience a net salary loss when taking cost-of-living increases into consideration. Given this limitation, we are attempting to secure other important contract improvements that will be beneficial to our members.
Bargaining is currently on hold for the summer and we plan to resume meetings in the fall.
June 3, 2019
At the University of Manitoba, the AESES-UM General Membership Meeting was held on April 8th, where the bargaining proposals were approved by those in attendance. Following the membership meeting, the AESES and University bargaining teams attended Interest-Based Negotiation (IBN) training in April. From there, they have begun bargaining using the IBN format, along with a third-party facilitator. Thus far, there have been several full-day bargaining sessions and both sides have presented their issues and interests for thorough discussion.
April 1, 2019
At the University of Manitoba, the Bargaining Team is working on finalizing the dates for the start of their bargaining process with the employer, likely to take place this spring.
December 3, 2018
At the University of Manitoba the work of the AESES-UM Negotiation Committee is now complete and a Bargaining Team has been struck, consisting of seven members and two alternates. Team members include:
- Member: Will Christie (IST)
- Member: Ilka Cudmore (C.H. Riddell Faculty of Environment, Earth, and Resources)
- Member: Patti Dickieson (Kinesiology)
- Member: Chris McCann (IST)
- Member: Rob Parker (Dean’s Office, Faculty of Arts)
- Member: Melinda Sasek (Kinesiology)
- Alternate: Rob Dvorski (IST)
- Alternate: Matt Trump (Security Services)
- President: Laurie Morris (Philosophy)
- AESES Executive Director: Lisa McKendry
- AESES Labour Relations Officer: Lorne Hilton
- AESES Member Services Officer: Colleen Thompson
The AESES-UM Bargaining Team has just started to meet to finalize the proposals and arrange them into a format for eventual presentation to the membership for their approval.
The team’s aim is to negotiate a new contract which best reflects the interests of our membership!
October 1, 2018
Over at the University of Manitoba, the AESES-UM Negotiation Committee continues to meet on a weekly basis. The team is in the process of discussing and reviewing all potential proposals which were submitted by members for consideration, as well as those developed by the AESES Business Office, in order to negotiate a new contract which best reflects the interests of our membership.
There are a large number of proposals to go through, so the work of this committee will continue throughout October, and possibly November, before a Bargaining Team is elected.
The current 4-year Collective Agreement with the University of Manitoba expires in April 2019.
August 1, 2018
The current 4-year Collective Agreement with the University of Manitoba is set to expire on April 5, 2019. A Negotiation Committee was recently formed, with the following members elected by acclamation as representatives to a position on the AESES-UM Negotiation Committee:
District 3: Gloria Saindon (Registrar’s Office)
District 4: Patti Dickieson (Kinesiology)
District 4: Melinda Sasek (Kinesiology)
District 5: Shannon Wiebe (Natural Resources Institute)
District 6: Will Christie (IST)
District 6: Ilka Cudmore (C.H. Riddell Faculty of Environment, Earth, and Resources)
District 7: Gerry Strom (Dean’s Office, Faculty of Arts)
District 7: Rob Dvorski (IST)
District 8: Rob Parker (Dean’s Office, Faculty of Arts)
District 8: Tony Wong (IST)
District 30: Heather Brownlee (Dentistry)
District 35: Andrew Lund (Dean’s Office, Medicine)
President: Laurie Morris (Philosophy)
Executive Appt: Lorna Cameron (Music Library
Executive Appt: Chris McCann (IST)
Executive Appt: Matt Trump (Security Services)
Executive Appt: Justin Wilson (Philanthropy)
AESES Executive Director: Lisa McKendry
AESES Labour Relations Officer: Lorne Hilton
AESES Member Services Officer: Colleen Thompson
The team has begun meeting to discuss and review potential proposals, as submitted by the membership and the AESES Business Office, working on your behalf to negotiate a new contract which best reflects the interests of our membership.
July 31, 2018
With the current collective agreement expiring on April 5, 2019, AESES has now formed its Negotiation Committee at UM, in preparation for the start of the bargaining process.
As part of the process, we invited all AESES-UM members to submit suggested negotiation proposals and changes to our current collective agreement (available for download here).
Thanks to all those who have already submitted their suggestions. We would like to provide a further opportunity for proposals to be submitted. The new deadline to do so is August 24, 2018. The proposal form can be downloaded here.
Proposals can be mailed in to AESES, c/o Mailroom, University of Manitoba. They can also be submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line ‘Negotiation Proposals,’ or by fax to 204-949-5215.
May 17, 2018
Please be reminded that tomorrow, May 18, is the deadline to receive nominations for members to join the AESES-UM Negotiation Committee. In preparation for starting our bargaining process with UM, we are still looking for more members to join our team. Take a moment to read through this document and if interested, fill in the nomination form on page 2.
Please contact the AESES business office with any questions at email@example.com or 204-949-5200.
May 2, 2018
AESES is preparing to start the bargaining process at UM in light of our current collective agreement expiring on April 5, 2019. As such, the nomination process for members to join the AESES-UM Negotiation Committee is now open. The deadline to receive nominations is May 18, 2018. The nomination form appears on page 2 of this document.
We also invite all members to submit suggested amendments to our current collective agreement (available for download here) and negotiation proposals. The deadline to do so is June 8, 2018. The proposal form appears on page 4 of this document. Proposals can also be submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line ‘Negotiation Proposals.’