Brock University and CUPE 4207 Unit 1 employees have had ongoing discussions about a new collective agreement. As of now both parties have not been able to come to an agreement, and CUPE 4207 has set a deadline of March 3 at 12:01 a.m in which they could turn to a strike – the union notified the university in late January that if a deal is not reached workers may turn to a strike action. If a deal is not reached by that deadline however, CUPE 4207 does not have to follow through with a strike if the parties are close to a deal.
The previous collective agreement expired on September 6, 2016.
CUPE 4207 Unit 1 employees include: Instructors, Teaching Assistants, Lab Demonstrators, Marker/Graders and Course Coordinators.
The unions major points of negotiation are: Job security, benefits, wages, statutory holiday pay and Graduate student tuition assistance. Both Brock and CUPE 4207 met with a mediator on March 1, and have continued to meet with the mediator as of Thursday afternoon.
Many students around Brock have been posting on social media wondering how a potential strike could affect their studies. Here is what you need to know:
- If the Union does decide to strike, they have the right to impede normal flow of traffic onto campus. They may also disseminate information and interact with anyone who crosses the picket line.
- With the expected location of a strike being at the entrance to the Brock campus, St. Catharines buses and other transit will not be coming onto campus. The drop off location will be on the outskirts of the campus, which can be seen here: http://www.brockbusu.ca/wp-content/uploads/Transit-Labour-Disruption-Plan-2017.pdf
- Parking will still be available on-campus, but there will be delays to entering and leaving campus. It is expected that traffic could be backed up to the 406 highway.
- If there is a strike, lockout or work stoppage at Brock, it does not mean classes will be cancelled – it will all depend on the length and scope of the stoppage. However, professors and instructors can choose to cancel their classes if a strike does take place.
Students have the right not to cross the picket line, but student right go as followed, as seen on Brock University Students’ Union website:
“6.3 Protecting Students From Academic Penalty
Students who choose to not cross a legal picket line during a disruption shall not be penalized. Students are not absolved of the responsibility for completing their course requirements subject to the provisions of Sections 6.4 and 6.5.
6.4 Disruptions of Five or Fewer Working Days
Disruptions of academic activities of five or fewer working days will be governed by normal academic regulations approved by the Senate. Individual instructors are best able to determine what remedial action is required within the academic regulations to maintain the academic integrity of each course. Any remedial action shall include reasonable allowances for students who exercise their rights in accordance with 6.3. Reasonable allowances could include, but are not limited to, extension of deadlines, rescheduling make-up tests, modifying or deleting assignments, alternative access to course materials, and/or other special arrangements as appropriate for disruptions of up to five working days duration.
6.5 Disruptions of More than Five Working Days
Disruptions of academic activities of more than five working days’ duration shall be presumed to require modification to the teaching term and/or examination schedule. Immediately following the end of a disruption of academic activities of more than five working days, the Senate Governance Committee shall hold a special meeting to discuss the recommendations of the Provost and Vice President, Academic regarding remedial action for the maintenance of the academic programs of the University, including any extension to the academic term. Any remedial action shall include reasonable allowances for students who exercise their rights in accordance with 6.3. A special meeting of Senate shall then be convened, on the same day as the Governance Committee meets, to consider the recommendation of the Governance Committee. The five-day rule (FHB II: 7.1.3) will be automatically waived to ensure that Senate can consider any recommendations presented by the Governance Committee in a timely manner.”
- If you’re graduating this year, a short-term strike should not have a major impact on spring convocation. However, if the work stoppage is lengthy, the university will communicate any changes.
For a more in-depth look at frequently asked questions students can go to the following link: http://www.brockbusu.ca/updates/.
For updates on negotiations between Brock and CUPE 4207, check out the following links: