Q&As

Bargainingshow all Q&As on one page

What is a collective agreement?

A collective agreement is a written contract of employment covering a group of employees who are represented by a trade union. This agreement contains provisions governing the terms and conditions of employment.

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What is collective bargaining?

Collective bargaining is a process in which a trade union and an employer negotiate a first collective agreement or the renewal of a previous collective agreement.

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Is Brock currently in collective bargaining with any employee groups?

Yes, Brock is currently negotiating renewal collective agreements with two unions:

  • IATSE, Local 461 – Expired June 5, 2014 (Represents Stagehands in the Brock Centre for the Arts and the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts);
  • CUPE, Local 4207-3 – Expired July 6, 2014 (Represents ESL Instructors)

Brock University and the Brock University Faculty Association (representing Faculty and Professional Librarians) ratified a three-year agreement for the period between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2017.

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What happens if, during collective bargaining, the employer and the union cannot agree on the terms of a collective agreement?

Either the employer or the union may apply to the Ministry of Labour to appoint a conciliation officer. This officer will then try to help the parties reach an agreement.

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What is conciliation?

Conciliation is a process by which a union or an employer can apply to the Ministry of Labour for help in reaching a collective agreement.

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Has either party requested the appointment of a conciliation officer?

Yes, conciliation officers have been appointed in both cases of collective bargaining with the University.

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Does conciliation mean there will be a labour dispute?

No.  The conciliation officer will assist the parties in their efforts to reach a collective agreement.  A labour dispute can only occur if one of the parties’ requests and the Conciliation Officer issues a notice informing the parties that the Ministry “does not consider it advisable to appoint a conciliation board”. This notice is commonly known as the “no-board” report.

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Has a “no-board” report been requested by either party?

No.  The parties to the agreements in both cases of collective bargaining have not requested a “no board report” at this time. CUPE, Local 4207-3 and Brock University have met with the Conciliation Officer on 3 dates, and IATSE and Brock University are scheduled to meet with the Conciliation Officer on February 18.

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I heard that the Union has held a strike vote. What is a strike? What is a strike vote?

A strike is any cessation of work, including a work slowdown, resulting in an interruption of the employer’s operations by bargaining unit employees.

Bargaining unit members cannot lawfully strike unless a strike vote by secret ballot is taken by the Union and more than 50% of voting bargaining unit members vote in favour of a strike.  A successful strike vote authorizes the union’s representatives to set a strike deadline and call a strike if they believe that further negotiations will not reach a collective agreement.

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Does a strike vote mean that there will be a labour dispute?

No.  In addition to a positive strike vote, the following is required for a labour dispute to lawfully occur:

1)     The Collective Agreement must have expired;
2)     A Conciliation Officer must have been appointed and a “no board” issued; and
3)     17 days must have passed since the Minister of Labour has mailed the “no board” notice.

A “no-board” report has not been requested by the parties or issued by the Conciliation Officer in either case of collective bargaining at this time.

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