Certification, grievance procedures discussed at workshop


Members of the McMaster University Staff Association (MUSA) and McMaster University's administration met Tuesday, Jan. 25 at Wentworth House for a workshop on the impact of certification, the application of statues such as the Human Rights Code and the Employment Standards Act, and the current policies which cover individual rights, grievances and the grievance procedure discipline.

The morning-long session was delivered by Brian Switzman, a professional labour negotiator who has worked with MUSA for about three years. He opened the session with the idea that, while there are a variety of ways that management and unions can choose to work together, a “community model” is highly desirable, and that the presence of MUSA members and management at the workshop was an encouraging sign.

The workshop, originally scheduled for MUSA members, was opened to a broader audience at the suggestion of Paul Donoghue, interim vice-president administration.

“When Mr. Diacon talked with me about the session, I thought it made good sense to involve management staff as well,” said Donoghue.”The expected certification of MUSA means that MUSA members and managers will need to understand the new relationship and what better way to start than by learning together.”

It is anticipated that MUSA will receive certification from the Ontario Labour Relations Board in the coming months and, following certification, MUSA and McMaster University will negotiate the union's first contract.

“There are a number of benefits from having managers and MUSA members together at some sessions of this type,” said Barry Diacon, president of MUSA. “It helps lessen the potential tension level and ensures that everyone is working from the same information base. MUSA has talked a lot over the years about the need of training for managers and if we can arrange for a small part of it, that is all to the good. At the same time, MUSA will, of course, be organizing workshops which will be for members only.”