posted on April 20: FAQ About the Final Offer and Vote on Monday, April 23


Human Resources has posted a document on its Web site containing Frequently Asked Questions About the Final Offer and Vote that will be held on Monday, April 23. For the convenience of readers who may be having difficulty finding the document, we've included the complete text below.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Final Offer and Vote
On Monday, April 23

Q: Can the employer request that employees vote on its final

A: Any time before or after the beginning of a legal strike or lock-out, the employer can request the Minister of Labour to direct a vote of the employees in the bargaining unit as to their acceptance or rejection of the employer's final offer. Upon the receipt of such a request, the Minister is obligated to direct such a vote to take place.

Q: Why is the University seeking a vote on an offer that the
MUSA negotiating team is not recommending to its

A: The University is seeking a vote for the following reasons:

1. Arbitration means a third-party resolution of issues by individuals who are not part of the university; decisions about fundamental issues relating to the ways in which we work should be made by those who are members of and work at the institution.

2. A proposal vote gives all MUSA members the opportunity to learn what is in the final offer and to have their say about it; providing people with information and allowing them the chance to consider the issues for themselves and to make their own choice is consistent with the philosophy of a university.

3. The vote provides for a more timely and speedy resolution of the dispute, one that enables employees to enjoy sooner the improvements to wages and working conditions contained in the final offer; it is not unusual for arbitration to take many months.

Q: Both the University and MUSA have filed complaints
against one another of bargaining in bad faith. Will the
Board hear these complaints before the vote is held?

A: The Labour Relations Act states that it is not necessary to establish that bad faith bargaining has occurred to obtain a direction to arbitration.

Q: Where and when is the vote being held?

A:The vote is on Monday, April 23. It will be conducted by the Ontario Labour Relations Board. Polling times and locations are:

Poll 1: 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., First Floor Lobby, Ewart Angus Centre

Poll 2: 1-5 p.m., First Floor Lobby, Togo Salmon Hall

Poll 3: Travelling poll to area hospitals, as follows:

10 a.m.-11:30 a.m. Conference Room “A” (Cafeteria), Henderson Hospital

12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m. Conference Room F134, Fontbonne Building,

St. Joseph's Hospital

2:15 p.m.-3:15 p.m. Pillar's Room (Cafeteria),

Hamilton General Hospital

4 p.m.-5:15 p.m.Patterson Boardroom, Chedoke Hospital

Voting will also take place at McMaster sites in Sioux Lookout, Thunder Bay,Collingwood and Chalk River.

Note: Members may vote at any poll. There is no proxy voting.

Q: Will I get time at work to vote?

A: All MUSA members will be given appropriate time off work to cast their ballots. In some cases, departments and areas are providing a specific time for MUSA staff to vote.

Q: When will the result of the vote be known?

A: The ballots will be counted at the end of the voting day and the result should be known in the late evening. The vote will succeed if 50% plus one (of those who cast ballots) vote yes.

Q: What happens if MUSA members approve the final offer?

A: If members accept the final offer, it immediately becomes the collective agreement between McMaster and MUSA.

Q: What if MUSA members reject the final offer?

A: The University will await the outcome of MUSA's application to the Ontario Labour Relations Board for a Compulsory Arbitration Board.

Q: The union is requesting a Compulsory Arbitration Board
(CAB). What is this?

A: Negotiations for a first collective agreement are often very difficult because the parties are new to a collective bargaining relationship. As a result, the Labour Relations Act provides that if a union and an employer are unable to reach a first collective
agreement, either party can apply to the Board for a direction that the agreement be settled by arbitration. If a direction is made by the Board, a separate proceeding is held to settle the terms of the first collective agreement. [Ontario Labour Relations Act, s. 43]

Q: Does the Board automatically grant a CAB?

A: There is no guarantee that the OLRB would grant a CAB. The Board will authorize arbitration where it appears that collective bargaining has been unsuccessful due to:

– the refusal of the employer to recognize the bargaining authority of the union

– the uncompromising nature of any bargaining position adopted by the responding party without reasonable justification

– the failure of the responding party to make reasonable or expeditious efforts to conclude a collective agreement; or

– any other reason the Board considers relevant.

Q: What is arbitration?

A: A third-party appointed by the OLRB hears evidence presented by both the union and the employer on issues in dispute and hands down a binding decision.

Q: Why does the University prefer a vote over arbitration?

A: The University asked MUSA to take the final offer to its membership for a vote, as it had done in February with the University's initial offer. The union declined. The University believes its employees should be given an opportunity to vote on the final offer. (See also earlier Q/A explaining University's reasons for requesting a vote.)

Q: What happens if MUSA's application for a CAB is

A: A separate proceeding is held to settle the terms of the final agreement.

Q: How can I get a copy of the University's final offer?

A: The final offer will be provided to all MUSA members well before the vote. Managers will also be given copies. The full proposal is also available on the Human Resources Web site at”>

Q: The compensation outlined in the final offer sounds
complex. How can I find out what the offer means to me?

A: Human Resources is preparing information packages for all MUSA members. Each member will receive a personalized information sheet explaining changes in his/her compensation that would result from the final offer.

Q: Does the statement on pay equity, contained in the
section on compensation, preclude individual MUSA
members from discussing/seeking future adjustments to
salaries relating to pay equity?

A: Under this clause, MUSA and the University are agreeing that the salary grid structure complies fully with the terms of the Pay Equity Act. Essentially, both groups are agreeing that the grid, and the components of the grid, comply with the act and no adjustments are/will be required under the term of the agreement. However, the rights of individual members to raise issues relating to pay equity are reserved.

Q: Where can I find more information about the Ontario
Labour Relations Act?

A: The act can be found on the Web at:”> (Click on “A Guide to the Labour
Relations Act”).

Q: Why is the word “Draft” included on the inside cover of the final offer? Does this mean the offer could change?

A: The word “Draft” simply means that spelling errors, typographical errors, or other clerical errors may be corrected before final printing if any are discovered. The University's final offer document, which all MUSA members have received, has been submitted to the Ontario Labour Relations Board as the University's final offer. If the vote on the final offer is yes, changing the substance of the offer is not possible.

Q: Why is the final offer referred to as a “tentative agreement” on the cover page? Does this mean both the University and union have agreed to the offer?

A: The cover page (which includes the words “tentative agreement” and the names of the signees for both the University and the union) is the normal cover page which is attached to virtually every offer of this sort. It was presented to the union as the cover page to the University's final offer on April 5. It does not mean that there is agreement on the offer. It does not mean that the union agreed to recommend this document to its members.

Q: I'm concerned about the Pay Equity clause. What does it mean to me?

A: The University administers its pay equity policy in accordance with pay equity legislation and is guided by the reposted pay equity plan dated September, 1995. Both MUSA and the University agreed to this plan. The article in the final offer requires that the union raise any future pay equity concerns during collective bargaining. It does not, in any way, remove the right of an individual to bring forward a complaint.

Q: The information package I received from Human Resources assigns me to a pay grade based on job evaluation points? How was this done?

A: The University and MUSA agreed to the structure of the salary grid including pay grades and pay steps. They also agreed to convert existing job evaluation points to grades.