posted on Feb. 15:University and MUSA to resume negotiations


The University has received a 'No Board' report from the Ministry of Labour which means that MUSA (McMaster University Staff Association) is in a legal position to strike 17 days after the issuing of the report, provided that a strike vote is held with its membership.

This means that at 12:01 a.m. on Feb. 27, MUSA may legally call for strike action, provided a strike vote has been taken with its membership and the result of that vote authorizes the union to call a strike.

“MUSA and the University have agreed to return to the table,” said Mark Haley, assistant vice-president, human resources and a member of the University's negotiating team. “We have tentatively agreed that the sub-committee discussing the classification system will resume its work on Monday and both bargaining teams will return to the table on Wednesday, Feb. 21 in the afternoon. The University has committed to remaining at the table around the clock and working hard to achieve an agreement. The union and the University have also asked that a mediator join us at the table. We believe that this assistance will be beneficial.”

The mediator will be Bill Cormier, the individual who has acted as the conciliator up to this point in the process. His appointment as mediator has been agreed to by the University and MUSA, and he has confirmed his availability to begin bargaining on Feb. 21 through the weekend and into the following week.

“The University's team is committed to staying at the table 24 hours a day if necessary,” said Haley. “We recognize that this is intense work and that we will need the assistance of the mediator. We're encouraged that MUSA has agreed to a block of dates and to the presence of the mediator.”

Over the past two days, the University's bargaining team has met with a large number of managers to talk about the proposals on the table and to seek input from managers from across the University.

“Managers and MUSA members alike need to understand all of the implications of the proposals that are on the table,” said Haley. “When we reach an agreement, our managers will be expected to administer and manage within that agreement so we need to keep them apprised of developments at the table. We will continue to do this as talks progress. Both bargaining teams have lots of work to do to reach an agreement; compromise by both the union and the University will be required.”

Editor's note: MUSA president Barry Diacon was contacted for a comment for this story.