posted on Feb. 23: University and MUSA bargain throughout the night


The University and the McMaster University Staff Association (MUSA) returned to the table yesterday afternoon (Feb. 21) and bargained throughout the night with the last session running from 3:30 a.m. to 6:30 a.m.

“I think last night was the most productive session we've had,” said Dave Tucker, a member of the University's bargaining team. “People on both sides of the table were listening, being thoughtful and negotiating.”

MUSA asked the University for an extension of the freeze period past Feb. 27, which is when the union is in a position to call a strike provided a strike vote has been taken with the membership. The freeze period means that working conditions may not be altered and that current conditions will remain in effect until a collective agreement comes into effect or until a strike or lockout commences.

“We have absolutely no difficulty in giving MUSA a letter which states that the freeze remains in effect and the signed letter of agreement will be in their offices this morning,” said Mark Haley, assistant vice-president human resources and a member of the bargaining team. “In return, the University asked MUSA for a minimum of 24-hours notice if a strike was to be called but they were unwilling to give us that notice period.”

Issues discussed last evening include seniority, layoff and recall, appointments and promotions, and the University's team delivered a number of proposals on these issues to MUSA. The MUSA team will be considering them today and both teams will return to the table this evening.

“We are encouraged by the discussions we had and look forward to this evening's session,” said Dave Tucker. “We are also hoping that MUSA will table their monetary proposal this evening because, without knowing about their monetary needs for basic rates of pay, it will become increasingly difficult to discuss other issues that have a monetary component.”

Editor's note: MUSA president Barry Diacon and negotiating committee chair Ron Lodewyks have both been contacted for a comment for this story.