McMaster and Building Union of Canada meet with conciliator

The University met today with the Building Union of Canada (BUC) and a conciliator appointed by the province with the goal of reaching a new collective agreement. BUC represents approximately 260 cleaners and skilled trades at McMaster and the University has been in negotiations with the union for more than eight months.

During conciliation, the University presented two proposals. The union had an opportunity to agree to:

  • Wage increases for all its members
  • Lump sum cash payments to all members
  • A commitment  that all members will earn in excess of the current living wage in Hamilton
  • Increased hourly rates  to a range from $15.24/hour to $35.52/hour depending on the job
  • A voluntary retirement program providing payments of $15,000 for custodians  choosing to retire

The union rejected both University proposals.

When negotiations began last fall, the University discussed with the union its contingency plan which included the potential to switch to an external contractor for cleaning services if a contract could not be reached through bargaining.

In a letter last month, the University informed the union and its employees that it will continue to make every effort to achieve a reasonable agreement through conciliation but that the contingency plan will be put in place should a deal not be reached.

With the union’s rejection of today’s proposals, the University will continue with its contingency planning.  At the University’s request, the conciliator will now issue a “No Board” report.  Seventeen days after that report is received, the university will be in a legal position to switch to an external contractor for cleaning services.