As sent to all members on 25 July 2011 by qufacomm:
Dear QUFA Members:
After a disappointing session on Thursday, QUFA met again on Friday with the Administration’s bargaining team and a provincial conciliator. The discussion focussed entirely on financial matters. QUFA presented its benefits proposal, which is designed to bring a number of our benefits in line with prevailing norms, and which our benefits consultants anticipate can be funded out of existing benefit-plan surpluses. In addition, QUFA would like to reserve the right to conduct an assessment of the existing Long-Term Disability (LTD) income plan within 90 days of a signed agreement. The assessment would determine if the current LTD plan provides the best value compared to other plans and, if needed, propose appropriate changes to the plan.
The Administration has clearly rejected the historical faculty salary model that has been in place since 1984, while attempting to argue that it is not rejecting the model, but just reducing the size of its elements. This is clearly specious. The basic premises of the salary model are twofold: (1) from starting salary to career-end, a Member’s salary will, in constant dollars, rise to a ratio of 1 to 2.15; and (2) a career is predicted to be 35 years. By reducing the annual PTR steps to one-half, for example, either a Member will never reach the career-end goal, or he or she will have to work for 70 years to get there!
On Friday afternoon, a small window seemed to open. For the first time since tabling the pension restructuring proposals on 7 June 2011, the Administration engaged in a substantive discussion. Although nothing concrete was resolved, it was the first sign that something may be negotiable. QUFA still has outstanding questions from our actuaries that need to be answered. Once our actuaries have all the material, we are optimistic that we will be able to develop alternative pension proposals that do a better job of sharing costs and risks.
The conciliator’s next available dates were 11 and 12 August 2011. On Friday afternoon, QUFA and the Administration agreed to meet on those days.
At 10:10 a.m. this morning (Monday 25 July 2011), QUFA was informed by the Administration that they were requesting that the conciliator file a “no board” report. Thus, the Administration has moved to end conciliation and start the clock ticking towards a date in mid-August at which time the parties would be in a legal lockout or strike situation.
This is a state of affairs that we did not want. We remain willing to meet and to negotiate. However, the Administration seems determined to continue its strategy of forcing us into submission.
Chief Negotiator, QUFA