CUPE 4163 (Component 3) Bargaining Update

As you may be aware, the university has been negotiating a new collective agreement with CUPE local 4163 (Comp 3) over the past few months. Component 3 of CUPE 4163 represents sessional instructors and music performance instructors at UVic. Over the course of an academic year, the university employs up to 800 sessional instructors represented by CUPE 4163 (Comp 3).

Last month, CUPE 4163 (Comp 3) organized a strike vote for the 219 members who were eligible to vote at that time. As is normally the case, the union received a positive strike mandate. Specifically, 84 of the 91 members who cast ballots voted in favour of a strike. As mentioned in previous updates, it is not unusual for unions to undertake strike votes to encourage the parties to bargain to conclusion.

On Aug. 8, the university tabled a full settlement package in an effort to successfully conclude negotiations and avoid any disruption that the union’s job action could have on students, faculty and other staff. Unfortunately, the union’s negotiating team not only rejected the university’s offer, but also declined to table a counter proposal, or book a future negotiation session. The union has applied to the Labour Relations Board (LRB) to initiate the designation of essential services process, a precursor to possible job action.

There are only a few issues left to resolve in collective bargaining with CUPE 4163 (Comp 3). The university remains confident that it can reach a renewed collective agreement under the provincial government’s Sustainable Services Negotiations Mandate as we recently have done with the Faculty Association and PEA, whose new contracts took effective July 1, 2019. To date, more than 220,000 public sector employees have renewed agreements negotiated under the Mandate. To that end, the university has requested that the Labour Relations Board appoint a mediator to assist the parties to reach agreement on the last few issues.

A positive strike vote gives the union a window of three months to decide and act on any form(s) of strike action it might introduce. Before any type of job action can be undertaken, the LRB must officially issue an essential services order. The essential services designation process can take several weeks. It first involves discussions between the university and all of its unions, and then if necessary, the assistance of the LRB to mediate or adjudicate essential services and staffing levels. In the coming days, Human Resources staff will be in touch with key unit leaders to develop a proposed essential services plan.

The university is committed to reaching a new collective agreement as quickly as possible that meets the needs of our students and employees. We believe it is important to keep everyone informed as the bargaining and essential service designation processes unfold. Perspectives on the bargaining process are bound to differ. The university administration's bargaining updates are a source of accurate information that are designed to keep you informed during the process. Updates will continue to be posted to the UVic bargaining website