Background Information on Conciliation

As you know, on December 6, 2010, the ASTFA filed for conciliation with the Province.  The intent of this request is that after 8 months of protracted negotiations, the Association wants to see a fair collective agreement concluded in a timely way.

It is important for all ASTFA members to be informed of the issues and concerns in this process.  Be sure to keep in touch with your bargaining team and to support them. The mandate you have given them and have re-affirmed is the foundation for their work to achieve an acceptable settlement that they will bring back for your consideration.

The Mount Saint Vincent University Faculty Association recently requested conciliation as well. They have provided some information to their membership that is worthwhile to reprint here in red, for your information:

Q. What’s conciliation?

A. Conciliation is governed by the Trade Union Act of Nova Scotia and administered by the Minister of Labour and Workforce Development. When an impasse is reached in negotiations, one of the parties may request the Minister to appoint a conciliation officer. This officer will act as an intermediary between the two sides and attempt to reach an acceptable settlement. If an agreement cannot be reached, the conciliation officer files what is called a “No Board report”.

There is then a cooling-off period of two weeks to allow the two sides to consider the consequences of not reaching an agreement. At the end of that period the union is in a legal strike position, and the Employer can legally lockout its employees.

For more information see http://www.gov.ns.ca/lwd/conciliation/conciliation.asp

Q. What’s a strike vote?

A. As governed by the Trade Union Act of Nova Scotia, a strike vote requires a secret ballot, and to be successful, a strike must be supported by the majority of all members, not just of those voting. If needed, arrangements will be made to submit ballots by mail, by e-mail as well as on site.

For more information see http://nslegislature.ca/legc/statutes/tradeun.htm article 47 (3) (a)

When MSVUFA took a strike vote was in 2004 (85.9% in favour), this was an important factor in the successful outcome of conciliation.

The  ASTFA’s goal in this process  is to negotiate a fair collective agreement. After 8 months of reflecting on the document and meeting for negotiations, the Board’s negotiating team has elected not to respond in full to our proposals. The ASTFA has as a result requested conciliation, which we believe will facilitate discussions and help us achieve our objective of a fair collective agreement. As part of this process, the ASTFA must prepare itself for any eventuality; a strike vote is part of that preparation.  A strike, however, would be a last-resort option.  Our goal is to reach a negotiated settlement.

We have had positive relations with the Board and the Administration over the years, and we are hopeful that they will respond reasonably and in full to our proposal, and without further delays.  The ASTFA remains committed to doing all it can to conclude an agreement.

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