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Tuesday September 24th, 2013

Posted at 8:59pm

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On Monday, University of Windsor president Alan Wildeman sent a letter to the campus community speaking out about the current labor dispute between the university and Local 1393.

Today, in response, CUPE 1393 issued the following letter:

Dear members of the University of Windsor campus community:

Recently, UWindsor president Alan Wildeman sent you a message regarding the strike between CUPE 1393 and the University of Windsor.

The members of CUPE 1393 feel strongly that the assignment submitted to you by President Wildeman is incomplete, either by accident or design. The picture painted by Administration of the outstanding issues and how we as a campus community got here contains almost too many omissions to list—omissions that paint a very different picture from the incomplete one presented to you earlier this week.

For example, while President Wildeman rightly identifies the current joint job evaluation process and ‘bumping’ as the two central issues in the dispute, his analysis of these issues leaves out extremely important information.

He contrasts our job evaluation system with that used by other bargaining groups, but fails to note that all of us are using the Hay system – the world’s most widely used method of work measurement and role evaluation. He also neglects to take into account that this system also functions as our pay equity system. Frankly, we are astonished that in 2013, we are being forced to defend the entire notion of equal pay for work of equal value.

While the President is quick to cite large dollar figures and percentage increases that supposedly are caused by joint job evaluation, he omits that these are in many cases the result of the first evaluation by positions that have been newly brought into our union, after previously being non-union administration. He also omits that the backlog creating lump sum back payments result from the Administration’s own failure to complete evaluations in a timely manner.

More importantly, President Wildeman fails to mention that the evaluation process is done ‘jointly,’ and any evaluation has to be agreed upon by both the union and management. If there is no agreement on an evaluation, it is referred to arbitration.

While his letter refers to “unlimited bumping,” clause 9:05 of our last collective agreement limits any employee to just two “test drives” – a 60-day period of familiarization in a position. It also curiously omits that the logjams that take place during the bumping process are largely self-inflicted by management, which frequently denies bumps with little reason, forcing employees to bump on multiple occasions. Delays caused by HR’s unwillingness or inability to review bumps in a timely manner are a major contributor to the logjams the President decries.

Most important of all, President Wildeman fails to mention that on both of these issues, CUPE 1393 has always been prepared to sit down and negotiate an agreement that respects their priorities. Throughout this round of bargaining, Local 1393 has always been ready to roll up our sleeves and find solutions that make the University work better for everybody.

Negotiations require hard work and compromise from both sides. No side ever gets everything they want during collective bargaining. Our commitment to the you— the students, faculty and staff of the University of Windsor— remains the same today as it was when this strike began more than two weeks ago: we want this strike to end, and we’re ready to bargain as long as it takes to reach a collective agreement that is fair to all parties, while protecting quality post-secondary education at the University of Windsor.

Now that the Administration has finally returned to the bargaining table, we hope they share our commitment to staying there until the assignment is complete.

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