M Union Drive 2018

 

TOWARDS UNION RECOGNITION! 

 Frequently Asked Questions

 

Message from the President of MUNACA

We are very pleased and excited to announce that there is a unionization campaign to organize the M’s (except M’s 4 as they are considered cadre) which has just begun. Should the campaign be successful, a new revitalised MUNACA will become a powerful force at McGill. We will be able to bring this new force to bear upon the administration to ensure successful negotiations. In doing so, we will be able to vastly improve the working conditions for all, which will enable us to bring our salaries and working conditions in line with the rest of the University sector.

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Message from Ms supporting the drive (the M Committee)

There is a group of M volunteers working with MUNACA on a drive to unionize Ms at McGill. We are approaching Level 1, 2 and 3 managers and hope that you will be interested in knowing more about this and supporting the initiative.

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Section I

Joining a Union:

 

Why join a union?

Employees benefit when we can use our collective strength and bargaining power to negotiate improvements to our working conditions with our employers. Many may feel that they can do a better job negotiating their own salaries through the merit exercise. This may be the case if you are on good terms with your manager(s), but what happens when it is no longer the case?

We live in an increasingly individualist society where looking after each other, and being part of the collective is not as common as it once was.

Unions help to buck this trend. We are stronger when we work together. We can achieve much more when we band together.

If we recognize that we can bring our own unique energies, skills, attitudes and ideas together, we will all benefit.

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What can my colleagues and I gain from unionizing?

It starts with our issues. What needs to be fixed in our workplace?

Workers do not have to stand for unfair practices and treatment. Provincial and federal employment standards offer minimum protections, but a union negotiated collective agreement gives workers more protection and benefits including:

  • workplace freedoms that non-unionized workers don’t have
  • pay and benefits that are negotiated
  • enhanced terms and conditions of work
  • a grievance process for dealing with breaches of the collective agreement
  • union training to build strong locals
  • union representation on complicated labour relations matters

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What is a union collective agreement?

Our collective agreement (or contract) contains all the terms and conditions of work, including salary and benefits.

Our collective agreement is negotiated between the employer and our union.

It is a legal document which the employer and the union must both abide by. If either break those rules, an independent third party – arbitrator/adjudicator – has the power to rule on the matter.

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What can be negotiated into a collective agreement?

Our collective agreement will include negotiated salary, salary scale, annual increase, job security, enhanced benefits, improved health and safety, dispute resolution processes, to name a few.

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Who bargains with the employer to get our collective agreement?

We elect a bargaining committee from the membership. PSAC provides a negotiator and research officer to lead and support the process. The negotiator is the spokesperson at the bargaining table, the members of the bargaining committee who make the decisions.

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Do we have a say in what gets negotiated?

We can provide input to the bargaining process when a bargaining survey goes out from the bargaining team. The members approve in general assembly the requests that will be presented to the administration of the University

The members vote on the tentative agreement that was negotiated. Whatever tentative agreement the bargaining team negotiates then goes to a vote of the membership to be accepted or rejected before it comes into force. If this agreement doesn’t reflect the priorities of the membership and is rejected, then the bargaining team returns to the negotiating table.

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Why should I join a union if I don’t have any issues with my employer?

We all want favourable labour relations and a healthy workplace.

A change in management may create a sea change in workplace climate.

With a collective agreement, our wages and working conditions are protected and cannot be undercut by the employer. Our collective agreement provides us with a range of protections and benefits. Other employees may encounter issues at work that could be resolve by being unionized. Signing a union card benefits not just you as an individual, but helps all colleagues in the workplace.

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Don’t unions protect incompetent employees?

It is a myth that unions protect incompetent workers. The union’s role is to make sure the employer acts fairly and doesn’t fire anyeone without having adequate grounds. All employees have the right to be represented by their union, but a union can not defend the indefensible. If an employee is not doing their job properly, it is the employer’s responsibility to supervise and to dismiss if necessary. A union can only ensure that the procedures in place are respected.

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Section II

Joining MUNACA/PSAC:

 

How does PSAC work with and support MUNACA?

Basically, PSAC supports MUNACA in the union local’s work to represent its members by providing services. PSAC is the parent union and MUNACA is one of its locals. PSAC provides services to all its locals in terms of negotiation, legal representation, health and safety, representations in grievance arbitration, member training, etc. MUNACA has the responsibility to represent its members in front of the University, whether in matters of grievance, negotiation, etc. Representatives must also see to the proper functioning of the union by respecting the statutes and regulations of the union.

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Why is joining MUNACA better for Ms than establishing their own separate union?

Joining MUNACA will amount to approximately 3,000 members. Our objective is  to protect the rights of all non-academic employees. Our ability to negotiate a collective agreement will be strengthened, to bargain for more protection and benefits including:

  • workplace freedoms that non-unionized workers don’t have
  • pay and benefits that are negotiated
  • enhanced terms and conditions of work
  • a grievance process for dealing with breaches of the collective agreement
  • union training to build strong locals
  • union representation on complicated labour relations matters

Moreover, MUNACA has an excellent record with grievances and representing its members.

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What is the turnaround time from the time a member initiates contact to file a grievance, they are granted a meeting, and the grievance is filed with the University (if not resolved through a meeting)?

It all depends on the nature of the complaint and the position of the University vis-à-vis the complaint. If we can get along with the university at the beginning of the process, it may be a few weeks. If not, the grievance may be referred to an arbitrator. If so, the process can take an average of one year.

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I’m somewhat concerned about joining MUNACA since I have not always agreed with the decisions that they’ve made.

Decisions can often be questioned when we do not have all the information at hand that has led to decisions. That said, union representatives always work in the interest of members and it is to them and only to them that they are accountable.

As far as the M’s are concerned, when the union expands, they will have the same opportunity to be a part of the decision making process as any member would have.

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Why should I join MUNACA?

Ms will have the support of the parent union (PSAC). Numbers speak volumes. A union combined of C, T, L and M employees will present a strong position to have our rights protected.

MUNACA has a record of successfully negotiating their Collective Agreement for their members, and would negotiate on the following points for Ms:

  • Salary Policy
  • Employment Security for all MUNACA Members
  • Pay Equity Exercise
  • Restoration of Floating Days
  • Overtime
  • Seniority

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Negotiating Salary Policy

This year, MUNACA members received a 5% annual pay increase: a 2% economic increase, and a 3% step increase (except for those on the top of their scale). Economic and salary scale increases are negotiated and are protected by the Collective Agreement.  

Ms received a 3% salary policy envelope this year, comprised of a 1% economic increase and 2% merit. Salary policy can vary from year to year with no guarantee of what it will be. In 2012, Ms were the only non-academic group that did not receive salary policy or increase. We are the most vulnerable group because we are not unionized because we are the only group whose wages are not regulated in a collective agreement.

While the pot was 3% this year, you may not have received 3%. It is not rare to see leading or strong performers receive less. It is an extremely subjective exercise. MUNACA will negotiate the implementation of a structured salary scale.

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Negotiating Employment Security for all MUNACA members

MUNACA members have employment security after 24 months of continuous service. If their position is abolished, they remain on placement transition and continue to be paid until a new position is found.

Unless you were hired as an M prior to November 1, 1998 or have gained employment security as a MUNACA member promoted into an M position, you do not have employment security. Why does McGill not offer Ms employment security when MUNACA members benefit from it? Other universities such as Concordia, l’Université de Montréal, l’Université du Québec, etc. offer Ms employment security after 24 months of employment.

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Negotiating Engagement in a Pay Equity Exercise

Human Resources has never completed a pay equity exercise for Ms (although they were included in the initial pay equity exercise, but because we weren’t unionized, our representation on the committee was not as strong as it would have been otherwise), whereas pay equity exercises have been completed for other unionized groups. MUNACA would make this a priority after Ms join the bargaining unit.

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Negotiating the Restoration of Floating Days

A recent communique from Human Resources announced that employees, formerly MUNACA members, promoted into an M position on or after June 1, 2004, will no longer be eligible to the two Floating Holidays. The claim is that these employees have been erroneously receiving these floaters and that as of June 1, 2019, they will be taken away. Similarly, if in the past these employees opted to convert their floaters to an annual lump-sum payment, they will receive this payment once again for 2018-19, but not for 2019-20 and beyond. It has taken the University 14 years to come to this conclusion. MUNACA will negotiate to have these days granted to all its members.

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Negotiating Overtime

We are paid for a 33.75 hour-week, but it is rare to speak with a manager that doesn’t work much longer hours. It has become a practice that managers will work whatever it takes to meet deadlines without requesting overtime. There is an overtime policy https://www.mcgill.ca/hr/employee-relations/policies-procedures/salary-administration-policy, but few feel comfortable in requesting overtime because the additional hours worked are often expected.

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Negotiating Seniority

Recently an Agreement between MUNACA and McGill was signed concerning the interpretation of the article 8.13 of their Collective Agreement and the computation of seniority for casual employees. The University is undertaking to adjust the seniority of casual employees who are formerly known as Salaried Casuals Group 1 and 2 of the AMUSE collective agreement, and who later obtained a position included within the MUNACA/PSAC bargaining unit provided that they have maintained continuous service.

Many Ms were initially hired as Casual employees. The University has not offered the same opportunity to them. This can have an impact on the number of years of service we have at the University and the number of vacation days we are entitled to.

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Are we going to integrate the MUNACA collective agreement and have the same working conditions?

The MUNACA collective agreement will serve as a basis for negotiating a new one that will include articles and clauses that will be applicable to those classified as M such as salary scales.

A new collective agreement will be negotiated. Although several elements of the MUNACA collective agreement will be applicable to persons classified as “M” (grievance procedure, anti-harassment clause, etc.), several conditions specific to “M” will be negotiated in the collective agreement.

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Can Human Resources employees or those who represent the University in labour relation disputes  sign a card?

Human Resources managers or those who support labour relations may sign and join the union; however, the employer may ask that some staff  in specific roles be excluded.

Which employees may be excluded will only be decided after the application is made and there will not be another opportunity to sign a card after the decision is made. If you support unionization and are unsure if your position will be included, you should sign a card.

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Why didn’t AMUSE join MUNACA to make it a stronger and bigger union?

One of the primary reasons for the merger was the issue of replacement workers, AMUSE employees hired to fill in for MUNACA members on leave, doing the work of the MUNACA unit for lower salaries and fewer benefits.

The signing of MUNACA’s 2015 and AMUSE’s 2017 Collective Agreements meant that replacement workers were moved to the MUNACA bargaining unit. As such, the primary link between our bargaining units no longer exists.

 

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Section III

The Unionizing Process

 

Since Ms are joining an existing union, how does the unionizing process work (in general)?

Eligible Ms are invited to sign a union card indicating their desire to unionize with MUNACA.

MUNACA then deposits these signed cards, along with a demand for a new union certificate, at the Ministère du Travail.

The Ministère du Travail then evaluates the request, the listing of eligible employees to unionize is vetted with the University, and the Ministère renders a decision to either accept or reject MUNACA’s demand for a new certificate.

If accepted, the MUNACA membership is now made up of Cs, Ts, Ls, and eligible Ms. Eligible Ms will be included in all union activities and MUNACA will negotiate a collective agreement for all its membership.

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Can I lose my job by participating in a union organizing drive?

No. An employer can’t legally terminate workers simply for supporting the union or being active in the union organizing drive.

Here what section 14 of the Code du travail says:

No employer nor any person acting for an employer or an employers’ association may refuse to employ any person because that person exercises a right arising from this Code (the right to get unionized and to take part in the formation of the union), or endeavour by intimidation, discrimination or reprisals, threat of dismissal or other threat, or by the imposition of a sanction or by any other means, to compel an employee to refrain from or to cease exercising a right arising from this Code.

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Why do I have to pay $2 when I sign a card?

According to the Code du travail, you must pay a union due of at least $2 [a. 36.1] to sign a membership card.

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Will my supervisor know if I sign a union card?

No. The Labor Code requires that the identity of those who belong to a union remain confidential. Neither the University administration nor your colleagues will know that you joined a union.

Five days after the filing of the application, the University has the obligation to post the list of all the persons who are the subject of the application, that is to say all the persons who will be unionized in the unit. The list of people who have signed a card is never revealed at the university or posted in the workplace.

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If, hypothetically, I was not interested in joining MUNACA, will I be able to indicate this preference?

The only way to indicate this preference is by not signing a card. MUNACA recognizes that it should obtain support from more than 50% of eligible Ms before submitting a demand for a new union certificate at the Ministère du Travail.

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Do all M1s to M3s have to join MUNACA through a majority vote or can individual Ms decide to join MUNACA while others remain un-unionized Ms?

As long as a majority of Ms sign cards to unionize, the demand for a new union certificate at the Ministère du Travail may be submitted. If accepted by the Ministère, all eligible Ms would automatically be unionized. There is no option to opt-out.

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What about support of existing MUNACA membership, do they need to agree to this drive, pass a motion/accept it?

The drive was discussed and approved verbally at the Union Council (no official motion), and a formal email went out to the MUNACA membership announcing the drive.

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Section IV

After Unionizing

Will Ms have a voice in the decision-making process in the executive?

Ms will have equal representation on all the committees, including the Executive Committee, the Bylaws Committee, and the Negotiation Committee. MUNACA has been in existence for many years and has the experience needed to address the inequities that we have all witnessed or experienced. The objective of the MUNACA Executive and Council is to ensure that its members enjoy a healthy and fair workplace.

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How will the existing MUNACA structure (Executive, Councils and Committees) be altered to include M representation?

A memorandum of agreement and proposed motion defining the structure during the transitional period is in the works. If the M drive is successful, the membership would vote on adopting this structure until a new collective agreement is signed. Once a new agreement has been signed, elections would be held (as usual). At this point, any one from the membership would be invited to run.

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Will there ever be votes open only to Ms or open only to Cs, Ts, and Ls?

No. We are one union with one collective agreement and one unified membership.

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Will I pay union dues after we get certified with PSAC (MUNACA)?

The MUNACA portion of dues (0.73%) will start to be collected after certification. The PSAC portion (1.0% + $1/month) will start to be collected only after our first collective agreement is ratified.

Union dues pay for all the services provided:

  • contract negotiations
  • arbitration/adjudication
  • legal services/representation
  • education
  • mobilization

All of which support our group. And, union dues are tax deductible.

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How much more will I pay MUNACA compared to what I pay MUNASA now?

If you were a member of MUNASA, you will see an increase in dues deducted from your salary. The current MUNASA dues are $12.18 per pay event, regardless of your Grade.

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How much are union dues?

The membership fee of MUNACA is 1.73% plus $1 per month. One portion, 1%, goes to the PSAC, and the other 0.73% goes to MUNACA. The $1 goes into the strike fund administered by PSAC.

MUNACA dues will be determined on the minimum salary scales for M staff.   Each M position is assigned a generic Role Profile, which is assigned a Salary Grade. The contribution for each member is calculated on the minimum salary of the Grade associated with their position, and not on the salary that they actually make.

 

Examples:

If your position is classified as  ADM1F (Grade 3), and your salary is currently $50,300, your union dues will be:

Dues = 1.73% X $46,300 (the base salary for Grade 3) + $12= $812.99

Per pay event, that is a deduction of $31.27

If your position is classified as  SAF1D (Grade 3), and your salary is currently $65,200 (close to the maximum), your union dues will be:

Dues = 1.73% X $46,300 (the base salary for Grade 3) + $12= $812.99

Per pay event, that is a deduction of $31.27

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What happens to the existing MUNACA reserve fund – is it for everyone? Will we be expected to make additional contributions at the onset or in the event of a strike with this round of negotiations?

The MUNACA Trust will remain in its current form – as an endowment and emergency fund for the (now enlarged) MUNACA bargaining unit.

The Trust was created in 2009 with surplus funds, and dues money has not been put into it since

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With an increased membership earning higher salaries, is it likely that union dues will have to increase higher than 1.73% in order to guarantee the health of the reserve fund and financial stability?

This year membership dues already increased from 1.61% to 1.73%.

According to the MUNACA bylaw, the membership dues, by majority vote of the Union Council, may be increased during each calendar year by a percentage within the range of zero percent (0%) to a maximum of ten percent (10%), as deemed necessary by the Union Council to ensure MUNACA/PSAC 17602’s sound financial condition.

The MUNACA Union Council can only increase the MUNACA portion of the dues; however, the 10% stipulated in the bylaws relates to the total dues (not just the MUNACA portion).

Note that for the provincial level, we get 10% of tax credit on our union dues. For the federal, it’s a little bit different and it depends on several factors.

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Will the University be able to modify my working conditions?

No.

Once the collective agreement is signed, the University will not be able to change the conditions of the employees covered by the collective agreement. A collective agreement lasts on average between 3 and 5 years. At the end of the collective agreement, at the time of renewal, if the University wants to modify conditions, it must have the authorization of the Union.

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Once unionized, will I have a pay cut?

Once PSAC files a certification application, salaries and working conditions cannot be changed by the University without the agreement of the Union. When the petition is going to be filed with the Ministrère du Travail, all working conditions are frozen, meaning that the University may not make any changes, except those that were already planned.

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Are we going to have job security?

This will be an important point of negotiation in the collective agreement.

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If we are unionized, will we be forced to go on strike?

The Labour Code has very strict rules regarding strikes. It is the members and only the members who decide if they will go on strike, not the president, the executive committee or the negotiations committee. To trigger a strike, a majority of members at an assembly must give a mandate for a it.

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Resources for More Information

On Unionization

https://www.travail.gouv.qc.ca/publications/liste_par_themes/le_code_du_travail_en_questions_et_reponses/2_laccreditation.html

On Members’ Rights

https://www.travail.gouv.qc.ca/publications/liste_par_themes/le_code_du_travail_en_questions_et_reponses/1_le_droit_dassociation.html

MUNACA

MUNACA Bylaws (Approved Jan 10, 2018) – http://www.munaca.com/index.php/fr/munaca-by-laws-2/

MUNACA Collective Agreement – http://www.munaca.com/index.php/collective-agreement/

PSAC:

Some answers above were from:
From Joining PSAC – Frequently Asked Questions  – http://psacunion.ca/join-psac-faq  and more information can be found there.