BUFA

BUFA Announcements & Press Releases


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November 24, 2011
November 22, 2011
  • NDP Government Orders Vote, Seeks to End Free Collective Bargaining at BU.


    In an action unprecedented for Manitoba universities, Manitoba’s NDP government has ordered members of the Brandon University Faculty Association (BUFA) to vote on the 'final offer' made by the Employer in the ongoing contract dispute.

    Labour and Immigration Minister Jennifer Howard communicated the Ministerial Order to the BUFA Executive Committee late yesterday afternoon. The vote, which will be conducted by the Manitoba Labour Relations Board, may occur as early as Thursday.

    In commenting on this development, BUFA President and Chief Negotiator Joe Dolecki said, "This intervention into the Collective Bargaining process at Brandon University is as dangerous as it is outrageous. It confirms for us the pro-Employer bias shown by this allegedly 'labour-friendly' government throughout this round of negotiations."

    "While pretending to be neutral, the NDP Government has, in our view, systematically aided and abetted the Employer's 'arbitrate at all costs' strategy, reinforcing the Employer's incentive not to seriously engage in the bargaining process – prolonging the strike and putting the future of our University and our students at risk," Dolecki said.

    Shortly after the Ministerial Order was received, the Minister sent another letter to BUFA asserting that the Conciliation process, which ended on October 21, was actually ongoing and urging the Parties to attempt to resolve the dispute utilizing the services of Conciliator Dennis Harrison.

    "The Minister's second letter is remarkable in a number of ways," Dolecki stated, "not only does it directly contradict the Minister's November 1 statement during question period in the Legislature that conciliation had 'concluded' on October 21, its effect is to permit the Employer to proceed with an application to have the Labour Relations Board adjudicate the dispute, should BUFA members reject the Employer's final offer in the upcoming vote."

    "It is a sad day for free collective bargaining in this province," Dolecki concluded.

    BUFA has been on strike for 42 days.

    For further information contact:

    Bill Paton, BUFA Secretary (727-1000)
    Joe Dolecki, BUFA President and Chief Negotiator (727-9749)



  • Final Offer.

    Below is the link to the pdf file containing the Employer's final offer dated November 17, 2011, to the Brandon University Faculty Association. This is the offer BUFA members are being asked to vote on by the Minister of Labour.

    PDF file.



November 21, 2011
  • Response to BUFA's Request to meet the Premier. Alissa Brandt, Coordinator of the Premier's Secretariat

    From: Premier <[email protected]>

    Sent: Mon, Nov 21, 2011 at 11:01 AM

    To: BUFA Strike Headquarters <[email protected]>

    Joe Dolecki:

    [email protected]

     

    Dear Mr. Dolecki:

    On behalf of the Honourable Greg Selinger, Premier of Manitoba, I would like to thank you for your recent letter.

    We are aware that your faculty association is in the midst of a bargaining dispute and as such, it would be inappropriate for the Premier to meet.

    Once again, thank you for writing to Premier Selinger.

    Sincerely,

     

    Alissa Brandt

    Coordinator of the

    Premier’s Secretariat



November 20, 2011
  • BUFA Response to Nov. 20 Communqué from Dr. Poff.

    In her latest communiqué (Nov. 20), Dr. Poff continues to confuse the issues and mislead the public about BUFA’s bargaining position. The emphasis of her attack now seems to be on the ‘back-to-work compensation’ that BUFA is seeking. She calls the lump sum BUFA has demanded “back to work money to compensate them for the time they have been on strike.” she knows this is not what it is. We note that the lump sum currently requested by BUFA has been lowered from our previous proposal.

    The “widening of the gap” that the Employer refers to is solely the result of the Employer’s attempt to rewrite the Back-to-Work Agreement. In seeking to conclude a settlement last week, BUFA asked Scott Lamont to forward, in writing, what he described as “minor changes” to the 2008 Back-to-Work-Agreement that the employer had agreed to use as the model. It was in his written response that BUFA became aware of the fact that the employer had no intention of paying faculty for work they would perform to finish the term should it be extended. Of course, BUFA found this to be unacceptable. This has become the basis of President Poff’s claim that BUFA has significantly increased wage demands. This is further evidence that the employer is not interested in getting students back into the classroom.

    Rather than compensation for the time members have been on strike, BUFA is requesting compensation for the service its members will provide once they return to work. Unlike a factory, where workers cannot be forced upon return from a strike to put in uncompensated overtime to recover lost production, the faculty at Brandon University will actually make up the work they did not do during the strike. In a factory, the year’s production would either be shortened by the length of the strike, or made up by having workers put in paid overtime. At a university, the year’s (term’s) production will be fully delivered by BUFA members, provided that the term is not cancelled. Yes, it will be under unusual conditions, but it can be done. Faculty members accept this. And faculty members never receive overtime.

    BUFA is not asking, and has never asked, for their lost wages. BUFA seeks partial compensation. Since the Employer did not pay members during the strike, they have saved all of those unpaid wages. It is not new money. If Dr. Poff is implying that this money is not available for a back-to-work compensation agreement, then BUFA members, students, the public, and the Board of Governors should be asking what she intends to do with it. This is a critical question since, by her own admission, the Employer’s unwillingness to pay BUFA members for the work we will be required to do after this strike ends is a major obstacle that is preventing a settlement. We note that a back-to-work compensation payment is fully consistent with the back-to-work agreement implemented following the 2008 strike.

    Then, as we intend to now, BUFA members fully delivered the term’s courses. Naturally, the longer the strike lasts, the greater the savings on members’ salaries, and the greater the workload that members will be catching up on. It seems reasonable that the back-to-work compensation should also increase as the strike lengthens. The additional time members will commit to delivering our courses will increase, and the money which the University presumably had all along to pay members for these courses is still there.

    Dr. Poff’s accusation that BUFA widened the gap between our positions has nothing to do with the collective agreement and everything to do with creating antagonism between the community and BUFA. Meanwhile, the Employer’s last offer saw a reduction in the back-to-work payment they initially proposed. We seriously wonder how the Employer’s negotiating strategy and Dr. Poff’s communiqué are meant to help the parties work toward an agreement.

    Therein lies the second problem with the Employer’s latest tactics. In Friday’s Brandon Sun, Grant Mitchell stated that “you can always get a settlement if both sides are willing to make a move.” He stated that both parties had moved. Yes, both sides can negotiate and have negotiated – without conciliation, without mediation, and without arbitration. He then suggested that “the question is whether they [BUFA] will accept it [the Employer’s offer].” Apparently the question of whether the Employer would accept BUFA’s offer was irrelevant. Nevertheless, in tabling their last offer, labeled their “final offer”, the Employer has signaled their refusal to continue negotiating.

    BUFA regrets this decision, as it is an open declaration that the Employer is not interested in attempting to reach an agreement at the table, and is not interested in concluding negotiations as soon as possible so that classes may resume. In fact, with due diligence on the part of the Employer, classes could have resumed tomorrow!

    While BUFA’s proposed back to work agreement is modeled on the one implemented following the 2008 strike, the Employer has proposed an alternative back to work agreement. In it, they wish to reserve a decision on a tentative agreement until the Board of Governors votes on it. While BUFA is required by law (Section 69 of the Manitoba Labour Relations Act) to bring a tentative agreement to its members for a vote, nothing in the Act invites a similar process on the part of the Employer. The issue here is that the Board of Governors has not been actively involved in the negotiating process, or even kept abreast of the developments. It raises the question of why their negotiating team is making an offer that they do not know that the Board, the Employer, will sanction. Why don't they talk to the Board first BEFORE making their final offer? How can it be final if they haven't run it by their own Board yet?

    The effect of such a provision could be devastating. If the Employer expects BUFA members to return to work while the Board votes on the tentative agreement a negative vote from the Board would result in BUFA members having returned to work voluntarily without a contract. In that case, BUFA would immediately have to resume the strike. If, on the other hand, BUFA members continued to strike while a Board vote was conducted, that would result in an unnecessary delay in returning the students and faculty to the classroom. Why would the Employer’s negotiating team want to deliberately delay our return to class? How could this possibly be good for the students?

    Dr. Poff ends her communiqué by stating “it remains difficult to see how this dispute will be resolved without independent, third-party arbitration.” It is not difficult at all. Negotiate fairly. Negotiate honestly. Just negotiate.



  • Membership Meeting.

    The BUFA negotiating team will hold an information meeting for members on Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. at the BUFA Strike Headquarters.



November 18, 2011
  • Request to meet Premier Selinger. Joe Dolecki, BUFA President

    From: BUFA Strike Headquarters [mailto:[email protected]]
    Sent: Friday, November 18, 2011 2:57 PM
    To: Premier
    Cc: Joe Dolecki; David Winter (E-mail)
    Subject: Request to meet Premier Selinger from Brandon University Faculty Association

    Dear Premier Selinger:

    The Executive and Negotiating Committees of the Brandon University Faculty Association request a meeting with you as soon as possible.  We understand you will be in Brandon on Monday, 21 November 2011.  Our address is 1428 Louise Ave in Brandon.  Could you please reply by email when this could happen?


    Sincerely,
    Joe Dolecki
    President, BUFA



November 17, 2011
  • Letter of Support. Kenton Hoeppner

    Hi there,

    My name is Kenton Hoeppner and I am a student at BU. I need to email you about my opinion on the current situation. I think that you need to negotiate a deal that BUFA will be satisfied with for a long period of time and not arbitrate it. As students, we do not want to be in the same situation again in 3 years. I know we want to be back in class, but we dont want to do this all over again. If you do strike again, I have a feeling that the drop out rate will be high and have low enrollment. So please, come out of this strike with a fair deal for BUFA.

    Thanks for your time,

    Kenton Hoeppner




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