CUPE 3912-MSVU Collective Agreement for 2020-2024 has been ratified

We are happy to announce that 96.5% of CUPE 3912 MSVU members that voted supported the February 10, 2023 Tentative Agreement. There will be no 2023 CUPE 3912 strike at Mount Saint Vincent University. With the employer, we will confirm the wording of the new Collective Agreement, sign it, and post it on our website. At that point, we will also provide an update on when members may receive retroactive pay.

CUPE 3912-MSVU Tentative Agreement, Information Session, and Ratification Vote

Information Session

On Wednesday, February 15, 2023 at 7:30 p.m., we are holding a hybrid information session about the February 10 CUPE 3912-MSVU Tentative Agreement.

The in-person location is the MSVU Faculty Lounge in the Seton Building Room 403/404.

If you want to attend online, please contact outreach@cupe3912.ca for the zoom link.

Tentative Agreement

The Tentative Agreement consists of two (2) documents:

For your convenience, a summary of the agreed to changes is also available online.

Language that is bold is new to the articles.

Language that is struck through is being removed from the article.

Ratification Vote

Members will have the opportunity to participate in the Ratification Vote on the agreement from 00:05 Thursday February 16, 2023 to 23:55 Friday February 17, 2023. Anyone who has held a CUPE 3912 contract at MSVU since the winter 2020 term is eligible to vote.

The ratification vote will take place online, using Simply Voting. You will be receiving an email with a unique link to cast your vote by Thursday morning.

If you have not received an email to vote by Thursday morning,  please first check your spam folder and then email voting@cupe3912.ca.

MSVU-CUPE3912 Bargaining Update and FAQ

1. Who are the part-time instructors at the Mount?

There are roughly 200 part-time instructors at the Mount. They are contracted to teach various courses in the curriculum on a contractual per-course basis. They are paid a per-course stipend on terms negotiated in a multi-year contract between the university administration and CUPE 3912.

Part-time instructors receive no pension or health-care benefits and no assurance of continuing employment—characteristics of what has become known as “precarious employment”.

Part-time instructors may include recent post-graduate academics seeking to establish themselves in an academic career.  They may also include individuals with significant business/governmental/social qualifications in technical fields with professional expertise not typically represented in academia.

2. What courses are taught by part-time instructors?

Part-time instructors may be assigned teaching positions at any undergraduate or graduate level—so long as their departments have determined that they have appropriate qualifications.  Course offerings do not identify whether instruction is provided by a full-or part-time professional.  Students are welcome to ask their instructor whether she/he is full- or part-time.

3. What is the current status of bargaining between the University and CUPE  3912?

The most recent collective agreement between the University and CUPE 3912 expired at the end of August 2020 and the last wage increase was in September 2019.  CUPE 3912 has been in negotiation with the Mount since that time seeking a new contract which is proposed to expire at the end of August 2024.Following protracted negotiations (involving at least 19 meetings), during which the Administration was unwilling to discuss financial proposals, the union  Bargaining Committee determined: “enough is enough”, and applied for conciliation.

Conciliation is a Nova Scotia Trade Union Act legal process whereby the parties request that the Minister of Labour appoint an impartial third party (Conciliation Officer) to help facilitate a settlement. The Conciliation Officer does not have the power to force the parties into a settlement other than via suasion and focusing the parties on labour relations reality and the consequences of not reaching a settlement.In good faith, CUPE 3912 engaged in the process for two scheduled meetings in early January 2023;  however, were met with an intransigent Mount response regarding our wage proposal. An unusual third conciliation meeting will happen on Friday February 10, 2023.

4. Is the negotiating position of CUPE Local 3912 a reasonable request?

Members have not received an increase in their stipend since September 2019.  Since that time, up to the end of last year, consumer price inflation has risen by 13.2 percent. The Mount has proposed a 10 percent increase in stipend over the entire contract period ending in August 2024. Although the most recent surge in prices has moderated, economists predict that inflation will remain significantly above target through 2024.

According to latest data from Statistics Canada, over the last year alone average weekly earnings rose 4.2 percent.

5. Are CUPE Local 3912 members remunerated at a higher rate than other local universities?

Part-time instructors in Halifax have been paid substantially less than at other Canadian universities—even lower than at other Atlantic Canada institutions—despite higher living costs in the city.

It took a 24-day strike at Dalhousie University to achieve some progress to a more equitable basis of remuneration.  Saint Marys agreed to a similar settlement, without labour disruption.  CUPE 3912 is asking for wage parity between the Mount and the other two universities.  Many part-time instructors at the Mount also teach at the other two universities.  In many cases they teach directly comparable courses.  The union argues that the value-added by each such instructor is identical—equal pay for work of equal value.

6. Can the Mount afford CUPE 3912’s proposal?

The most recent financial statement released by the administration (for the period ending March 2022) reported an increase in revenue of $6 million or 9.0 percent.  Income from student fees increased by $4.7 or 15.5 percent.

International enrollment (students paying differentially higher fees) increased 9.9 percent.

Salaries and benefits declined from 71 percent of expenditures to 70 percent.

7. What happens if CUPE 3912 go on strike?

The administration in an announcement to students, faculty and staff has noted: “If a strike by CUPE Local 3912 takes place, classes and labs taught by part-time faculty at MSVU will be cancelled. Classes taught by full-time faculty will continue.”

8. If the administration fails to meet the unions demand for wage parity does that put the student term in jeopardy?

The answer is complex.  It necessarily depends on each student’s dependence on courses taught by part-time instructors for achieving their program requirements.  For some, a protracted interruption might well make it impossible to fulfill their requirements on-time—which might present further complications  respecting scheduled travel or employment plans.

CUPE 3912 members are resolutely committed to furthering the interests of Mount students—but have encountered a multi-year stalemate in reaching a satisfactory outcome with the administration.

9. What is the level of support among members of CUPE 3912

On the issue of whether to empower the executive to invoke strike action in the event of a failure to reach satisfactory resolution of differences, a vote held in December, was: 126 votes cast: 120 Yes (95.2%); 6 No (4.8%).

10. What is the position of full-time faculty respecting the possible withdrawal of service of CUPE 3912 member?

The following message has been disseminated by the Mount Saint Vincent Faculty Association executive to its membership:

CUPE 3912 members at MSVU recently voted to pursue job action, with over 95% in favour of a strike. CUPE 3912 is a separate bargaining unit representing part-time instructors. Though they are not on strike yet, job action is likely imminent.

Why have they voted to strike? Because it is obviously deplorable that part-time instructors at MSVU are compensated at a lower rate for work of equal value at other universities. At MSVU, part-time instructors are one of the lowest paid at undergrad universities in Canada (https://cupe3912.ca/bargaining/msvu/lets-compare-salaries/).

If CUPE 3912 goes on strike, their members are being asked to withdraw their labour from the normal work of their bargaining unit, which includes all duties related to teaching and student supervision.

CUPE 3912 has agreed to meet with the Conciliation Officer and the Mount representatives at 1:00pm on Friday, February 10, 2023, in a final attempt to resolve the outstanding financial matters.

Despite this labour unrest, we, as members of MSVUFA, must continue to fulfill our contractual obligations, as we continue to receive compensation from the University for our work.

In the event of a strike, if you are a chair of a department or director of a program, you may not take any action that could be seen to force or coerce (either directly or indirectly) a CUPE 3912 member into any work that threatens their job action. You must not ask them to attend meetings, work with students, or perform any physical or digital duties that require them to cross their picket line. Asking CUPE 3912 members to do any such work contradicts the principle of solidarity upon which our collective rights are founded.

MSVUFA members who absorb any of the labour of CUPE 3912 members (e.g. teaching a part-time instructor’s class or marking a part-time instructor’s students’ work) would be engaging in scab labour, which will actively undermine what the strike is intended to achieve: a decent and fair settlement.

As MSVUFA members, what can we do if CUPE 3912 strikes?

We can show our support. For example,  we may choose to stand with them on their picket line even though we are not on strike,  we can bring them refreshments,  we can explain to others, including students, why the CUPE 3912 took a strike vote, or share information from the CUPE 3912 website: (https://cupe3912.ca/bargaining/msvu/lets-compare-salaries/).

MSVUFA has committed to making a donation to CUPE 3912 on behalf of all of our members.

11. Where can I find out the Mount administration’s position on the circumstances?

Labour Relations FAQ (msvu.ca)

Special Membership Meeting on Friday, January 27, 2023 at 4:30 p.m.

On January 27, 2023 at 4:30 p.m., a Special Membership Meeting (SMM) will be held online to:

  • determine the number of delegates we send to the CUPE Women’s Conference held in March 2023;
  • electing delegates for the CUPE Women’s Conference held in March 2023; and
  • electing a delegate and an alternate for the CAUT Council meeting held in April 2023.

The SMM is being called at the request of at least 15 members, pursuant to Section 6(b) of CUPE 3912’s Bylaws.

All Delegates’ Expenses are Covered

Pursuant to Section 16 of CUPE 3912’s Bylaws, delegates to conventions and conferences are eligible for reimbursement for expenses (registration fee, accommodation, transportation, child  and dependent care) and a per diem allowance of $86.00 per day, as per Sections 14-15.

CUPE Women’s Conference

The first CUPE Women’s Conference, entitled CUPE Women: Leading, Organizing, Resisting will be held in Vancouver on March 12-15, 2023.

Join CUPE women from across the country for four days of connecting, supporting, and building women’s power in the union, in the workplace, and in our communities.Members will explore how to fight for gender equity and expand women’s leadership through bargaining, political action, and member mobilization. The conference will feature exciting speakers, panels, discussions, and skills-building workshops.

Registration is limited to women and gender diverse people who feel comfortable in a space centered on women’s issues, experiences, and identities.

CAUT Council Meeting

The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) is the national voice for academic staff representing 72,000 teachers, librarians, researchers, general staff and other academic professionals at some 125 universities and colleges across the country. CAUT is an outspoken defender of academic freedom and works actively in the public interest to improve the quality and accessibility of post-secondary education in Canada.

CAUT fights for fair working conditions, compensation and benefits that foster quality teaching and innovative research.

CUPE 3912 is a member of CAUT, which allows us to send a delegate and an alternate to CAUT Council meetings held semi-annually.

Nomination of Delegates

Nominations of delegates will take place at the SMM. If you would like to be nominated in your absence, please forward to us a brief email before the meeting, confirming that you agree to be nominated.

RSVP to Receive Zoom Link and Agenda

Please RSVP to Kim Robinson, our Membership Officer, to receive a Zoom Link and Agenda.

SMU Information Session on Tentative Collective Agreement

On Tuesday, January 24, 2023 at 7 p.m. we will be holding an online information session about the SMU Tentative Collective Agreement. The purpose of the meeting is to ensure that all your questions are fully answered before a ratification vote is held.

We anticipate being able to circulate the proposed changes to the Collective Agreement as well as a Zoom link by Saturday, January 21, 2023.

The ratification vote will take place online, using Simply Voting, on January 25-27, 2023. You will be receiving an email with a unique link to cast your vote.

We look forward to seeing you at the Information Session on Tuesday.

No Deal at January 9, 12 MSVU Conciliation Talks

The CUPE 3912 – MSVU Bargaining Committee met with the Mount’s Representatives on Monday January 9, and on Thursday January 12. We had the assistance of a Conciliation Officer appointed by the Nova Scotia Minister of Labour.

On Monday January 9, we exchanged proposals on non-monetary matters and did not address financial items.

On Thursday January 12, substantial progress was made on the non-monetary items, and financial proposals were exchanged.

The Union’s proposal can be characterized as the equivalent of the new CUPE 3912 – Dalhousie University Agreement.

The Union’s financial proposal was a cumulative ~17% increase over 4 years.

Step Sept 1 20 Sept 1 21 Sept 1 22 Sept 1 23
1 5282 5361 6349 6539
2 5876 5964 6349 6539
3 6307 6402 7042 7252

The employer’s financial proposal below was a cumulative ~10% increase over 4 years.

Step Sept 1 20 Sept 1 21 Sept 1 22 Sept 1 23
1 5256 5322 5634 5747
2 5847 5920 6247 6372
3 6276 6355 6693 6827

Our Thursday January 12 meeting did not conclude with an agreement on financial proposals. The Conciliation Officer will now file his report with the Minister of Labour (possibly on February 6).

We expect to meet with the employer and Conciliation Officer again on February 16. The employer by then may have a different perspective regarding the Union’s proposal.

There is now a CUPE 3912 – SMU Tentative Agreement based in part on “Dalhousie Dollars”. Our CUPE 3912 message now evolves to “Parity between MSVU and SMU members”.

The Mount’s financial proposal is not even close to what our Dalhousie members won after a 24 day strike.  We strongly reiterated that for an agreement the Mount has to provide the same percentages and lump sum increases as obtained in the Dalhousie agreement, since that is clearly why the membership provided a 95% YES vote for a Strike Mandate.

It appears that the Mount does NOT believe your YES vote is a serious message to the Employer. 

The conclusion of your Bargaining Committee is that the Board of Governors believes that we will not strike for a fair and just financial package.

The Mount works when we work. Parity in rates between MSVU, SMU and Dal.

We must now work together to show our employer we are serious about our demands. This is the only way to avoid the disruptions of a strike.

Contact us now to help our “Strike Avert” campaign. We need people to post signage, contact media, plan picketing and protests, sign up members for strike pay. Volunteer some time in January – February with CUPE 3912.

Avoid a strike, by planning to have one. To volunteer, please contact us.

More information will be forthcoming soon.

You can contact any member of the bargaining committee at:

Cameron Ells (President CUPE 3912)
Don McIver (Vice-President  for Part-time Instructors CUPE 3912)
Jessica Boyd 
Alex Mielnik

Retroactive Pay at Dalhousie

If you worked for Dalhousie between September 1, 2020 and December 31, 2022, you are owed retroactive pay under the new Collective Agreement.

If you were working at Dalhousie in Fall 2022, you will receive retroactive pay automatically.

If you were not working at Dalhousie in Fall 2022, you must complete and submit a retroactive pay request form, as well as update your direct deposit information with Dalhousie.

Dalhousie is supposed to notify you about eligibility to retroactive pay. You have sixty (60) days to complete the forms from the time you receive a notification from Dalhousie.

We recommend that you complete and submit the necessary forms as soon as possible, even if you have not received a notification yet.

Completed forms should be sent to: Academic.Staff.Relations@dal.ca

Special Membership Meeting on Thursday, January 5, 2023 at 7 p.m.

On January 5, 2023 at 7 p.m., a Special Membership Meeting (SMM) will be held online to:

  • establish terms of reference for strike committees at MSVU and SMU;
  • elect members for strike committees at MSVU and SMU; and
  • vote(s) on whether to accept TAs and additional part-time academic employees at various academic institutions as CUPE 3912 members.

The SMM is being called at the request of the Executive Board, which passed a motion to that effect on December 22, 2022.

Section 6(b) of CUPE 3912’s Bylaws states that:

No business shall be transacted at the special meeting other than that for which the meeting is called and notice given.

RSVP to Receive Zoom Link and Agenda

Please RSVP to Kim Robinson, our Membership Officer, to receive a Zoom Link and Agenda.

CUPE 3912 MSVU Mandate to Strike

Between December 16 – 19, 2022, 72.4% of CUPE 3912 eligible members at Mount Saint Vincent University (MSVU) voted; 95.2% voted in favour of a mandate to strike.
In the coming weeks, our CUPE 3912 MSVU Negotiating Team will prepare for our January 2023 bargaining meetings with the employer, where there will also be a conciliator appointed by the Nova Scotia Department of Labour to try and help to overcome our current impasse.With your mandate, our upcoming negotiations will be influenced by the knowledge that we can call a strike at short notice in winter of 2023, and that we have the means, the will, the experience and the resolve to do so, if necessary.In the coming weeks we will also be preparing for a potential strike, if it is necessary, to support our collective bargaining goals. This includes organizing a team for the planning, operation and execution of an MSVU strike.
This is our first call for CUPE 3912 MSVU volunteers. Please contact our Vice-President or President this week if you can. We will follow up with emailed updates that are also on our website.There are roles and responsibilities related to strike activity administration, picketing, communications and finance. We will be organizing Strike Preparation planning and training sessions that will start in January 2023.  We will also take steps to prepare for a Strike Pay bank account, similar to what was set up in 2022 for our CUPE 3912 strike at Dalhousie University.CUPE 3912 members employed by MSVU in the winter of 2023, who are documented as performing strike duties, will be able to receive strike pay cheques.  These activities are similar to what is being organized by CUPE 3912 members at Saint Mary’s University, who also voted YES to a Mandate to Strike on December 1 – 2.  We are also building on the successful experiences and support of CUPE National and our CUPE 3912 Dal Strike veterans.Take some time now with your family and friends this holiday season. Please also take some time with your colleagues and your organized labour family in 2023.

CUPE 3912 MSVU Mandate to Strike Vote, Friday Dec 16-Mon Dec 19

Strike Ballot

Between December 16-19, 2022, there is a “Mandate to Strike” vote by CUPE 3912 MSVU members with Fall 2022 contracts. This can strengthen our bargaining position for our scheduled January 2023 MSVU conciliation talks.

We’ll use the same safe, secure, secret online voting platform that our CUPE 3912 SMU members used in their December 2022 Mandate to Strike vote. Their 91.8% Yes vote supports their team for January 2023 conciliation talks.

Please vote. Under NS labour law a mandate in this case is a majority of members, not just a majority of those voting. Members who do not vote are counted as voting No. Our participation rate in this vote is important.

Mandate to Strike Vote – What does it mean?

A yes vote does not mean we are now on strike. A yes vote means our team can start a strike later on, if necessary.  A yes to a possible strike vote encourages the employer to reach a deal without a strike.

Some frequently asked questions (FAQ) and answers about a CUPE 3912 Mandate to Strike vote are presented here.

Our MSVU employer’s May 2022 offer was 1%, 1%, 1.25%, and 1.25%, and that was conditional on not accepting our proposals on performance reviews, Performance Improvement Plans (PIPs), and committees.  We reached an impasse with the employer, and asked the NS Department of Labour to provide a Conciliator to help us overcome this impasse. Those conciliation talks start in January 2023.

Voting Yes is the best way to avoid a strike. A strong Yes vote demonstrates support for our efforts to improve our working conditions, and that we will take action, if necessary. In 2023, our resolve will not be underestimated by this employer. Voting Yes encourages more productive negotiations with the employer, and a new collective agreement, without actually going on strike.

A strike if necessary, but not necessarily a strike.

Your CUPE 3912 – MSVU Negotiating Team

https://cupe3912.ca/bargaining/msvu/negotiating-committee/