MSVU Bargaining Updates

April 26, 2023: On April 13, 2023 our CUPE 3912-MSVU Negotiating Committee team and the MSVU employer signed the new September 2020-August 2024 Collective Agreement.

For members employed by MSVU during the September 2022-April 2023 academic year no action is required. Expect to automatically receive retro pay on May 19, 2023 for all courses taught from September 2020 to date.

For members who were employed at least once by MSVU for course assignments between September 2020-August 2022 but not afterwardssome action is required to receive retro pay. 

To receive retro pay on May 19, 2023, the MSVU employer must receive an email from you before May 10, 2023 to that identifies

  • your name,
  • your email address used when you were an Instructor
  • your course(s) and term(s) for which retro pay applies, and
  • if your preferred bank account information has changed since your last course assignment, for receiving an MSVU payment. If the original bank account can not be used, make this clear in the email. The MSVU payroll will then contact you to obtain the new banking information. Banking information should not be sent to the email address

February 18, 2023: 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 expect to receive retroactive pay.

February 10, 2023: A tentative agreement was reached during conciliation.

January 19, 2023: 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

December 20, 2022: 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.December 12, 2022: 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.

October 2022: We received a letter on behalf of the Minister of Labour, Skills and Immigration, acknowledging our request for conciliation and notifying us that a conciliator has been appointed. Later in October, we were in contact with the conciliator about scheduling the next meetings.

September 16, 2022: Another meeting during which the Employer, once again, refused to budge on any Union proposal and refused to respond to several Articles which the Employer has arbitrarily determined are financial in nature. For example: maternity leave.

The Union bargaining committee reviewed the lack of progress in negotiations with the Employer for the past two years. The Union advised the Employer it would contact the Nova Scotia Minister of Labour and file for conciliation. Our hope is that the appointment of a conciliation officer will be helpful for the Employer and the Union to reach a tentative agreement.

August 12, 2022: This meeting was more of the same with the Employer rehashing what was agreed upon to date

August 8, 2022: It took awhile, although the Union was prepared to meet at any time, and this was the only time that the Employer was able to meet since May 25, 2022. Essentially, this meeting was a further review of agreed upon “housekeeping items” to date. There was no major movement on any proposal by the Employer.

May 25, 2022: We received their financial package, which was, as expected, well below anything reasonable. The Employer’s proposal maintained the current three step wage progression, proposed 1%, 1%, 1.25% and 1.25% for each of September 1, 2020 to September 1, 2023 and required the Union to drop all of its other proposals. We hope to schedule new dates soon.

April 12, 2022: We had hoped and expected to make progress at the bargaining table this week after tabling our financial proposals on Friday April 8th. The employer, however, has requested that we postpone meetings scheduled for this week until May in order to leave them time to consult with the Board Governors on their response to our financial package .We hope this means they are looking for approval to meet some of our demands, but we are not holding out breath!

April 2, 2022: We had a bargaining session at the Mount last week but still did not table financial proposals

March 8, 2022: We have as session at the Mount this week. We are still focusing on wrapping up non-financial proposals (mostly) so we have not yet tabled financial proposals. Because we are a bit behind Dalhousie, we have not yet set a date for a strike vote at either university.

February 28, 2022: Last Friday we had a bargaining session at the Mount.  We agreed on a few more articles but are still negotiating details before we wrap up some major proposals on discipline. We have financial proposals ready to table and are anxiously waiting to wrap up (mostly) non-financial items.

February 16, 2022: We bargained with the Mount on February 11. Both sides are hoping to wrap up non-monetary items (mostly) and table financial proposals soon.

January 24, 2022: Last week we bargained again at the Mount. We reached agreements on a few more minor proposals but we still seem to be far apart on more major proposals regarding hiring and discipline. We have prepared financial proposals but have not yet tabled them.

January 17, 2022: Last week we bargained at the Mount (online). We are working on wrapping up non-financial proposals – or deciding what is at an impasse – before tabling financial proposals. At the Mount we are still in some initial discussions about some major issues.

The delay in the Mount compared to the other universities is mostly because the employer filed for conciliation last year early in the process. The conciliator advised both sides to go back to the table so we had a restart at the end of 2021, at which time we were lagging behind the other two universities. However, we have more dates scheduled for the Mount in the next few weeks, so that might change.

December 20, 2021: We had bargaining days at the Mount last week. We had further discussion on most of the non-financial items, trying to see if there is some common ground.

December 9, 2021: We had two full days of bargaining at the Mount this week and went over all of our non-financial proposals at least twice. We agreed to several minor proposals and started discussions on more substantial proposals.

November 5, 2021: We do not have bargaining dates until late November. We know that bargaining is taking a long time. There are several reasons for this:

  • We are bargaining with three employers at the same time. Although last time we finished earlier at one university, we signed the collective agreement at the third university almost three years after the previous one expired.
  • We have a lot of proposals because there are a lot of changes to be made to the collective agreement to achieve fair working conditions. It takes time to discuss these proposals and we are making progress.
  • It is difficult to schedule times when 7-11 people are available. The schedule of our CUPE representative is particularly busy as whoever is in this position also assists other locals and is at other bargaining tables as well. Also note that we (union bargaining team) do not get time off for bargaining, as may be the case for other bargaining teams. However, we are setting several dates at all universities in the next few months hoping to wrap up soon. Also note that we are continually working on bargaining with extra meetings for the individual teams and all teams together.

October 6, 2021: We had a ‘reset’ bargaining meeting where we discussed plans for returning to bargaining. It was the first time we met with the employer at the bargaining table since May 2021.

We are hopeful negotiations will proceed effectively and efficiently; however, we could only plan for dates in December 2021 due to our lack of availability. (It is difficult to schedule bargaining dates with 3 employers.)

July 14, 2021: The conciliator asked both sides to return to the table without a conciliator, so we hope to set dates to do that soon.

June 30, 2021: There has been a change in the chief negotiator for the union bargaining teams and the Mount. This is fortuitous timing as it means both sides understand the challenge such a change brings, particularly organizing proposals and counter-proposals. We are taking the time to go over the status of proposals with the employer at all universities to make sure we are on the right track. We are also spending more time with just our teams to work out details of some of our common proposals.

June 22, 2021:  We were disappointed that the employer filed for conciliation so early, but we are working on the way forward and hope to set new dates soon.

June 14, 2021: Summer is generally slower as it is more difficult to coordinate schedules. We are also going to have a meeting with all bargaining teams to finalize our financial proposals and with the mobilization committee to continue our strategic planning as we continue negotiations.

June 1, 2021: Those of you at the Mount will have learned from us that the employer has filed for conciliation, a process of intervention in collective bargaining by a neutral third party knowledgeable in effective negotiation procedures. We ended our last negotiating session on May 7 with the employer stating that they would respond to Union proposals and we would reciprocate. The move to file for conciliation was therefore unexpected and resulted in cancelling our next bargaining session on May 28. We want to assure everyone that your Union is committed to working within the conciliation process to achieve a renewal of the Collective Agreement that meets our members’ needs. Despite the move to conciliation, we are still early on in the bargaining process. We will continue to keep you updated as we learn more about conciliation timelines.

May 17, 2021: We had an all bargaining teams meeting last week. We are working on our financial proposals including costing (estimating how much our proposals will cost the employer). Bargaining seems to be particularly slow these days, partly due to less frequent dates during the spring/summer months and partly due to issues that seem to be unrelated to our actual proposals. We hope things will pick up but the summer is usually a slow time. 

April 26, 2021: We resume bargaining later this week at the Mount after an extended break.

April 12, 2021:  Next week the bargaining teams have a CUPE training session on strike planning. The purpose of this is not to prepare for a strike but instead to learn about how to plan for a possible strike.

March 15, 2021: It seems like a lot of bargaining involves back and forth discussion and proposals, often about specific wording. Sometimes language disagreements might seem trivial, but the difference between something like ‘could’ or ‘shall’ can be substantial.

Another aspect of bargaining is the LOU or MOU (letter or memorandum of understanding). Sometimes if both sides want to see progress towards a proposal but don’t think it can be accomplished during the current round of bargaining, they set up a LOU/MOU to set up a committee to discuss the issue within a certain time period. The discussion can then lead to changes in the next round of bargaining. We then have to decide if or what we can achieve this round of bargaining and what could go in an LOU/MOU and how it will be followed up.

March 8, 2021: Last week at the Mount some members of the bargaining team presented the results of a survey and report on office space and related facilities. This report was the result of an appendix of the Collective Agreement negotiated last time to look into office space. The results are helping inform bargaining issues and also issues related to occupational health and safety.

February 22, 2021:  Much of what we are discussing at the table in the early stages is related to past and ongoing grievances. There are two main sources of ideas for bargaining proposals: priorities of our members, which we get from our survey, and grievances. Proposals related to grievances are usually non-financial and often relate to different interpretations of the collective agreement from the employer and union (this is why they result in grievances). For us this time they are mostly related to discipline and job postings. These issues often seem to be less important to most members, yet by protecting a few members through grievances and changing the language of the collective agreement, we are protecting all members from possible unfair treatment. Progress is slow but it is a challenge to bargain at all three universities at once.

February 17, 2021: We have had a bit of a break from bargaining. The first step in negotiations is to exchange proposals, which we have now done at all three universities. The next step is the long process of asking questions, suggesting counter-proposals and hopefully coming to an agreement on some of these while deciding not to pursue others. We are now at the start of this stage and are just beginning to ask each other questions to clarify proposals. We have tentatively agreed on only a few very minor proposals, most of which involve things like editing. Some of our common proposals such as a major increase in salary, pension and other benefits are financial proposals and come much later in the process, typically after dealing with all non-financial proposals. We do not expect to even start negotiating financial proposals anytime soon. Therefore, the bargaining teams are still doing background research including exploring different options for a pension plan.

February 9, 2021: We continue to discuss various proposals at each university. Bargaining at three universities at the same time gives us a comparative vision of the perspective of the employers. For example, we have common proposals to address equity issues. Our goal is to strengthen languge to protect our members against harassment and discrimination. Notably we want to want to make sure that provincial and university policies are included in the collective agreement wherever possible to inform our members and alert them to details of these policies. One of the employers agrees with us and included even more language outlining various university policies on these issues. Another employer instead proposed to remove the language we have from the collective agreement rather than expand it further. This week we have a break from bargaining but the teams continue to prepare for future bargaining sessions.

February 1, 2021: We had our second session with the Mount last week at which we discussed definitions of terms that we hope will clarify our collective agreement. Overall we are still in the early stages of bargaining and have not yet had a response from any of the universities on most of our common proposals. See the bargaining page on our website for more details.

January 26, 2021: Last week we had team meetings to prepare for bargaining at the Mount.

Past Bargaining Sessions:

  • February 10 (Conciliation)
  • January 9, 2023 (Conciliation)
  • January 12, 2023 (Conciliation)
  • September 16, 2022
  • August 12, 2022:
  • August 8, 2022:
  • May 25, 2022
  • May 18, 2022
  • April 8, 2022
  • March 11, 2022
  • February 25, 2022
  • February 11, 2022
  • February 4, 2022
  • January 21, 2022
  • December 16, 2021
  • December 8, 2021
  • December 6, 2021
  • May 7, 2021
  • March 17, 2021
  • March 10, 2021
  • March 5, 2021
  • January 27, 2021
  • December 11, 2020
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