Developing Bargaining Proposals: Listening to the Membership
I have my own thoughts about our bargaining proposals. I mentioned some of them on my candidate statement, but our Unit 2 bargaining proposals will not be determined by the Bargaining Team. No one on the Bargaining Team should presuppose that they know what the membership wants or sees as priorities.
As a union we need to engage in a real outreach, consultation and discussion process to develop our bargaining proposals. We need to get this started as soon as possible. We need to carefully develop our bargaining survey and then make sure we get the widest response level possible. The survey will be online, but we need to canvass members in their departments and speak to as many members from all departments and faculties as possible. We need as many members as possible involved in the process, not just a handful of the usual activists.
We need to have collective discussions in Unit 2 town halls and online (via the Unit 2 list and a bargaining website or blog) to hear and learn from one another and to develop bargaining proposals that reflect the diverse interests of all Unit 2 members. We will only maintain broad support from Unit 2 members as long as the broad membership of Unit 2 sees their specific interests reflected in our bargaining proposals and priorities. We need members to understand, appreciate and support the various diverse interests in our unit and the resulting bargaining proposals. We are collectively stronger when we explicitly address our diversity.
Open Bargaining: Transparency and Membership Involvement
We need to build on and improve our CUPE 3903 practice of open bargaining. All Bargaining Team meetings and meetings with the employer are open to all CUPE 3903 members. This isn’t about turning the process into a zoo, this is to ensure that the process is transparent, the Bargaining Team remains accountable to the membership and the employer sees that the membership is involved. To facilitate this, we need to ensure that meetings are advertised widely and that the membership knows which issues will be discussed on a given day.
Obviously, not every member can or will attend bargaining sessions. We need to do a better job of providing bargaining updates to the membership. I’m no tech expert, but as you can see, I can manage to create, manage and update a website. I’d be happy to help ensure that we have a dedicated bargaining website with regular updates. The bargaining team needs to take a proactive role in providing information and updates to members rather than relying on the Communications Officer.
Make no mistake, the Bargaining Team will play a leadership role and will have room to negotiate, but it must remain an open, transparent and membership-driven process. This will be a crucial part of us getting a better collective agreement for all Unit 2 members.