Release Date: October 25, 2007
Media Contact: Stephen King, External Relations
Phone: (306) 585.5632
Mobile: (306) 536.4312
Fax: (306) 585.4997
Conciliation ends without resolution
Government conciliator Doug Forseth ended conciliation talks between the Universities of Saskatchewan and Regina and CUPE Local 1975, indicating the gap on one remaining issue was too great to close.

The Universities offered a 17% increase over three years, which included wage, benefits, and pension adjustment.

The outstanding issue centres on language in the collective agreement that allows the Universities to withhold increments from non-performers. Under the Universities’ last offer, CUPE members would receive annual economic adjustments and increases to benefit funding. Both Universities were in a position to fully fund the benefit proposal that was tabled.

“We greatly value our CUPE employees. We believe our last offer provided very competitive wage increases and reflected the principles of a progressive employer,” said Vice President, External Relations Barb Pollock. “We are concerned that the union appears to be deadlocked over differences in how to approach the issue of group benefits funding.”

The Universities entered the conciliation process at CUPE’s request and worked with the conciliator for three days to explore options to meet the union’s needs at both Universities. Both sides came to agreement on the issue of Essential Services and have committed to putting a plan in place to allow for the continuity of some services, reducing the impact on the teaching and research priorities at both universities. The Universities have developed contingency plans in the event of any labour disruption.

“The Universities will do everything possible to ensure students continue to receive a quality education and urge the union to commit to the same objective,” said Pollock. “After seven months of bargaining and listening carefully to the union, we are still committed to bringing negotiations with CUPE 1975 to a successful conclusion. Throughout these talks our goal has been to balance the needs and expectations of our employees with the interests and financial resources of the Universities.”