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Home stretch for negotiations between support staff and administration

by Archives February 26, 2008

After five and a half years without a contract, the support staff at Concordia and the administration may finally be on the verge of making a deal.
CUSSU ratified the contract during a general assembly on February 15, said Andre Legault, President of the Concordia University Support Staff Union. But Legault says they had to make three major concessions to the administration.
CUSSU gave the administration more power to control when its members can have leave to do work for the union. However, Legault specified that the university can only wield this power during exceptional circumstances, such as when this could result in the cancellation of an event or exam.
Another concession was the removal of 36 out of 56 grievances filed by the union against the administration. In exchange, the administration will make the five contract workers at the copy centre permanent employees. The school will also add three more permanent workers at the store.
The last concession also concerns the job security of union members. Legault said the union wanted the administration to post permanent jobs on its website and on boards around campus instead of hiring contract workers. The university has also posted jobs that Legault says should be permanent as contracts. He says this discourages members of CUSSU from applying for these positions.
Yet, Legault believes the concessions were needed in order for CUSSU’s members to get the work conditions he says they deserve. Every support staff worker at Concordia will get a four percent salary increase, applied retroactively from 2001 to 2008. The support staff will then get an increase of two percent from June first 2009 until the end of the contract.
Legault is happy with the contract. He says the union achieved their two main goals–a decent salary and increased employment security. He added that the university came to the table because “they realized CUSSU members were not going to back down and accept a lesser deal than their colleagues.”
Library and technical workers reached similar deals a few months ago. Legault believes the administration came to the table due to pressure tactics by the union, such as the half day strike January 7.
Concordia spokesperson Chris Mota said she could not talk about the negotiations until the Board of Governors’ collective bargaining committee signs the contract with the union.
If everything goes as planned, a contract could be signed by the end of the week. The contract will expire May 31, 2010.

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