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CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. — The bargaining course of between UPEI’s board of governors and its school union is being dragged out once more after the province introduced its intention to nominate a mediator.
On Jan. 6, members of the UPEI School Affiliation and the board of governors acquired a letter from Financial Progress, Tourism and Tradition Minister Bloyce Thompson asserting his intent to nominate a mediator after an settlement had didn’t be made throughout conciliation talks.
“My understanding is that the conciliation officer was unable to result in an settlement between the (UPEI) board of governors and the (UPEI) School Affiliation, although progress was made on some points,” stated Thompson within the letter.
The letter stated the minister would work to discover a appropriate mediator shortly and would inform each events in writing when one is discovered; nevertheless, no deadline was given.
“To our data, (appointing a mediator) is unprecedented,” stated Michael Arfken, president of the UPEIFA, stated in an interview with SaltWire Community on Jan. 9.
“It’s an out there choice to the minister below the Labour Act. We aren’t conscious of this being carried out earlier than, and if it has, it will be information to us.”
SaltWire Community requested to talk with Thompson on Jan. 9 for touch upon the choice to nominate a mediator, nevertheless he was not made out there. In an emailed assertion, a spokesperson stated the function of the mediator will probably be to help the events in reaching an settlement.
The spokesperson additionally stated a mediator was appointed to help the identical events in 2006.
The information of the mediation is irritating for UPEIFA members, particularly after the federal government already prolonged the conciliation course of by 4 months, stated Arfken.
“That was clearly fairly irritating, and we assumed that given the size he had prolonged it we had been free to return to direct bargaining. Come to seek out out, we’re not,” he stated.
The extension of conciliation and the appointment of a mediator additionally continues to maintain the union and its members from taking a authorized strike place, leaving them at a drawback in negotiations, stated Arfken.
“In collective bargaining, the way in which you equalize the ability between the events is to place staff in a authorized strike place. That may be a motivation for employers to succeed in a good and cheap settlement,” he stated. “Within the absence of that, it appears like we’re spinning our wheels a bit.”
Arfken stated the language used within the Island’s Labour Act dictates that processes resembling appointing a mediator ought to occur shortly. Nonetheless, he stated the expertise from conciliation and the extensions made on the discretion of the minister depart members skeptical on any potential timeline.
In a earlier interview on Dec. 12, Arfken instructed SaltWire Community the union deliberate to file a judicial evaluation of Thompson’s resolution to increase the conciliation course of, which had begun in August.
Now that the federal government has moved each events out of conciliation, a judicial evaluation is not wanted. Nonetheless, Arfken stated if issues don’t progress in a well timed method, one other judicial evaluation on the mediation course of could also be began.
“We need to make it clear that in our view the minister must make this appointment shortly and must appoint a talented and neutral mediator to take us via a streamlined course of,” he stated.
“If we see departures from that or if we see what we noticed in conciliation with the minister utilizing his discretion to increase deadlines or timelines, that’s when we have to begin making some additional selections.”
In the end, what the union wish to see is the federal government again off a little bit and permit direct bargaining to proceed, Arfken stated, as an alternative of constant to intrude at the good thing about the board of administrators.
“What we noticed in conciliation was the federal government placing their toes on the dimensions for our employer,” he stated.
“That isn’t going to do anybody any good and it isn’t going to deal with any of the issues we have now at UPEI. We’re simply on the lookout for a good and cheap provide from our employer and we need to be in circumstances the place that’s probably to happen.”