Concordia’s Library Union Gears Up for More Negotiations

More Opportunities for Internal Staff Wanted

  • The union and Concordia signed the current collective agreement in order to better position themselves to discuss the new pension plan. File Photo Brian Lapuz

When the Concordia University Library Employee Union came to terms with the university on their collective agreement, they did so knowing that another round of negotiations would be coming up.

Officially signed on Nov. 30, 2017, the CULEU’s agreement with the school is retroactive, covering the period between May 2015, when the last one expired, up until August 2017. For the time being, its terms will apply until a new agreement is made.

Much like the Concordia Part-Time Faculty Association, the CULEU’s next round of negotiations will be focused on the pension plan.

According to CULEU President Kent Cluff, the union and Concordia signed the current collective agreement in order to better position themselves to discuss the new pension plan.

In 2017, the government of Quebec mandated that both the employee and employer contribute 50 per cent to their pension plan. The law came into effect on Jan. 1, 2018.

Prior to the law, the CULEU had been contributing 30 per cent, while the school gave 70 per cent. The new collective agreement has the CULEU putting in 45 per cent, and the school contributing 55 per cent.

When negotiating the current collective agreement, Cluff said that the main issues were job selection and staff development.

“The administration had been taking forever to fill positions and our internal candidates were being routinely overlooked,” Cluff said. “We were able to negotiate a slightly stronger training article and we now have a letter of agreement that hopefully will ensure more opportunities for internal candidates and make the selection process more efficient.”

He added that the letter of agreement was not permanent and that the CULEU would have to address the issue again in future collective agreement discussions.

“The parties were able to find creative solutions to complex issues,” said Guylaine Beaudry, University Librarian and vice-provost of Digital Strategy. “[The current collective agreement] terms will continue to apply until a subsequent agreement is signed. We expect to begin work on a new agreement in the coming months and hope to build on past successes.”

As part of their strategic directions this year, Concordia is planning to “empower library staff to develop skills and knowledge,” which includes a training plan for support and technical library staff.

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