Soooo, I was in the process of writing a blog entry about the legalities of a strike vote scheduled to take place this week at York University when I received an email informing me that the faculty union (YUFA) and the University have reached a tentative agreement.
Therefore, I have deleted my ramblings about the law of strike votes and the legal right of employers to
unilaterally impose terms and conditions of employment on unionized employees. Instead, here is a quick primer on what happens now.
Since 1995, the Ontario Labour Relations Act has required mandatory ratification votes. This requirement is found in Section 44. This means that even though the union’s bargaining team and the employer’s bargaining team have agreed that the terms of the deal make sense, no collective agreement comes into force unless a majority of employees in the bargaining unit vote to accept the deal. At York, that vote will take place between February 23-25.
Although relatively uncommon, it does happen occasionally that bargaining unit employees reject a proposed settlement. For example, this happened a couple of years back during the extended York Region transit strike. And, more directly, it happened last year when contract faculty represented by CUPE were on strike at York.
Will York full-time professors accept the proposed contract settlement later this month? I really have no idea because I know nothing about the terms of the settlement. If the deal is rejected, bargaining would resume, and I no doubt will be returning the blog entry I thought I was about to write dealing with the laws governing strike votes.