Brock University workers avoid picket line

University offered to pay for both parties’ arbitration costs to avoid strike

Over 850 academic workers at Brock University reached a tentative agreement with the university on Monday, shortly after the strike deadline at midnight Sunday.

In an effort to avoid the strike, Brock University offered on March 2 to pay for the cost of an arbitrator. The university stated that the cost of arbitration was favourable to the cost of a strike.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 4207, which represents the university workers, turned down the offer two days later. In a March 4 release, the union said that suggesting arbitration so soon, “sends the message that they are not coming to the table prepared to bargain.” They indicated that the university’s offer was not an option because they were currently in mediation which, if successful, would avoid the need for arbitration.

CUPE also said that an arbitrator should be chosen and paid for between both parties in order to remain neutral. Further reasoning for denying the offer was the delay that convening an arbitration and then waiting for the award might cause.

The university’s offer was made by letter after the Brock University Students’ Union asked both parties to consider binding arbitration in order to “avoid a strike at all costs.”

Details of the tentative agreement will be made available after it has been ratified by both parties.

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