Labour Relations Update

January 29, 2019

By Barb Daigle

Happy New Year to all of you.  The festive season passed much too quickly!  We hope you all had a chance to recharge and reenergize.  We should take a collective bow for the progress and accomplishments of our faculty, staff and leaders across UNBC.

Bargaining Update

2019 will be a busy and active year for labour relations at UNBC. This March, we head into collective bargaining, and we are preparing by identifying priorities for the Employer to address. Discussions are currently underway to set bargaining dates.

Collective bargaining in the B.C. public sector falls under the legislation of the Public Sector Employer Relations Act as overseen by the Public Sector Employer Relations Council (PSEC).  When you hear references to PSEC, it means that UNBC is accountable to PSEC for operating within the mandate and guidelines set by PSEC.

Negotiations are not a walk in the park for anyone!  Successful outcomes require full commitment. Some differences and conflict are inherent to the process, but this is not always indicative of a breakdown, so please keep yourself informed.

We are committed to finding shared interests between the parties to resolve any differences and reach collective agreements as soon as possible. UNBC is committed to finalizing new agreements to address the issues and concerns of the parties while ensuring we align with the directions set by PSEC.

We will continue to share, as appropriate, themes, issues and developments from the Employer’s perspective, while respecting the role of the unions.  The Human Resources website is regularly updated to include recent developments in the HR department, including Labour Relations.

The Employer has set its bargaining teams and we are now working on identifying issues to support the University’s strategic directions. The CUPE bargaining team is led by Kerry Roberts, (Director of Human Resources) with Lisa Haslett, Twyla Hamelin and supporting staff from HR.

The Faculty Bargaining team is led by Barb Daigle with Erik Jensen, Ernie Barber and supporting staff in HR.

Positive Work and Learning Environments

We continue to have discussions around expectations for conduct that contributes to a positive work and learning environment.  We encourage our leaders to have proactive discussions around workplace conduct with faculty and staff. We are legally required to set a standard and expectations around how we all conduct ourselves to ensure UNBC is a positive and productive work and learning environment. Please familiarize yourself with the policies, such as the Bullying and Harassment policy, or Code of Conduct.

Mental Health

The stigma around mental health is not just happening outside UNBC. Even at UNBC, people deal with mental health issues and face very real stigmas in the workplace. Please remember that mental illness is not an inability to take responsibility. It is not a weakness. It is not a sign of laziness. I have heard all three of these used to describe serious mental health problems. I am continually surprised by this and think it is time we engaged in more open dialogue to challenge these misconceptions. 

We all have stressors and coping challenges that affect our mental health. It sometimes takes energy and support to deal with everything that life and work throws at us. It is important to differentiate between that and mental illness and remember that no one is immune.

Let’s continue to be aware of our own behaviours and commit to talking and educating ourselves. And when talking alone is not enough, we have resources at UNBC and in the community.