By McGill Reporter Staff
On Monday, Nov. 9, McGill asked Quebec’s Ministère du Travail, de l’Emploi et de la Solidarité sociale for a government-appointed arbitrator in the ongoing negotiations with Floor Fellows, represented by the AMUSE union.
McGill has great respect for Floor Fellows and the important work they do in our residences. For many new students, they help make Rez home and ease the transition to university life.
The University is eager to see significant progress in our negotiations together. But, after more than a year, this hasn’t happened. From October 2014 through May 2015, the parties met seven times. At that point, AMUSE requested a government-appointed conciliator, and the parties have met eight more times with the conciliator present, still with no substantial progress made. The next step involves a request for an arbitrator, and McGill hopes that she/he can help us reach a mutually acceptable agreement.
Like conciliators, arbitrators are appointed by the government to intervene in labour negotiations and help arrive at solutions that both sides can accept. Unlike conciliators, when arbitrators determine that negotiations are stalled and further agreement is impossible, they are empowered to eventually impose legally binding solutions they deem lawful and fair to both parties.
McGill wants to reach an agreement, and has committed to remaining at the negotiating table for further meetings on December 14 and 16. The best possible outcome for both parties would be to make significant progress before a government arbitrator is provided (likely in December or January). But McGill also recognizes that with so little progress made after more than a year of negotiations, the two parties might not be able to reach an agreement on their own.
One thing is clear: both McGill and AMUSE care deeply about the well-being of students living in residence. Residents can rest easy in the knowledge that both parties will work hard to make sure their interests are front-and-centre – both during our negotiations and after a resolution is reached. As challenging as this process has been, we are fortunate to have this common ground to build on.