Wednesday, January 21, 2009

McGuinty on York U strike.

McGuinty didn't say much about the York strike, and moved on to talk about the recent deaths in an Ontario nursing home fire. But, he did say that he will send in his "top mediator", apparently named Reg Pearson (apologies if this is misspelled) to "bang a few heads together". He refused to set a deadline on these mediated negotiations, noting -- correctly -- that any deadline would likely lead both sides to dump the issue in his lap by waiting out the deadline, whether a week or two days. He did not comment one way or another on back to work legislation, but did mention the NDP in passing, saying that he hadn't yet talked to them, which suggests (although he didn't confirm it when asked) that the NDP might be a barrier to getting back to work legislation passed quickly.

Thus far, then, I'm still sort of okay with McGuinty.

So, what I anticipate happening, given what I know of these things: there will be maybe a week of tough negotiations ahead. The mediator will be taking into account how much movement each side makes at the table (so, if York just stonewalls, that will probably work against them). After this negotiating period, McGuinty will likely call the legislature back and try to push through a legislated end to the strike plus binding arbitration, with the arbitrator being Reg Pearson.

That's pretty much how it happened at UBC in 2003, save for the fact that UBC's CUPE 2278 was only out for about two weeks before the neocon Campbell government passed an insane (because it legislated back campus workers not on and not able to strike) piece of back to work legislation.

So, CUPE 3903 needs to be bargaining seriously and openly, needs to be sure they don't just stop and insist on any particular point, and keep in mind that any proposal they put on the table could become the final proposal put before an arbitrator.

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