The facts on interest arbitration
Interest arbitration is a legitimate and time-tested part of the collective bargaining process. It does not get in the way of the labour negotiation process.
What it is
An independent arbitrator is brought in to review the positions of both sides and make a final and binding decision.
It is used whenever provincial legislation is passed to end a strike, such as the recent college faculty strike.
It also provides an opportunity for both parties, by mutual agreement, to refer any outstanding issues to an arbitrator before the process stalls or results in a strike.
Parties can decide to go to interest arbitration at any time
Negotiations do not have to break down in order to go to interest arbitration if both parties agree. Any and all outstanding issues can be referred to arbitration at any time.
How arbitrators make their decisions
Arbitrators are required to review what each party wants to achieve through negotiation.
They then impose a new collective agreement that reflects what the parties could have reached at the negotiating table in what is called “replicate free collective bargaining.”
What this means for CUPE 3903 employees
Interest arbitration does not necessarily mean that a union that is already leading the sector in compensation and benefits, as is the case with CUPE 3903, would receive less through interest arbitration than it would have in bargaining directly with the employer.
For example, the Toronto Police, who lead all Ontario municipal police forces in wages and benefits, continue to move forward under interest arbitration.
Police, fire, ambulance, hospitals all regularly go to interest arbitration and receive raises.
York willing to go to interest arbitration at any time
Any items agreed to prior to interest arbitration would become part of the new collective agreement.
However, after more than two months of negotiations, no final agreement has been reached on any of the 110 proposals made by CUPE 3903 or the eight proposals made by York.
To avoid any disruption to the academic year, we have offered since negotiations began to go to interest arbitration at any time.
If CUPE 3903 agrees, there will be no strike.