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Bargaining overview

Bargaining terminology

We recognize that some words and phrases related to collective bargaining may be unfamiliar. Learn about some of the language used on this site. View our glossary of bargaining terminology

Collective bargaining is the process of negotiating a collective agreement between an employer and a union. This overview of collective bargaining outlines what's involved.

Timeline of activity

  • Mar. 17: NSCC and the AAU reach tentative collective agreements on behalf of Faculty and Professional Support colleagues.
  • Mar. 15: Discussions continue between AAU and College bargaining teams.
  • Mar. 14: Conciliation officers meet with AAU and NSCC bargaining teams with the goal of reaching collective agreements. Meeting ends at approximately 9 pm, when conciliation officers advise the AAU bargaining team has left. College bargaining team continues working and emails updated offers to AAU bargaining team later that night. Union provides strike notice and indicates a strike date of Monday, March 18 if there is still no agreement.
  • Mar. 7 and 8: AAU holds a vote with its members on the College offer presented Feb. 27. Union informs the College the majority of those who voted rejected the offer.
  • Mar. 1 to 14: Waiting or “cooling off” period follows the conciliators filing their report declaring an impasse. During this time, no job action can take place (See step 6).
  • Feb. 29: Conciliation officers file their report with the Minister of Labour, Skills and Immigration declaring an impasse (see step 5).
  • Feb. 21 to 22: Conciliation meetings take place and end without full agreement on the remaining terms.
  • Jan. 31: Conciliation officer advises meetings scheduled for Feb. 21 and 22 (see step 3).
  • Jan. 29: Conciliation officer proposes a range of meeting dates to both parties.
  • Jan. 26: Conciliation officer appointed.
  • Jan.19: AAU bargaining team files for conciliation.
  • August 2023 to Jan.19, 2024: College and AAU participate in approximately 30 meeting days that are positive, respectful and productive.

Steps of conciliation

This table shows the steps of conciliation, but the duration and timing of these steps can change. The steps and estimated duration for the process include:

Steps in conciliation Estimated duration or timing
1 One or both parties (employer or union) decides help is needed to resolve outstanding items. They advise the Minister, Labour, Skills and Immigration. 1-2 business days
2 Provincial Conciliation and Mediation Services appoints a conciliator. 14 days (can vary)
3 Conciliator arranges meetings with both parties. 14 days (can vary)
4 Conciliation meetings. Continue until agreement is reached or until conciliation officer decides an agreement cannot be reached through additional meetings (impasse)
5 If agreement is not reached, conciliator files a report with the Minister indicating an impasse.
6 Waiting or “cooling off” period after report is filed. During this time, no job action can take place. 14 days
7 Notice of job action can be provided by either party any time after the report is filed. Parties have 6 months following the report being filed to take job action. Unions must have a strike mandate in place. 48 hours notice required (minimum)