The meeting was chaired by T. Chadwick, MUNFA President. SWGC participated by teleconference.
The Chair noted that since a quorum was not present, the meeting would proceed but no motions would be made.
Professor Chadwick noted that he took office officially on 1 September 2003, and that his report covers the period from the last General Meeting in April 2003 to the present. As provided for in the MUNFA Constitution, the President-elect is a member of the MUNFA Executive from the time of the election.
New Collective Agreement 25 July 2003- 31 August 2005: Those able to attend the information meeting held prior to the ratification, you will know already something of the process that led to the agreement. After six months of slow progress, the administration presented the MUNFA Negotiating Committee with a take-it-or-leave-it offer to settle all outstanding issues in the form they had at that moment, in return for a salary offer of 15% over three years. While the majority of ASMs were happy to receive the increase in salary, many were not pleased about those items that did not get addressed. These include:
Pensions -- the administration refused at the outset of negotiations to discuss this matter.
Faculty renewal -- the administration has virtually an unfettered use of contingent academic staff, and gave no commitment to replace ASMs who retire or resign The administration has promised a letter from the VP Academic concerning the strategy to be adopted to address complement and renewal, but it was anticipated that it will be little more than a formal gesture.
Reduction in workload for some Academic Units - the Negotiating Committee failed to obtain a direct move from six to five courses, although a mechanism is in place that will allow a reduction if it can be achieved without increasing hiring
Tuition bursaries for ASM dependents
Ratification Vote: Since the administration was anxious to have the Collective Agreement ratified as soon as possible, the timing of the ratification vote revealed an aspect of the voting procedure that had not been evident before. A number of ASMs requested permission to vote in advance, for which the MUNFA Constitution does not contain a provision. The MUNFA Executive has asked the Nominating and Balloting Committee to develop a procedure which would allow voting by persons who are on campus but are unable to be present on the actual voting day. A proposal will come forward in the near future.
Co-operative Education Co-ordinators. As Bill Schipper reported at a previous General Meeting, the Co-operative Education Co-ordinators (CECs) are now members of the Bargaining Unit. However, because their position had not been ratified before the expiry of the previous Collective Agreement, negotiations on the conditions of their employment and a salary scale fell to the Executive, not the Negotiating Committee. The administration showed little inclination to enter into discussions until June, at which time it was clear that an agreement was not going to be concluded without the intervention of the arbitrator, Mr. Martin Teplitsky, who had been named in the 2001-2002 Collective Agreement. Following written submissions by both parties, an arbitration hearing, and two telephone conference hearings, the parties are close to finalizing Article 30 on CECs, and the relevant sections of Article 31. It is these deliberations that are delaying the printing of the Collective Agreement 2003-2005. This October marks the eighth anniversary of MUNFA's application to have the CECs included in the Bargaining Unit.
Course Evaluation Questionnaires. As was reported in an IB, MUNFA was unsuccessful in having the CEQs made optional, and we anticipate that the administration will continue to insist that they be performed. However, the MUNFA Executive wants to make clear that the arbitration ruling dealt only with the administration of the CEQs, not their publication on the Web. If the administration decides to proceed with publication there may be serious concerns (e.g., ones related to privacy) that will need to be addressed, possibly through the grievance process.
Pensions. Although negotiating pension reform was blocked by the administration at the table, the MUNFA Executive has been pursuing this important matter through other avenues. MUNFA commissioned a follow-up study by the firm Morneau Sobeco which will provide our members with information necessary to evaluate the relative merits of a pension plan for MUNFA ASMs, jointly trusteed with the University, and separate from a pension plan for other MUN employees. The decision to commission the study flowed from the meetings on pensions held last spring, a period when hopes for joint trusteeship, a resolution of the problem of service costs, and a measure of indexation ran high. The administration reported that the necessary legislative changes had passed through cabinet and awaited only passage through the House of Assembly. However, the amendments did not make it to the Order Paper, and with a change of government the process will have to be re-started.
In the meantime, a sub-committee has been examining the Morneau Sobeco report and anticipates that it will be ready to present to the membership in the new year. The document is long and at times technical, but we are confident that it will be a very useful tool in clarifying the various issues in this complex question.
The Chair noted that a quorum was now present and therefore motions could be made.
(G03:005) MOVED ( C. Dennis/A. Lonardo) that the agenda be accepted with the understanding that the President's report had been completed.
Financial statements for 2002-03 were circulated to the membership (IB 2003/04:08).
(G03:006) MOVED (White/Church) that the 2002-03 statements be accepted.
Angela Lonardo, CAUT Council Delegate reported that the Defence Fund met in Regina in late October. The Fund dealt with housekeeping matters regarding the bylaws. A motion was passed that strike pay increase to $60 per calendar day. The current balance of the CAUT Defence Fund is $14.5m.
(G03:007) MOVED (J. Church/L. White) that the General Meeting minutes of April 8, 2003 be accepted.
Professor Chadwick noted that matters arising are already covered in other committee reports.
A P&T information session organized by MUNFA and Labour Relations was held in September for the benefit of administrators and P&T Chairs.
(G03:008) MOVED (Browne/Redlack) that the terms of reference of Pensions Committee be accepted.
Dr. J. Maclean (French & Spanish) spoke to the membership concerning the ongoing endeavors of Project Green which is a voluntary environmental association whose members consist of student groups, faculty and staff. Dr. Maclean encouraged MUNFA members to support this initiative.
(G03:009) MOVED ( C. Dennis) that the General Meeting adjourn.
April 26, 2004