Collective bargaining process

Below you will find a set of General FAQs meant to help members of the Memorial community understand the terminology and process of collective bargaining.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Updated: Feb. 27, 2024

A union is an organization or association of a group of employees who are recognized by legislation to collectively bargain terms and conditions of employment with the employer.

The Memorial University of Newfoundland Faculty Association (MUNFA) represents academic staff members (ASMs), including full time faculty, librarians, counselling faculty members and co-operative and field education coordinators. It also includes contract faculty with teaching term or regular term appointments.  

Lecturer’s Union of Memorial University of Newfoundland (LUMUN) Per Course Instructors represents individuals who teach no more than two courses per semester.

Lecturer’s Union of Memorial University of Newfoundland (LUMUN) Postdoctoral Fellows represents postdoctoral fellows at Memorial who carry out research across a broad range of academic units. 

Teaching Assistants’ of Memorial University of Newfoundland (TAUMUN) represents graduate assistants at Memorial University.

Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees (NAPE) represents instructors, demonstrators, research scientists, research and technical personnel at the Marine Institute.

It is a written document which outlines the terms and conditions of employment for unionized employees. Each of the academic unions above has a separate collective agreement.

A process by which the university and the respective academic union negotiates the terms and conditions of employment for members of that union. It commences with either party (union or university) serving notice to the other of their intent to negotiate amendments to the existing collective agreement. 

Proposed amendments are exchanged in writing over an extended period of time.  Changes are commonly proposed regarding working conditions and wages.

The union negotiating committee is a representative group of union members who negotiate amendments to the collective agreement on behalf of the entire group of union members covered by the collective agreement. Similarly, the employer’s negotiating committee negotiates on behalf of the employer. When both negotiating committees reach an agreement on the specific amendments proposed to the collective agreement, they will communicate they have reached a tentative agreement. It is tentative at this point because it has to be ratified/approved by the broader group of stakeholders; namely the union membership and the Board of Regents.

This is the process the union and employer use to approve the tentative agreement reached at the negotiating table by the union and employer negotiating committees. Typically the union will distribute the proposed collective agreement amendments to their members and hold information sessions explaining the impact of the changes. After the information sessions, union members will vote to accept or reject the tentative agreement. A similar process will occur with the employer negotiating committee seeking approval from the Board of Regents of the proposed collective agreement amendments.

The union conducts a vote among members of a bargaining unit to assess members’ support of strike action. The vote is by secret ballot of the employees currently employed as per course instructors. If a majority of those employees voting (50% plus one) have voted to go on strike, the union has a mandate to take strike action.  

A strike mandate is the support of the members for the union to call a strike. A mandate results when the strike vote is positive, resulting in 50% plus one of those who vote voting in favour of a strike.  

The union may or may not choose to go on strike with a positive strike vote. The union can also decide to return to negotiations with the university with a positive strike vote. 

Memorial recognizes the critical role that per course instructors play within the university, and we are optimistic that we can negotiate a mutually beneficial and fair agreement. At the same time, it is essential that the university is prepared in the event of a strike. Memorial is developing plans to minimize the impact of any potential disruptions. This page will be regularly updated with answers to frequently asked questions. 
A course search tool will be available to help students determine if a course section is continuing or paused. This tool will be shared with students if a strike happens.  
Students should monitor their university email accounts, as that is the primary channel for updates. In the event LUMUN commences a strike, an alert will be sent via MUN Safe, and an email will be sent to all members of the university community.   

On Tuesday, February 13, 2024, the conciliator submitted their report to the provincial minister responsible for labour indicating that negotiations had come to a standstill. The minister accepted this report, which triggered a 15-day cooling off period. At the end of this period, the union will be in position to take a strike vote as of Feb. 29, 2024.  
At the request of the university, the parties met on Friday, February 23. The negotiating team for Memorial University presented a full package, including a monetary proposal, in our commitment to complete collective bargaining with LUMUN. The conciliator has indicated that LUMUN requested the parties reconvene on Wednesday, February 28. We are eager to proceed, and we look forward to more productive conversations with the union’s bargaining team tomorrow. The university is committed to negotiating a mutually beneficial agreement with LUMUN.  

LUMUN is the union representing per course instructors, who are individuals that teach up to two courses per semester in academic units across the university. LUMUN also includes postdoctoral fellows at Memorial who carry out research across a broad range of academic units. Per course instructors and postdoctoral fellows have separate collective agreements. Negotiations for postdoctoral fellows are conducted separately from per course instructors. 

There are 265 LUMUN members teaching courses at Memorial during the winter 2024 semester.  

No. While the collective agreement for LUMUN expired on August 31, 2020, the union and university agreed to extend it by one year to August 31, 2021. Per course instructors have not been without a contract for any period of time, as the current agreement is in effect until the next one is formally agreed upon and signed. 

About 13% of all courses being offered on the St. John’s and Grenfell campuses during the winter 2024 semester are taught by LUMUN members. There are no courses at the Marine Institute or Labrador Campus that are taught by per course instructors.