Collective Bargaining Update - Oct. 22, 2018

The October 9 update from the university bargaining committee provided an overview of the last conciliation meetings during which the university submitted a final list of proposals. Respecting that MUNFA did not have an opportunity to review our offer with their members, our last update did not provide details about it. In the interim, details of our offer have been distributed by MUNFA. We are now providing a summary of the progress of negotiations during the Oct. 1-4 conciliation session which resulted in the university submitting its final proposals.

Prior to Oct. 1, it is worthy to note that the parties had agreed upon language with respect to Article 11 – Tenure-Track Appointment and Tenure for Faculty Members, Article 12 – Procedures and Criteria for Promotion of Faculty Members and Article 24 – Counselling Faculty Members. These three articles, along with Article 23 – Term, Subsidized, Adjunct, Joint and Cross, Special Visiting and Spousal Appointments and Article 27 – Patents and Copyrights were identified by MUNFA in December 2017 as being the most important for this round of negotiations.

As conciliation progressed through Oct. 1-4, the parties discussed the importance of equity. With respect to equity, MUNFA requested we focus on gender and teaching term appointees. As well, MUNFA noted the importance of resolving Article 27. Our prior discussions with respect to this article were focused on whether the parties would be best served by having a policy or language in the collective agreement. With respect to collective agreement duration, on Oct. 3 MUNFA submitted a proposal to conclude a collective agreement which included a duration of four years with a 4% general salary increase.

The significant fiscal challenges facing the university mean that the university negotiating committee found it impractical to conclude a four-year agreement and be able to provide emphasis on equity issues. We chose to advance the equity issues. On Oct. 4, we submitted a package of final proposals to resolve the outstanding articles. As a conciliatory measure we decided to withdraw the university proposal for more collegial accountability for faculty members holding the rank of professor. Our final proposals include:

  • Three-year collective agreement, expiring August 31, 2020 of which one year has already passed;
  • No change to the current salary scales;
  • $1 million over the term of the collective agreement for a joint committee to commence addressing gender equity;
  • Effective April 2019 one step to be added to the lecturers salary scale, effective April 2020 one step to be added to the lecturers salary scale;
  • Providing birth mothers with access to supplemented parental leave;
  • Intellectual policy language as proposed by MUNFA placed in Article 27,
  • Recognition, within the existing leave with pay provisions, that faculty can access leave in situations of violence or abuse in their personal life.

While our final proposals did not include MUNFA’s demand for additional office space or permit ASM-CFE’s to bump other ASM-CFE’s outside the Academic Unit, the package did address Article 27 (which was the fourth MUNFA priority), equity concerns and removed any outstanding university proposals.

We believe that conciliation, which remains ongoing, has facilitated a constructive atmosphere in which we have been able to substantially address much of the priorities identified by MUNFA. We were therefore, surprised to be contacted by MUNFA last week requesting dates to commence discussions on strike protocol issues. We see such discussions as unnecessary as conciliation has not concluded, and we remain committed to focusing on achieving a mutually acceptable collective agreement.

On behalf of the University Negotiation Committee
Geoff Williams, Co-Chief Negotiator
Ian McKinnon, Co- Chief Negotiator

Contact

Newfoundland and Labrador’s University

230 Elizabeth Ave, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1B 3X9

Postal Address: P.O. Box 4200, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1C 5S7

Tel: (709) 864-8000