Collective bargaining update: March 22, 2022

Collective bargaining update

Several bargaining sessions have taken place since the initial exchange of proposals on Jan. 27, with meetings on Feb. 28, March 1, and March 15-16.  Memorial and MUNFA have reached agreement on a number of proposals submitted by the Association, including;

  • providing faculty members at the rank of associate professor the option to be considered for tenure in the fourth year of their tenure track appointment;
  • assessing assistant professors and associate professors applying for tenure in their fifth or second year of their respective tenure track appointments on merit rather than meeting the expectation of superior performance, with only one application for tenure; and
  • amending maternity and parental leave language to be more inclusive.

Discussions between both parties continue on the topic of faster processing of grievances through the grievance and arbitration process.

Memorial continues to seek amendments to give administrative heads a larger role in the appointment process.  We feel the process would benefit from the Head being a member of the Search Committee. We are attempting to address faculty who elect to reside outside the province and are on campus for limited periods during the Academic Year to ensure workload is spread evenly among ASMs. Additionally, the University has committed to submit a proposal for the implementation of a teaching stream faculty.

The Association has submitted a proposal which would award term appointments to per course instructors through right of first refusal based on their experience teaching at Memorial, receiving preference over those holding prior term appointments.  We cannot accept this position which arguably provides a benefit to individuals not covered by the collective agreement.

To address course equivalencies, the Association proposed to reduce teaching norms from five to four in Appendix E. The University thought the parties found a solution to campus wide equivalencies when the Joint Committee submitted its unanimous report; however, it was rejected by the Association.  This is currently going through the grievance and arbitration process for determination.

Discussions are moving slowly as expected, due to the large number of proposals on the table. It is customary for the parties to submit monetary proposals after they have discussed and hopefully resolved many of the non-monetary proposals. Until all the monetary proposals are submitted, employers will generally defer a response. This approach is consistent with standard collective bargaining process. Some proposals are easily identified as monetary, such as a request for an increase to a monetary allowance Others are more complex, such as a proposal to provide an additional day of compassionate leave (which has a monetary component) or seeking an improved benefit to address a difficult circumstance. 

Memorial deferred a response to the Association proposal to include the Truth and Reconciliation Day as a scheduled holiday in the collective agreement. In an earlier meeting, Memorial indicated that it was supportive of the Truth and Reconciliation Day, it was recognized last year and, that a response would come when addressing monetary proposals. Unfortunately, the Association presented to its members that Memorial’s response was not supportive of Indigenization and Truth and Reconciliation. Observing the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is one way Memorial is demonstrating its commitment to the process of reconciliation. The Association’s portrayal of Memorial’s position on this important day is disappointing as collective bargaining should be about having constructive dialogue to find a collective agreement that is beneficial for both parties, rather than attempting to divide the parties.