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BARGAINING BULLETIN #6

September 28, 2020      “Excellence and Equity for Our Faculty”

After 18 meetings, the first which was held in late February, and countless hours on Zoom, the KUCFA Collective Bargaining Committee and the employer’s “Negotiating Panel,” reached an agreement and formally concluded our negotiations. The contract -­‐ the “Conditions of Appointment for Faculty” -­‐ expired on April 30, 2020.*

Here are a few of the highlights from the deal:

  • 2-year deal (2020-2022)
  • Salary anomaly study
  • $2500 startup fund for new faculty
  • 1% increase to base and PTR in each year of the deal
  • 1% increase to PDF
  • $50,000 increase to conference fund in 2021-2022
  • 1 additional buyout and an increase of $50,000 in 2021-2022 to the research grants fund
  • Pregnancy and Parental/Adoption Leave federal legislation compliance
  • Creation of a Joint Consultative Committee
  • OLRA compliant language throughout
  • Gender neutral language throughout

In the coming days we will be posting the entire contract to the KUCFA OWL website for your consideration. We will also be holding a special meeting of KUCFA in early October specifically for the purpose of discussing the contract and to conduct a ratification vote.

As always, the Collective Bargaining Committee of KUCFA worked tirelessly on your behalf during these unusual circumstances since mid-March. We always had the best interests of our colleagues in mind and we believe this contract represents this commitment to you.

Thank you for taking the time to read this over and feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

The KUCFA Collective Bargaining Committee: Stephanie Bangarth (chief negotiator); Anisha Datta; Adian McFarlane; Pat Ryan and Lesley DePauw.

* For details of the procedures, see “Negotiation Procedures”, Appendix A, page 63 Conditions of Appointment of Faculty

BARGAINING BULLETIN #5

August 27, 2020    “Excellence and Equity for Our Faculty”

The KUCFA Collective Bargaining Committee held their 16th meeting this morning with the employer’s “Negotiating Panel,” for the purpose of renewing our contract. This is the most recent meeting since our last update to you in Bargaining Bulletin #4. The contract -­‐ the “Conditions of Appointment for Faculty” -­‐ expired on April 30, 2020.*

We are moving closer to the conclusion of the bargaining process. We were able to settle on language on a number of issues related to our status as a union. These clauses refer to the definition of our bargaining unit and past practice. We also finally reached consensus on clause 10.4.3 (pregnancy and parental/adoption leave top-up).

Our really good news is that we finally reached consensus on the language for the salary anomaly study. An enormous amount of time and energy went into this process, and we are grateful to a few faculty colleagues who provided valuable counsel to the committee. In particular, we wish to single out Marcie Penner and Tracy Smith-Carrier for their assistance early on in the process.

We are committed to obtaining the best deal for our members. The bargaining environment is still challenging.  As we will be bargaining into September (we began in late February!), we will continue to provide you with timely updates as needed. Thank you for taking the time to read this over and feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

The KUCFA Collective Bargaining Committee: Stephanie Bangarth (chief negotiator); Anisha Datta; Adian McFarlane; Pat Ryan and Lesley DePauw.

* For details of the procedures, see “Negotiation Procedures”, Appendix A, page 63 Conditions of Appointment of Faculty

BARGAINING BULLETIN #4

August 7, 2020      “Excellence and Equity for Our Faculty”

The KUCFA Collective Bargaining Committee resumed bargaining meetings with the employer’s “Negotiating Panel,” for the purpose of renewing our contract following our very successful and important certification drive held in mid-June. The contract -­‐ the “Conditions of Appointment for Faculty” -­‐ expired on April 30, 2020.*

On Thursday August 6 we met for three hours on Zoom with the employer’s “Negotiating Panel” which now includes the new VPAD, Gillian Balfour. Our intention going into this meeting was to signal to the employer team that while we have unionized, we would not entertain a wholesale re-examination of our contract, nor would we tolerate any backsliding. Even if they did not say so, we believe the employer was relieved with the rational position we took. That said, there are areas of our contract that are now voided by the Ontario Labour Relations Act (1995) and so we proceeded fairly quickly through many of these and reached agreement on them. These include such obligatory language on the collection of dues, no strikes or lockouts, an addition of the description of the bargaining unit, and the removal of all passages restricting grievances. The latter is particularly noteworthy, as it now means that a whole host of issues that were once not grievable are now fair game, subject to our grievance procedures. For your information, the following are now grievable: decisions on buyouts (11.1), the decision to terminate or reduce a program or department (15.11) and the denial of a promotion, tenure, continuation of probationary contract, financial exigency, program redundancy, and salary agreements negotiated between the Board of Directors and the Faculty Association (16.2). We are also reviewing the practices and terms of the negotiating process (Appendix A) itself to rectify some of the concerns we have previously voiced about them and to make them compliant with the OLRA.

We are also moving closer on a number of bargaining priorities that predated the certification drive, such as the salary anomaly study, an increase to the research grant fund and clauses 10.4 and 10.4.3 regarding parental and adoption leave. Unfortunately, it looks like the employer is linking the PDF with the provincial 1% cap under Bill 124 which would mean only a $30 increase. Perhaps that may be adjusted via the COVID-19 Fall/Winter LOU, but as that is not part of the bargaining committee’s purview, we have no update for you. Do feel free to contact Stephanie Bangarth or Ben Muller for any LOU-related queries.

We are still committed to obtaining the best deal for our members. The bargaining environment is still exhausting.  We have been bargaining since late February. We have one additional meeting scheduled for August, so we will likely be bargaining into September. Thank you for taking the time to read this over and feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

The KUCFA Collective Bargaining Committee: Stephanie Bangarth (chief negotiator); Anisha Datta; Adian McFarlane; Pat Ryan and Lesley DePauw.

* For details of the procedures, see “Negotiation Procedures”, Appendix A, page 63 Conditions of Appointment of Faculty

BARGAINING BULLETIN #3

May 4, 2020 “Excellence and Equity for Our Faculty”

The KUCFA Collective Bargaining Committee have now held five meetings with the employer’s “Negotiating Panel,” for the purpose of renewing our contract since our last bulletin update on March 12. The contract -­­ the “Conditions of Appointment for Faculty” ­­  expired on April 30,  2020.*

Our recent meetings with the employer’s Negotiating Panel have not been productive. While we were very happy to conclude a LOU on the COVID-19 situation with the employer, it was an unnecessarily long and arduous process. The last counter we received came with very short notice via email prior to the meeting.  But it gets worse.  The ‘counter’ was actually not a ‘counter,’ because it did not address our previous positions.  Therefore, we spent the first hour of the meeting in caucus trying to align the two documents. About a third of the employer’s points we could only respond to by noting “see our current counter offer.” Several other points in their document included positions we had agreed to many weeks earlier, and/or their descriptions were at odds with the attached sections and even with their own proposals!  

We cannot say if this is purposeful. If it is not, we have doubts about competency; if it is, we have doubts about good faith. The employer has given us a massive set of proposals (opening more than 129 clauses of the contract). We have been able to agree to about 1/3 of their many proposals and have engaged in a substantive response to all the others. They have responded substantively to only two of our non-monetary proposals. We will likely have more to say about these in the coming week. Instead, they typically conduct this sort of game: they propose two changes that are both problematic for academic success with a caveat, if we accept one, they will withdraw the other.  For example, they propose that the LTA contract should be raised from 3.0 to 4.0 courses a year and offer us in return the removal of a proposal that any faculty member who is denied sabbatical leave or who refuses to take one will have their course load increased to 4.0 courses per year.  And this is not the most worrying response to our non-monetary positions. 

The employer remains very entrenched with respect to certain positions: -increasing restrictions on unpaid leaves of absences
-removing the right of disclosure and due process from the formal investigation process of the discipline clause
-reducing the ability of faculty to grieve the contract and of KUCFA to protect its members and due process           
-reducing benefits to legal minimums and less than sector norms
– removing references to human rights and labour legislation and commissions – reducing parental/adoption benefits and increasing verification processes.

We are committed to obtaining the best deal for our members. We have been working very hard to avoid weakening our contract by collaborating with the employer on many of their proposals. We have yet to see the same sort of mutuality from them, meaning that we have engaged with many of the employer’s proposals while many of ours have been rejected outright. It is important to note that the employer is entrenched in many of their proposals, linking acceptance of our suggestions of improvement to acceptance of their punitive measures. The bargaining environment is exhausting.  We have seven additional meetings scheduled for May. Thank you for taking the time to read this over and feel free to contact us if you have any questions. 

The KUCFA Collective Bargaining Committee: Stephanie Bangarth (chief negotiator); Anisha Datta; Adian McFarlane; Pat Ryan and Lesley DePauw.

* For details of the procedures, see “Negotiation Procedures”, Appendix A, page 63 Conditions of Appointment of Faculty

BARGAINING BULLETIN #2

March 17, 2020     “Excellence and Equity for Our Faculty”

The KUCFA Collective Bargaining Committee held its second meeting with the employer’s “Negotiating  Panel,” including the Chair of the Employee Relations Committee on March 12 for the purpose renewing our contract. The contract -­‐ the “Conditions of Appointment for Faculty” -­‐  is due to expire on April 30,  2020.*

Our recent meeting with the employer’s Negotiating Panel was a constructive one. We agreed to some minor issues and worked on areas where we are finding some convergence. Our negotiations have been proceeding constructively and collegially.

The Covid-19 outbreak, however, has disrupted our bargaining process. Due to the ever-changing situation regarding Covid-19 we approached the employer to request a pause in negotiations with the proviso that  all timelines as they apply to our collective bargaining as noted in our Terms and Conditions (2017-2020) during this period of pause be held in abeyance. The employer agreed to our gesture of support and solidarity. We agreed to resume bargaining on April 6, but this date will be subject to any university and public health recommendations that may arise in the coming days and weeks ahead. In light of the announcement that King’s University College will become a remote-access campus effective March 16 at 5pm this will mean pausing bargaining for a longer period of time. Meeting via remote connection is not feasible due to the unique nature of collective bargaining. Our Chief Negotiator, Stephanie Bangarth, will continue to participate in OCUFA and CAUT bargaining meetings remotely to stay up to date on how our sector is dealing with the situation.

We hope you understand this decision. We are committed to obtaining the best deal for our members. Thank you for taking the time to read this over and feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

  The KUCFA Collective Bargaining Committee: Stephanie Bangarth (chief negotiator); Anisha Datta; Adian McFarlane; Pat Ryan.

* For details of the procedures, see “Negotiation Procedures”, Appendix A, page 63 Conditions of Appointment of Faculty

BARGAINING BULLETIN #1

March 2, 2020  “Excellence and Equity for Our Faculty”

The KUCFA Collective Bargaining Committee held its first meeting with the employer’s “Negotiating Panel,” including the Chair of the Employee Relations Committee on February 27 for the purpose renewing our contract. The contract -­‐ the “Conditions of Appointment for Faculty” -­‐ is due to expire on April 30,  2020.*

At this time there are few issues to report. The Bargaining Committee discussed bargaining procedures with the employer – including future meeting dates -­‐ and outlined the contents of our proposal packages. The employer complimented us on the comprehensiveness of our proposals, and we provided initial responses to many of theirs. Some minor issues of wording and clarity in the agreement have already been agreed upon with the employer, while some other issues will require far more negotiations for our respective positions to begin to move closer.

While this first meeting represents the start of the formal bargaining process, it is in fact the culmination of many months of preparation by the KUCFA:

  • a Bargaining Committee was appointed;
  • a membership survey was conducted in the early   fall;
  • data, which was obtained from the employer and elsewhere, was reviewed and analyzed;
  • other Faculty Associations were consulted, as well as meetings and support with OCUFA & CAUT;
  • a Membership meeting was held to solicit membership feedback and concerns, and to outline and debate the subjects for negotiations.

In order to keep you informed and involved, the Bargaining Committee will be taking the following steps:

  • A CBC Information Folder under Resources in our Confidential Faculty Association Only OWL site: We will provide regular bulletins and updates on negotiations and provide information regarding specific items that might require general membership meetings for discussion.
  • Bargaining Bulletins: this is the first “Bulletin” which the Committee will regularly produce and post for the membership electronically through the confidential OWL site and on our KUCFA website.
  • Membership Meetings: future meetings will be held as required to provide information, answer questions and concerns, and to solicit feedback. The next meeting will be held on Wednesday March 25 at 3:30pm.

Thank you for taking the time to read this over and we look forward to your feedback at the next KUCFA meeting.

The KUCFA Collective Bargaining Committee: Stephanie Bangarth (chief negotiator); Anisha Datta; Adian McFarlane; Pat Ryan.

* For details of the procedures, see “Negotiation Procedures”, Appendix A, page 63 Conditions of Appointment of Faculty