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