New ratified agreement: Brock University

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In early July, members of the Brock University Faculty Association (BUFA) ratified a three-year collective agreement ending June 30, 2025. With strong member engagement reflected in a historic strike mandate (97 percent in favour), members made gains on their priorities of fair and reasonable compensation, job security for limited-term faculty, equity, supports for research, scholarship, and creative activity, greater scheduling protections, and collegial governance.

On compensation, members received a 3.5 per cent increase in scale, as well as a one-time lumpsum payment of $2,000 added to their base salary in 2023, followed by three percent increases to base in each of 2024 and 2025. Each member also received 2.2 percent increases in Progress through the Ranks (PTR) payments for each year of the agreement. Stipends for Chairs/ Directors and Program Directors, as well as overload stipends, will also increase.

Retired and former limited-term members received an increase to their Health Care Spending Account of 3.5 per cent in each of the first two years, and three percent in the third year of the agreement. Members also saw an increase in their coverage for psychological services and vision care, as well as in their moving expenses allotment. The statutory domestic/sexual violence leave provision has been incorporated into the collective agreement with double the paid leave guaranteed by the Employment Standards Act. This amounts to 10 paid days, with additional paid leave possible at the discretion of Dean/University Librarian. The eligibility to take phased retirement has been expanded from members over 60 to those over 55 years.

To support research, scholarship, and creative activities, a new Internal Research Grant will allot a minimum of $160,000 in each of the 2023-24, 2024-25, and 2025-26 budget years to fund general-topic internal research grant competition(s) open to all members.

A new Teaching Intensive faculty appointment has been created, with a workload distribution of 60 per cent teaching, 20 per cent service, and 20 per cent research/scholarly/creative activities, and a normal teaching load of six half-credit courses per academic year> Ah a minimum of 18 current Limited Term Appointments (LTA) and Instructional Limited Term Appointments (ILTA) will be converted to Teaching-Intensive faculty positions, with no less than half of these conversions to take effect by July 1, 2024. The proportion of Teaching Intensive faculty appointments to full-time faculty appointments is capped, and there will also be so a concomitant year over year decrease in the proportion of LTA and ILTA faculty to tenure and tenure-track faculty. In another step toward greater job security, the maximum length of the ILTA contract has been extended from three to five years.

The agreement contains several equity gains. A framework has been created for the initiation of Targeted Hiring Programs. “Black” has been added as a distinct designated group for the purposes of Employment Equity. The University will provide the Union with the results of its EDI census planned in 2023-2024. And, in preparation for an equity audit, a joint equity audit committee will be struck.

Criteria have been established for tenure and promotion to Associate Professor for Teaching-Intensive faculty members. Letters from external referees for all faculty applying for promotion may now comment on teaching and service in addition to research and scholarly activity. Changes have also been made to permanence and promotion provisions for professional librarian members.

On workload and working conditions, a minimum of 35 half-course or equivalent teaching releases will be distributed each year to members who engage in greater than expected levels of research, unscheduled teaching, or service. The workload distribution for ILTAs has been clarified. The ability of Professional Librarian members to work off campus has been confirmed. The University has committed to a comprehensive review of current practices of course scheduling, with a view toward improvement.

In a gain for collegial governance, a new provision recognizes the importance of member consultation and participation in the selection processes to fill senior academic administrative positions. The University will engage and consult with the Union on any changes to the policy governing the appointment of the President and Vice-Presidents. On other information sharing, the Administration will now be required to provide BUFA with audited financial statements; comparison of budgeted financial results to actual; and trimester financial reports presented to the Board of Trustees.

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