New ratified agreement: Wilfrid Laurier University

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Members of the Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty Association (WLUFA) Full-Time faculty unit ratified a new three-year agreement that made significant gains on their priorities of workload, working conditions, and increasing compensation to make up for caps imposed by Bill 124 as well as inflation. The agreement was reached over three weeks of concentrated bargaining in May and June.

On compensation, members received a three per cent increase in salary scale, floors, and stipends for each year of the agreement, along with a 0.5 per cent Ontario System Adjustment increase in 2024 and 2025. In terms of benefits, members successfully resisted the imposition of co-payment requirements on several categories of benefits and gained eligibility for Sun Life’s extended gender affirmation coverage. Compassionate leave has been extended to death or illness of those who are “considered to be like family.” Leaves may be extended to accommodate creed-based practices and travel, with supporting documentation to be provided upon request.

To address workload, the Chair’s stipend was increased for the next three years. Course releases available for research excellence will be extended to cover instructional development and graduate supervision beyond the norm, and the pool of eligible courses expanded. The maximum limit on marking assistance has been raised from 125 to 195 hours.

Faculty complement will be increased over the life of the agreement, from the current 480 to 490. However, the suspension of the penalty on teaching by non-members during the 2020-23 agreement because of COVID-19 will be extended until June 30, 2025.

Members have retained their right over mode of course delivery. Members cannot be assigned Online or Special courses without their consent unless:

  1. There is no other work available for them in the subunit
  2. The mode of delivery for the course has been approved by the department/program-in-council, faculty-in-council, and Senate.

Full Time Members will be paid the same for teaching online courses and regular courses, on overload. Those who develop online courses will have the option to teach them the first three times the courses are offered, as part of their regular load.

Librarians have also made gains on working conditions, among them the entitlement to work partially from home on a regular basis.

A significant equity gain has been the creation of a new Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Indigenization (EDII) fund of $20,000, with $10,000 for EDI work and $10,000 for Indigenous Knowledge endeavours.

Changes were also made to hiring and tenure and promotion committee procedures, and to referral and evaluation criteria for promotion to Full Professor.

Among other changes: Merit categories have been made more flexible. “Teaching Evaluations” will be referred to as “Student Course Surveys” and no evaluation of teaching can rely exclusively or primarily on them. To address research misconduct, research data must be retained retention for seven years following the end of a project’s data collection and recording period, and the Tri-Council framework on what constitutes misconduct has been adopted. Conflict-of-interest provisions have been extended to “intimate partnerships,” not just “sexual relationships.”

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