New YUFA agreement contains major gains on equity, benefits, and funding support

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After months of negotiations, substantial member engagement, and a strong strike mandate, the York University Faculty Association (YUFA) has ratified a three-year collective agreement that makes major gains for its members and bolsters education quality at York University.

With regard to equity, the new agreement increases hiring for Indigenous and Black faculty, librarians, and archivists while recognizing Indigenous knowledge in the hiring and tenure and promotion processes. In order to address equity concerns in retention, exit interviews will be held for Black and Indigenous members who are leaving the university, and there will be a review of tenure and promotion outcomes for individuals in these groups. A potentially landmark gain is the new $100,000 annual fund for course releases for Black, Indigenous, and racialized members who have high equity, diversity, and inclusion service loads. The university’s Affirmative Action Program has been expanded to increase the threshold for racialized hires and include members who identify as 2SLGBTQ+.

On workload and working conditions, a committee will examine categorization of and release time for administrative positions. As well, new procedures have been agreed upon for determining and avoiding conflicts of interest and bias on the part of academic administrators involved in handling harassment complaints.

Major gains were made on funds to support teaching, research, and professional development, many of which have seen substantial increases. The agreement also contains the results of a grievance settlement that has established two new annual $1,000,000 funds for individual faculty research support and for enhanced research support (infrastructure, research equipment, staff, postdocs, research accounting, etc.)

On governance and tenure and promotion processes, the agreement recognizes the right of YUFA to communicate confidentially with its membership on internal strategic matters, including bargaining and grievances.

Members saw significant improvements to numerous benefits, including an expansion in the list of eligible mental health practitioners, an increase to vision care, and increased annual contributions from the employer to the retiree benefits fund. Additionally, a one-time-only special benefits fund of $447,000 was created and will be administered by YUFA.

Salary and compensation gains include a one per cent per year across-the-board increase to salaries and a three per cent increase to progress through the ranks amounts at the end of year three. The parties also agreed to a Bill 124 Reopener.

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