Three OCUFA member organizations ratify new agreements, gain benefits

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Three OCUFA member organizations ratified new agreements in recent months:

Lakehead University

The Lakehead University Faculty Association (LUFA) ratified a new agreement at the end of July. Still under the shadow of the compensation restraint imposed by Bill 124, the negotiating team focused on bargaining for a one-year deal and made some significant gains on the priorities identified through a member survey.

On the longstanding priority of pension reforms, the parties agreed to switch to CAAT for future service beginning January 1st, 2023. Benefits improvements include a removal in the inequity in retiree benefits and an increase in the number of compassionate leave days from three to five. Professional Expenses Reimbursement amounts have been increased for Faculty, Librarians, Continuing Lecturers, and Levels 2 and 3 Contract Lecturers. Under Bill 124 restraint, all available compensation has been increased by one per cent.

In other changes, several Letters of Understanding have been moved into the relevant sections of the agreement, including language related to Teaching-Focused Faculty. Progress-Through-the-Ranks (PTR) requirements for Teaching-Focused Faculty have been updated to match PTR language for tenure-stream appointments. The eligibility for Right of First Refusal for Contract Lecturers has been lowered from three to two years.

The agreement also saw equity-related language changes, incorporating new equity, diversity, and inclusion language and changing some existing language to be more inclusive.

Algoma University

In mid-August, Part-Time Contract Faculty at Algoma University, represented by OPSEU Local 685, reached a new three-year agreement after a process that took several months.

Negotiating after the end of the moderation period imposed by Bill 124, members gained Across-The-Board (ATB) increases of three per cent effective July 1st, 2022, 2.5 per cent effective September 1st, 2023, and 2.5 per cent effective September 1st, 2024. In addition, a one-time wage increase of seven per cent will be applied to instructors’ wage grid salary rates on January 1st, 2023 to coincide with changes to Marking and Grading and Distance Education compensation.

Effective January 1st, 2023, there will be an increase in the marking and grading assistance from the current rate of $250 for classes of over 42 students plus $10 per student over 50 to $95 per student over 40; this will apply to every mode of delivery, including Distance Education, (with the exception of reading courses) and will replace the current distance education stipend. For classes of 100 or more students, the University reserves the right to assign paid marking/grading assistance.

Other gains include an increase in the tuition fee waiver from one three-credit course to two three-credit courses for every three-credit course taught; an increase to $36 per hour (previously $34) inclusive of vacation pay for Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC) responsibilities and mandatory work assignments (prorated in 15 min. increments); and increased time to file grievances. The preamble to the collective agreement will now contain a land acknowledgement.

Osgoode Hall

At the end of August, members of the Osgoode Hall Faculty Association (OHFA) ratified a new three-year collective agreement with gains on several fronts.

Under restraint imposed by Bill 124, the agreement contains ATB and stipend increases of one per cent per year. It also contains a commitment to a Bill 124 reopener. The salary anomalies exercise will continue, with a one per cent increase per year to the $16,000 anomaly fund available annually.

Members will see several increases in benefits: inclusion of psychotherapists, psychoanalysts and social workers under psychological services; coverage of medical marijuana of up to $1,500 per year; and an increase in the caps for vision care, vaccine coverage, global paramedical services, dental care, hearing aids, and prosthetics.

Members will also receive increases in the conference travel fund, the computer renewal program, and professional expense reimbursement as part of professional and work-related benefits. Effective July 1st, 2023, the number of faculty awarded one (1) high enrollment teaching credit hour annually will increase from 12 to 14. The number of research release fellowships (granting tenured faculty a semester free of teaching) was increased from four to five.

The agreement includes a program for Equity-Focused Appointments under which one candidate who self-identifies as Indigenous or as a Black person of African descent will be recruited for a tenure-stream position. The appointment will be part of the regular annual appointments exercise, with the potential for additional incentive funding to be provided by the Provost & Vice-President Academic at their discretion.

The agreement contains a commitment to complement reporting under which the Dean will continue to provide timely reporting on an annual basis to Faculty Council on the current number of tenure stream faculty, authorizations for new appointments, updates on recruitment, pending arrivals, and the aggregate of any pending departures known to the University.

Under a Voluntary Retirement Plan, faculty may take a 12-month sabbatical at 100 per cent of academic base salary, immediately following which they will retire from the University, provided they do so: (a) (i) within five years of reaching their normal retirement date, and (ii) have accrued at least five years of sabbatical credit; OR (b) (i) up to ten years past their normal retirement date, and (ii) have accrued at least four years of sabbatical credit.

In addition, as part of a voluntary separation agreement, faculty will be given the opportunity to receive a lump sum retiring allowance or a lump sum retiring allowance and one-time senior scholar research and scholarly activity fund on their retirement.

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