Two new agreements ratified

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Nipissing University

Congratulations to the members of the Nipissing University Faculty Association Contract Academic Staff Bargaining Unit (NUFA-CASBU), who ratified a three-year collective agreement in early January 2023 following a protracted round of negotiations. This was the unit’s first agreement post-Bill 124 moderation. On compensation, members received across-the-board (ATB) increases of one per cent in the first year, and two per cent in the second and third years. There were also increases to professional development fund, and research related activities were added to the list of eligible activities. The conference fund was also increased, and a new tuition subsidy fund worth $10,000 was negotiated.

On job security, several gains were made on right of first refusal (RFR), including the protection of RFR during emergencies, in cases of Ontario Human Rights Code-based accommodations, and when pursuing educational opportunities related to their discipline for a maximum of 24 months. The RFR review committee has been eliminated. The length of membership in the bargaining unit now extends 12 months after the start of the most recent contract for the specific purpose of being able to vote for strike mandates and ratification.

Other gains include a new clause on leave that acknowledges members’ right to take Human Rights Code leaves, particularly creed-based leaves, as well as an agreement on mode of delivery. The latter stipulates that the mode of delivery of a course cannot be changed after the contract for the course has been signed without the written consent of the member, except in case of an emergency.


Trent University

Congratulations to members of the Trent University Faculty Association (TUFA) who ratified a new three-year collective agreement in mid-December 2022. The hard work of the bargaining team over 12 days of compressed bargaining resulted in significant gains in the priority areas of remuneration, equity, employment security for members in teaching-intensive positions, and workload.

On benefits, improvements were negotiated for paramedical coverage, including a more than doubling of the maximum for psychological care, as well as expansion of coverage to include psychotherapists and social workers. There were also improvements to vision care and hearing aids. On dental there is new coverage for major restorative dental work, as well as an increase to orthodontic coverage. An additional transgender benefit was secured through Sun Life in the amount of $10,000/year to a lifetime maximum of $50,000.

On equity, TUFA made a number of gains, including a new definition of “Underrepresented Groups” aligning Trent with Tri-Agency standards; data collection and sharing; appropriate training for members dealing with personnel matters; five targeted searches at senior academic ranks; and agreement that all TUFA positions would be posted as preferring candidates from underrepresented groups until internal targets were met. Service by members from underrepresented groups has been recognized both for its extent and its particularities and such contributions and community leadership roles can now be considered the equivalent of a major university committee for purposes of service work, and in the normal allocation of duties.

Specifically on Indigenization, evaluation standards for tenure and promotion now include a recognition of “different knowledge traditions, including the traditions associated with conventional academic scholarship as well as traditional or Indigenous knowledge, and differences in the ways knowledge is acquired, generated, and transmitted.” There is also a process to consider questions related to Indigenous identity whereby senior administration will directly work with Indigenous stakeholders (particularly the Indigenous Knowledge Keepers Council and the Indigenous Education Council) to make recommendations that—if pertinent to faculty/librarian employment—are then considered at Joint Committee prior to implementation.

With respect to job security, there is a one-time conversion process for limited term appointments (LTAs) with a minimum amount of continuous service into probationary teaching-intensive positions. Teaching-intensive faculty will now receive tenure rather than permanency, their titles will be consistent with other faculty members, they will be eligible for promotion to Full Professor, and the restriction on their academic freedom that required them to focus on “discipline-related pedagogical research” has been eliminated.

On workload, there is now an explicit requirement to factor graduate teaching and supervision into members’ assignments and to ensure that the data necessary to do this are made available to department chairs in a timely way. For members in teaching-intensive and LTAs, who also serve in leadership roles (e.g., program coordinators, department chairs), various course releases were negotiated, including an extra course release for such members when they are new to the leadership roles. As well, program coordinators may receive additional course release when their workload is anticipated to be exceptional (program start-up, cyclical reviews, etc.). Teaching support provisions have also been substantially revised to increase the base allocation to the Marking Fund, as well as to ensure such supports are announced to members to facilitate planning, course design and hiring. A committee will also be struck to consult with the Joint Committee on potential improvements to a variety of administrative processes, particularly those that are particularly time-consuming for members.

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