Negotiating News #10 – MUNFA Seeks Conciliation

June 14, 2018 

On June 7th, the MUNFA Negotiating Committee met with the MUN administration and exchanged the following articles:

From MUNFA to MUN:

  • Article 4 – Duties and responsibilities of Librarians
  • Article 13 – Appointment of Librarians
  • Article 14 – Procedures for formation of P & T committees – Librarians
  • Article 17 – Tenure track appointment and tenure for Librarians
  • Article 18 – Procedures and criteria for promotion of Librarians
  • Article 19 – Disciplinary measures and non-disciplinary relief from duty
  • Article 27 – Intellectual Property
  • Article 30 – Cooperative and Field Education

From MUN to MUNFA:

  • Article 1 – Framework and implementation
  • Article 5 – Reduction in duties and responsibilities
  • Article 7 – Appointment of Faculty members
  • Article 24 – Counselling Faculty members

Is there any progress? In a word – minimal!
Are there any positive signs? In short – NO!

What can we surmise about the administration’s attitude from this session?

  1. Continued erosion of the collegial process: for example, in Article 7 the administration will not agree to any language on failed searches. They want an unfettered right to override the collegial recommendation of a search committee, effectively saying, “if you do not recommend/choose the person we want, we will simply cancel the search.”
  2. Lack of planning and foresight: for example, in Article 5 the administration simply struck out our entire proposal to allow a phased in approach to retirement. We apparently do not need this language, as the one-shot Voluntary Retirement Program they have cooked up for this year is going to “solve” the problem. In a word – WRONG!
  3. Lack of leadership: MUNFA had identified changes to Article 24, an article that has never been changed, as one of our key goals in this round of negotiations. MUN told us they could not make any substantive changes because there is a search on for a new Interim (!) Director for the Counselling Centre and a new Associate Vice-President Academic. Frankly, all this says to us is that they are clutching at straws, hoping that someone new can come in and sort out the issues because they do not have a plan!

Why conciliation?

We are seeking conciliation because there has been no substantial progress on any of the major articles (11, 12, 23+23a, 24, 27, 31) that we identified last December as providing the most important advances for our members in terms of workplace equity for all and job security for our most precarious colleagues.

In contrast, the administration has promoted regressive language on tenure, academic freedom and collegial processes.

Clearly, the parties are at an impasse. The administration refuses to negotiate on MUNFA’s demands, those that can improve working conditions for all – even those that would cost them nothing.

Where to now?

In an attempt to further negotiations and provide an environment in which some substantial progress might be made, we have recommended to the MUNFA Executive, that we apply for conciliation in accordance with Section 98 of the Labour Relations Act, RSNL, 1990. Having approved the recommendation, MUNFA has sent a letter to the Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Labour asking for the appointment of a government conciliator.

Now the MUN administration must refuse to bargain in good faith in front of the government appointed conciliator!

In solidarity

MUNFA’s Negotiating Committee:

  • Jon Church (Chief Negotiator), Medicine
  • Alison Coffin, MUNFA Executive Officer (non-voting)
  • Dan Duda, Library
  • George Jenner, Earth Sciences
  • Kurt Korneski, History
  • Leroy Murphy, Business
  • Dave Peddle, Grenfell Campus
  • Nathalie Pender, Grenfell Campus
  • Nicole Power, Sociology
  • Richard Rivkin, Ocean Science