Negotiating News #11 – Response to Provost Comments

The MUNFA negotiating team finds the rhetoric of the Provost’s Collective Bargaining Update published in the Gazette to be inaccurate, inflammatory and unproductive. After months of inaction by and futile exchanges with administration negotiators, the Provost has made the preposterous claim, “The university negotiating team worked hard to reach a negotiated settlement with MUNFA….”

MUNFA informed the administration on July 7, 2017 that we wished to initiate Collective Bargaining. The administration delayed meeting with us until December 12, 2017. Having, since then, sat across the bargaining table only to have our proposals uniformly rejected and our attempts at constructive dialogue met with platitudes, fixed ideas and vacant glares, we can only conclude that the thin-aired elevation of Provostland distorts one’s vision of the people below.

No less brazen is the notion that the administration in these negotiations is attempting to “preserve the quality, integrity and reputation of this province’s only university”.

MUNFA has made numerous proposals intended to protect the values of the academy and its collegial governance. For its part, the university has failed to bargain in good faith. Considered alongside the University’s recently announced Voluntary Retirement Plan (VRP) incentive, which potentially precludes replacement of ASMs, and that current common knowledge of MUN`s attrition plan is that only 7 out of 10 ASM positions that are vacated may be replaced, it is blatantly obvious that the Provost’s claims are platitudes at best.

We recognize the acute budgetary restraint that the university faces, but that does not exonerate the current administration’s regime of poor management. This administration has had many years to build constructive relationships with successive governments. Apparently, it has failed to establish lines of communication that would enhance the administration`s ability to “preserve the quality, integrity and reputation of this province’s only university.”

The administration continues to make extravagant discretionary expenditures in areas such as the Old Battery Hotel, Marketing and Communications, and an ever-expanding list of Associate Vice-Presidents.  These funding choices demonstrate a significant failure of academic leadership and serve corporate values that are at odds with the core mission of the academy.

These current negotiations require constructive dialogue and good faith efforts to find solutions. The MUNFA negotiating team is committed to doing just that through the conciliation process. However, our experience with this administration and their negotiating team leads us to believe that if conciliation is to be successful, it will be despite administrative efforts, not because of them.

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