Negotiating News #14 – Conciliation Continues

The negotiating teams for MUNFA and the university administration met again in conciliation at the Fairfield Marriot on Kenmount Rd. on Wednesday and Thursday, August 29 and 30, 2018. While both MUNFA and the conciliation officer were optimistic before starting that important Articles in the Collective Agreement would at last be meaningfully discussed, unfortunately, we were again disappointed.

The parties did reach agreement on Article 24 (Counselling Faculty Members), and MUNFA pushed the administration by providing new proposals on Article 22 (Leaves) and on Article 3 (Duties and Responsibilities of Faculty Members) but to little effect it seems. Considerable time was spent once again on rather minor issues. For instance, MUNFA received the 7th(!) iteration of Article 12 (Procedures and Criteria for Promotion of Faculty Members) from the administration, and we were initially heartened to see that their egregious language outlining post-tenure review had been deleted. We were subsequently advised though, that the employer had simply moved that same Clause into Article 3 where, they claimed, “…it was in a more appropriate context.” More appropriate or not, we argued it did not make the concept any more palatable.

Disappointing as well was the fact that the bargaining session on August 30 ended around 1:00pm. We were told that some members of the administration’s team had been summoned to a meeting with senior administrators on campus at 3:00pm, apparently to discuss these contract negotiations. Subsequently, the conciliator advised MUNFA that the administration committee would not be able to continue bargaining that afternoon. It is not clear why, after a 6 week delay in conciliation due to the unavailability of the university administration, they should need to interrupt scheduled conciliation days to confer on negotiation matters!

Given what time was available, and the opportunity offered, the MUNFA negotiating committee did use part of one face-to-face session to brief the employer on the rather urgent need for an agreed strike protocol. If issues such as rules governing picketing, decisions on who is on strike and who is not (ASMs on leave, for instance), monetary items such as payment of benefits, dues, etc., access to email, and retention of pre-existing scheduled deadlines with respect to grant applications, arbitrations, and so on, can be agreed in advance, job action can be more stream-lined, and often shortened. We assume that the administration will follow-up on this issue with the MUNFA Executive Committee.

The parties will be back in conciliation at the same location September 13 and 14, 2018. Following those dates, we will once again provide you with an update.

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