Nearly five months after MUNFA presented Article 31 (Salaries and Benefits) to the administration, we received their proposal on 26 February. We are now preparing our response. Since we know that members of the bargaining unit are anxious to learn about the administration’s proposal, we are providing the following highlights. More detailed presentations will be forthcoming.
- PENSIONSThe administration has formally indicated an unwillingness to negotiate pensions with MUNFA. They struck out all sections in MUNFA’s initial proposal relating to pension reform and the setting up of a separate plan governed by a Joint MUN-MUNFA Trusteeship. (MUNFA IB 2002/03:19 dealing with pension matters was circulated on this matter 19 December 2002.)
- PER COURSE AND EXTRA TEACHING REMUNERATIONThe administration has proposed freezing remuneration at the September 2000 levels ($3800 per course, or the Lecturer scale � but with no increase in the cap) for at least the next three years. For example, an 8-month teaching term appointee, with a full teaching load and a Ph.D., and at the top of the Lecturer scale, will receive just over $30,000.
- BENEFITSThe administration has struck language that would improve our current basic health and life insurance coverage. No increase in Professional Development Expense Reimbursement (PDER). No increase in administrative stipends. No tuition benefits for the dependents of ASMs.
- SALARIESThe administration has struck MUNFA’s language that recognizes that a Master of Fine Arts (MFA), as the highest attainable degree in the fine arts or performing arts areas, should be the equivalent of a Ph.D. Similarly, no recognition of a Ph.D. for Librarians. As a result, these colleagues will be deprived of a fair and equitable salary.
MUNFA’s salary proposal was based on a comparison with the MacLean’s group of “comprehensive” universities. According to Statistics Canada and CAUT data from 2000 � 2001, MUN lags behind this group by about 10%, depending upon rank. Our salary proposal aimed at reducing this gap. We proposed an increase of about 15% in new money. The administration responded with a proposal to increase salaries by a little more than 7% in new money. In addition, the administrations’s proposal will not raise the floors or caps for ranks. As well as hampering faculty renewal, a refusal to change the salary structure will mean that more ASMs will have their salary capped.
MUNFA argues that if approximate parity is not maintained, faculty renewal and retention will become increasingly difficult if not impossible to achieve. Bargaining unit members should note that the Consumer Price Index (a measure of inflation) for Newfoundland and Labrador for the period December 2001-December 2002 was 4.9% (the all-Canada average was 3.9%). The MUNFA Negotiating Committee is committed to pension reform. Similarly, we are not prepared to accept a salary proposal that encourages our members to seek employment opportunities elsewhere, makes it more difficult to attract new faculty, and does not even keep pace with inflation. The MUNFA Negotiating Committee’s reaction is one of disappointment; we had hoped the administration would share our concern about Memorial’s competitiveness nationally and internationally.
MUNFA Negotiating Committee:
- Jon Church (Medicine) – Chief Negotiator
- Tony Chadwick (French & Spanish) Alternate Chief Negotiator
- Ed Andrews (SWGC)
- Aspi Balsara (Q. E. II Library)
- Glenn Clark (Education)
- Dorothy Milne (Q.E. II Library)
- Richard Rivkin (OSC)
- Leo White (Engineering)
- Chris Youé (History)
- Marian Atkinson (MUNFA Executive Officer, non-voting member)