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January Advocate: MUNFA and CBUFA on the picket lines - DFA reaches a deal - UPEIFA uses every legal avenue at their disposal

Every month we send our supporters a newsletter with the latest CAUT and post-secondary education sector news. This newsletter was published on January 31, 2023. Subscribe to get the newsletter straight to your inbox.

In this issue:

  • Dalhousie Faculty Association ratifies new collective agreement
  • University of PEI Faculty Association: Every legal avenue
  • Members at Memorial head to the picket lines
  • Strike at Cape Breton University
  • State of the Post-Secondary Academic Profession survey

Member News

Dalhousie Faculty Association ratifies new collective agreement

The Dalhousie Faculty Association (DFA) has ratified a new agreement following their conciliation meetings in early January.

In mid-December, there was a strike vote and 82.2% of the DFA membership participated in the vote. Of those who voted, an overwhelming 92.2% voted in favour of striking if a satisfactory deal couldn’t be reached at the bargaining table, a statement by DFA said.

One of the central issues has been salary. The DFA noted that over a three-year period, the board offered less than the increases negotiated by Acadia, l’Université Sainte-Anne, and the Nova Scotia Civil Service.

The DFA is the certified bargaining agent for more than 1,000 professors, instructors, librarians, and professional counsellors at Dalhousie University.

University of PEI Faculty Association: Every legal avenue

The University of Prince Edward Island Faculty Association (UPEIFA) has been in negotiations for a new contract since April. Outstanding issues are mental health benefits, the number of full-time faculty, and salary.

In August, the UPEIFA sought conciliation to clear the impasse between the two sides. However, a statement released late last year by the association said that Minister Bloyce Thompson dragged out the appointment of a conciliator well past the legislated 10-day timeline.

According to Dr. Michael Arfken, UPEIFA president, “as the conciliation process enters its fourth month of government intervention with no end in sight, it has become increasingly clear that the provincial government’s actions are substantially interfering in contract bargaining and creating the conditions for an extended labour dispute at UPEI.”

The CAUT Defence Fund is supporting the UPEIFA in a legal challenge to the government’s ongoing interference in collective bargaining.

“The UPEI Faculty Association is prepared to use any and every legal avenue to preserve the educational quality of our institution and to build a better UPEI,” a statement from the association said.

Members at Memorial head to the picket lines

More than 800 faculty members at Memorial University began striking on January 30.
Memorial University of Newfoundland Faculty Association (MUNFA) members had voted overwhelmingly to strike if a deal wasn’t forthcoming by the end of the month.

“Because of the administration’s unwillingness to negotiate, it appears that no more can be achieved until after our membership demonstrates its strength on the picket lines,” the MUNFA stated in a notice to members. “Despite MUNFA members delivering a historic strike vote on Jan. 18, the administration’s positions on crucial bargaining issues have moved only marginally in more than a year.”

The association representing faculty, librarians and counsellors at Memorial is striking on several key issues including job security for contract faculty, workload, collegial governance, and salaries. 

“Memorial’s instructors are already amongst the lowest paid in Canada. The employer’s proposal is designed to drive salaries lower still,” said a report from MUNFA prior to job action. Read more here.

Strike at Cape Breton University

Cape Breton University Faculty Association members are on strike to achieve a fair contract.

“We recognize that it is a difficult situation for everyone, especially the students. But we are ready to walk the picket line if that’s what it takes to get an agreement we can accept,” CBUFA spokesperson Peter MacIntyre said.

Money remains the main issue at the table. During conciliation, the association reduced its salary demands, but the administration’s counter-offer will still leave members falling behind the cost of living. By contrast, the senior administration gave themselves a 10% raise this year.

The recent report “Culture of Entitlement” from the Association of Nova Scotia University Teachers shows that senior university administrative salaries have increased 84% over the last 10 years in Nova Scotia. Over the same period, faculty salaries have grown by only 17.5%, less than 2% per year.

On Our Radar

State of the Post-Secondary Academic Profession survey

How do you really feel about your job? CAUT wants to know.  

Given the significant changes over the past two years, CAUT wants to better understand academic staff experiences and attitudes towards the job, the workplace, and the post-secondary education sector. The State of the Post-Secondary Academic Profession Survey will help identify current issues and needs of academic staff at universities and colleges. 

We would like to hear from associations and their members to help us determine how best to serve the CAUT community.  

Please take a few minutes to participate in this anonymous survey. Thank you in advance for your time and input!  

Only three more days to participate in this survey! 

The deadline for completion is February 3, 2023. 

Complete the survey

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