OCUFA Report

Historic first agreement signed at St Jerome’s; tentative agreement at McMaster

After some 14 months of negotiations, on April 6, the St. Jerome’s University Academic Staff Association (SJUASA) and St. Jerome’s University Board of Governors signed an historic first collective agreement.

The agreement includes a salary settlement that allows SJU professors to maintain parity with their counterparts at the University of Waterloo, the university to which SJU has been federated since 1957. Benefits, pensions, and leaves will also mirror Waterloo’s practice.

The faculty association made major gains on a number of fronts. The librarian was recognized as a member of the academic staff and will, for the first time, be eligible for tenure, sabbaticals, and a professional development fund. The agreement also includes very strong language on academic freedom and equity issues, as well as fair and effective procedures for grievances.

In a parallel development, at its last meeting, the university’s board of governors voted to approve in principle the creation of an academic council that would create a body to oversee all academic matters at the university. Faculty would constitute a majority of the new council.

At McMaster University, after the parties had submitted briefs to final offer selector Kevin Burkett on March 22, a tentative agreement was reached last Wednesday, in Burkett’s presence. The agreement is subject to ratification by the McMaster University Faculty Association’s membership, a process expected to begin over the next two weeks.

At Wilfrid Laurier University, negotiators for contract academic staff have had three sessions with Ontario Conciliation Officer John Miller, with another session scheduled for April 28. Stronger job security for contract faculty is a key issue in these talks. In the meantime, faculty negotiators for Laurier’s full-time faculty are at the organizing stage in bargaining, preparing a survey for their members and collecting data.

At the University of Windsor, faculty negotiators are preparing their bargaining proposals, which will be voted on by the membership at an April 26 meeting.

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