We finally exchanged monetary proposals on Monday in the presence of our conciliator from the Ministry of Labour. We did not have much time left to fully discuss these proposals, and so I will reserve sharing too much information before we have had an opportunity to develop a better understanding of each other’s position at the table.
Pension and Benefits: At first glance, we appear to be very far apart on this matter. The Association is seeking improvements to pension and benefits to bring us in line with sector norms, while the Employer is seeking to remove Appendix B – Benefits Coverage from the Collective Agreement altogether. They are also proposing excluding some of our members from benefits coverage altogether. They gave us a presentation based on a report by a consultant they commissioned that claimed to show that our benefits compared favourably among 11 comparator Ontario universities. We are still waiting for them to agree to share the full report as the presentation focussed on the few areas where we do compare favourably, specifically Short Term Disability Leave and the cost sharing between the employer and employee, which are not areas where we are seeking improvements. Now that we have the names of the institutions the University is using as comparators, we look forward to compiling data showing a full comparison of benefits to share with you.
Workload: We are also very far apart on this issue. As you should know, workload was a top priority as identified by our members through bargaining surveys and our bargaining mandate. We will continue to voice the importance of fair and collegial workload provisions for all Faculty Members at UOIT, in line with best practices in our sector. We will also continue to advocate for language that covers and protects all of our members, including but not limited to our most vulnerable contract faculty.
Compensation: We have quite a ways to go to reach agreement here. We look forward to reminding them of UOIT’s strong financial position, and historic trajectory of surpluses, at the table. The exclusion of contract faculty has been another key theme for the employer; we did not organize limited-term faculty to negotiate language that only affords them the basic minimum rights already provided for by law for all workers in Ontario. We are committed to getting fair salary increases for all Faculty Members.
We remain committed to fairly represent all Faculty Members at UOIT, and to better align with the norms of our sector. As such, I am appealing to our members to show support for fair inclusion for all Faculty Members. The Administration can erode all of our rights by having a group of precarious academic staff at UOIT with minimal workplace rights and protections. An injury to one is an injury to all. Please consider taking to social media this Monday in support of fairness for contract faculty: https://ocufa.on.ca/blog-posts/february-11-is-the-fairness-for-contract-faculty-social-media-day-of-action/, I certainly will be.
I look forward to reporting again soon with some better news. We have three days of bargaining next week, including two with the conciliator. As we more through these incredibly busy next days and weeks, we will do our best to keep you updated on our progress at the table. In the meantime, we remain committed to getting a fair deal for Faculty Members as expeditiously as possible.
Bargaining Team Members:
Mike Eklund, CNO, Professor, FEAS
Bin Chang, Associate Professor, FBIT
Sue Coffey, Associate Professor, FHS
Ana Duff, Academic Associate, FBIT
Qusay Mahmoud, Professor, FEAS
Elita Partosoedarso, Associate Teaching Professor, FHS
Ruth Simpson, Associate Teaching Professor, FHS
Christine McLaughlin, Executive Director, UOITFA
Chelsea Bauer, Executive Assistant, UOITFA