Bargaining Update - July 2, 2024

YUFA and the Employer are now meeting regularly to negotiate YUFA’s new Collective Agreement, which expired on April 30.  On June 18 YUFA presented part of its package of Equity proposals, while on June 25 and June 28, proposals on major monetary items were exchanged. These proposals have not yet been the subject of significant exchanges between the parties.
The YUFA Bargaining Team expects to present the rest of YUFA’s package of proposals (approved by the membership) in early July. The employer has requested a Ministry-appointed conciliator, but the timeline for conciliation sessions is not yet known to the parties. YUFA has requested that meetings with the conciliator be delayed until the parties  are able to identify the primary obstacles to a settlement.
Below is a summary of the monetary proposals that each side presented last week.
  • Annual salary increases of 4% over each of the three years of the collective agreement to compensate (partially) for years of below-inflation settlements.
  • A $1000 “catch-up” increase to annual Progress-Through-the-Ranks (PTR) increments (from $2,833 to $3,833) to be phased in over the three years of the collective agreement. This is intended to address the fact that these increments have been frozen for 14 of the past 17 years, severely flattening YUFA’s career salary progression slope, with the biggest impact on junior faculty.
  • Increases to benefits entitlements and caps that have been eroded by inflation.
  • Improved Pay Equity and anomalies provisions that have been demanded by YUFA members for years (see the July YUFA newsletter).
  • Improved retiree benefits levels.
  • A modest improvement to the “Final Average Earnings” formula used to calculate defined benefit pensions, returning the formula to the previous “best four years” (instead of best five years) calculation used prior to 2014.
  • Improved compensation and benefits for Post-Doctoral Visitors.
The employer’s initial monetary package  is extraordinarily disappointing to the YUFA bargaining team. Highlights of the employer’s proposals include:
  • Annual salary increases of 0%, 3.85%, 1.85% over three years which, combined and averaged, would leave our annual adjustments well below the current 2.9% inflation rate and well below other settlements in our sector and at York University. The proposed salary freeze in the first year would have the effect of clawing back a significant part of the Bill 124 remediation lump sum that members will be receiving later this month.
  • A further three-year freeze of members’ PTR increments (currently $2,833 annually). This proposal will keep us well below many comparators like Toronto Metropolitan University where faculty annual salary increments are roughly $500 higher.
  • Reducing the carry-forward period for unspent Professional Expense Reimbursement (PER) funds from five to three years.
  • Changing the Computer Renewal Program (CRP) entitlement period from once every three years to once every five years.
The parties have exchanged proposals on other items that will be summarised in future Bargaining Updates.  Key items under discussion include the following YUFA proposals:
  • Establishing maximum levels of normal teaching load in the collective agreement (2.0 FCEs for Professorial Stream and 3.0 FCEs for Teaching Stream).
  • Improved workload language for CLAs.
  • Extending dedicated hiring programs for Black and Indigenous faculty.
  • Improvements to the labour relations process where the employer is seeking to weaken certain union rights in areas like the grievance process while YUFA is pushing in the opposite direction.
  • New language establishing data privacy protections and providing regulations for electronic monitoring (along the lines of similar language negotiated by faculty associations at Queen’s and Western).
  • Important collegiality and governance improvements such as limiting the rights of deans to question the academic judgements of hiring committees when composing shortlists and position descriptions in appointments and recruitment.
  • Reversing the Board of Governors’ policy of forcing YUFA members to relinquish their union membership (including academic freedom entitlements, etc.) after being selected for membership on the Board. This requirement is rare in our sector and does not apply to other unionised employee groups at York.