YUFA files grievance on Research Release Program

The sign that appears outside YUFA's office in York Lanes

The sign that appears outside YUFA’s office in York Lanes

Dear colleagues,

It is widely known that many units still do not have approved criteria for the Research Release Program, Article 18.15 of the new Collective Agreement. We have been contacted by many members who are deeply concerned that delays have created pressure to agree to restrictive or inflexible criteria in order for releases to be assigned to colleagues in a timely way for 2017-18. On the other hand, we have heard that some units seem to have been relatively successful and are hoping for a productive roll-out of the program.

From YUFA’s point of view, the failure of the Employer to agree to a timely dispute resolution process for units to resolve disagreements with their Deans/Principal has been a significant issue. Until now, departments have not been able to see how dispute resolution might offer a better path, and they have been concerned that the first stage of the dispute resolution process—communicating with the Provost—could lead to an indefinite process that simply causes further delays.

Yesterday YUFA was finally able to negotiate parameters for dispute resolution with the Employer, which for the first time gives units the choice of an expeditious path (less than two weeks) to the Dispute Resolution Panel. Here is how the dispute resolution process would work:

  1. The Employer and YUFA will each select members of the Panel. This is happening now and will be complete in a few days.
  1. Units may elect to go to the dispute resolution process at any time, by sending their proposed criteria to the Provost. Units do not need to convince their Dean/Principal that the matter is ready to proceed to dispute resolution. In the meantime, the Deans/Principal will inform units without approved criteria that, after December 15, the dispute resolution process will be used to resolve all outstanding cases.
  1. All unit-proposed criteria (not yet approved) that proceed to dispute resolution will first be sent to the Provost. Within seven calendar days, the Provost will reply to the unit with observations or recommendations. At that point, the unit may decide to work further with the Provost or have the matter referred directly to the Dispute Resolution Panel. Units that decide to work with the Provost may at any time move to the Dispute Resolution Panel.
  1. It is expected that the Dispute Resolution Panel will be ready to respond to specific unit submissions as soon as December 16.

In the meantime, YUFA has filed a policy grievance wherein we challenge some of the key aspects of the implementation of the Program that have led to the failure to approve many unit criteria. These include the nature and unreasonableness of some criteria being required or used for judging unit submissions (such as high competence in Tenure & Promotion, for example), and the failure to treat the program as a means for supporting research rather than a performance review.

The grievance will also address apparent inequities in the treatment of different unit submissions, the detrimental effect of long delays in the process, and the Employer’s failure to provide YUFA with copies of unit submissions and other documents as per a formal agreement among the parties.

The grievance was filed with the unanimous support of the Executive Committee and the Stewards’ Council. Read the full text of the grievance here.

YUFA will provide further updates as more information becomes available. It would be especially valuable if members would share with YUFA any issues or materials you think could help support or strengthen the grievance.

If you have any questions about dispute resolution or the grievance, please email yufa@yorku.ca or rwellen@yorku.ca.