YUFA begins bargaining for a new collective agreement - update

The YUFA bargaining team has begun to meet with the Employer’s team in the early stages of the process of negotiating a new collective agreement. The current collective agreement expires on April 30, 2024.

On April 2, the Employer presented its first package of non-monetary items. The YUFA bargaining team mentioned to the Employer that YUFA’s package of proposals will not be presented until after receiving approval from members.

One proposal by the Employer would impose stricter grievance timelines and would make it harder for the parties to move disputes to the Dispute Resolution Committee. In addition, the Employer proposed language that might negatively affect teaching stream members’ ability to switch to the professorial stream. Moreover, the Employer is proposing to enshrine 3.5 FCEs as a normal teaching load for teaching stream faculty in the text of the collective agreement (and therefore independent of unit workload documents) and that units with current normal teaching loads below 3.0 (for teaching stream) would need to raise them to 3.0.

The Employer also wants to eliminate or limit some provisions in the collective agreement that are designed to give YUFA an opportunity to respond to restructuring plans. For example, the Employer is proposing to eliminate the Joint Committee on Teaching Load and Class Size which currently provides a mechanism to examine the impact of class size increases on workload. Another proposal would explicitly remove decisions by the administration to “suspend student admissions” to a program as a category of restructuring that YUFA can discuss and challenge at the Joint Committee on Long Range Planning.

Other items in the Employer’s diverse package include a proposal to strike the current preference for hiring Canadians and language that would limit the kinds of medical cannabis uses that are eligible for reimbursement from SunLife.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the Employer signaled that it is likely to introduce a proposal that would link the entitlement for the annual progress-through-the-ranks increment to a merit-based performance evaluation. YUFA will update members if such a major proposal is introduced by the Employer.

YUFA has not indicated a willingness to agree to any of the proposals above, but it is important for members to be aware of the Employer’s approach in the current round of bargaining. While the process of negotiating a renewal collective agreement is often a lengthy one, YUFA invites members to contact the YUFA office ([email protected]) if you would like a representative to attend a unit meeting to discuss bargaining priorities.