author: john loeppky | editor-in-chief
jeremy davis / Strike off the table
Strike averted as new contract confirmed
In an April 9 release, the University of Regina Faculty Association (URFA) announced that the tentative agreement negotiated with the University of Regina had been approved by the membership.
“The University of Regina Faculty Association and the U of R Academic Bargaining Committee are pleased to announce that U of R Academic members have voted in favour of a four-year collective agreement between U of R Academic staff members and the University of Regina. The agreement will now go to the University’s Board of Governors for approval.”
“The agreement includes a new rank for sessionals who teach the equivalent of full time, changes to the instructor/faculty ratio that will create a method for those hired as instructors to become assistant professors, as well as gains in compensation, including increased pension contributions for members who are part of the Defined Contribution (DC) pension plan”
“Thanks to a strong strike mandate and the support of U of R Academic members, students, and the rest of the URFA membership, the bargaining team was able to push the University administration to drop serious concessions that signaled a concerning shift away from research and the University’s mission statement, while making gains that benefit all U of R Academic members.”
“The U of R Academic Bargaining Committee would like to once again thank U of R Academic members, our U of R APT colleagues; fellow URFA members at Campion, Luther, and FNUniv and CUPE bargaining units for their continued support and engagement throughout the bargaining process. The committee also thanks the URFA Job Action Committee for their vital work engaging and mobilizing the membership; students and the University community for their engagement and support; and the University Administration bargaining team for their efforts over the course of negotiations.”
“More details of the new collective agreement will be available soon on the URFA website.”
One URFA member feels that this decision is a result of the university’s core resistance to the needs of academics and reflect the members’ approach to teaching.
“I think that the collective agreement was ratified demonstrates how committed faculty are to students, their research, and the community.“
“Faculty were certainly feeling disrespected by the initial proposals made by admin. Those proposals would have been highly detrimental to the university’s mission. By showing to admin how serious we were about taking action to preserve the university’s mission, we finally were offered a deal folks could live with— but we shouldn’t have to go to the brink of a total walk out to get some respect— the admin were very confrontational and took our goodwill for granted.”
Dr. Emily Eaton is happy to be returning to work with an agreement, but said that more could have been done.
“I am relieved that a strike was averted but deeply saddened by the actions and proposals of the administration during the negotiating process. I believe our fight is far from over and that we must get to the root of what motivated the employer to hire a PR firm to communicate with our students and to table truly offensive proposals that would have effectively nullified tenure. I would be interested in knowing the exact outcome of the ratification vote because I know a significant number of people were fully committed to supporting our bargaining team in reaching a better deal for our sessionals and holding the university’s feet to the fire on the instructor ratio. I thank the bargaining and strike action committees for their hard work and look forward to continuing our fight for a better university.
On Twitter, Dr. Tom McIntosh posted about how the bargaining had affected him and his approach.
“If this round of collective bargaining taught me anything it is that my feelings for my job are now very distinct from my feelings for my employer.“
The board of governors ratified the agreement on April 9, meaning that the strike was averted.