Ratification Vote Results:
The long process of renewing the TRU / TRUFA Collective Agreement actually began two years ago, when the TRUFA Salary and Working Conditions Committee began surveying members and meeting with departments, Faculty Councils and individual faculty members eliciting issues to bring to the bargaining table. In January 2015, a general membership meeting endorsed the general TRUFA bargaining goals, and the Executive approved the composition of the bargaining team. The negotiations with TRU management began on February 4th and bogged down nearly completely by early November. The strike vote held later that month—in spite of an 80% positive vote—failed to move administration in the direction that we had hoped. On January 7th, it appeared that negotiations were at a stalemate. On January 11th, despite the union’s fear that mediation might not work when there is such a major gap between the parties, TRUFA agreed to the administration’s suggestion of having a mediator assist the parties in reaching a settlement. From January 15th through February 4th, TRUFA made every effort to meet the goals of the employer while not sacrificing key contractual rights, and to promote the goals that TRU faculty had endorsed. At that time, as you know, the mediator declared that the parties were not able to reach a freely negotiated settlement, and he made a set of independent recommendations for a new Collective Agreement to both parties, directing them to bring the recommendations to their principals—the TRUFA membership and the TRU Board of Governors—for ratification.
I want to thank TRU faculty for your support and encouragement during the long process of negotiations that have ended this week with the ratification vote. The bargaining team has received numerous e-mails over the past year—and, especially, since November—expressing support for TRUFA’s goals. And many individual faculty members have approached me with expressions of gratitude for the effort, the long hours and the commitment by the TRUFA bargaining team.
In line with the mediator’s recommendation that TRUFA and TRU administration address unresolved issues collegially between bargaining rounds, we are committed to do so, and will be approaching management with some suggestions on how to move forward.
TRUFA’s expectation is that TRU administration will resume regular Labour Management Consultative Committee meetings (suspended since May 2015 despite numerous requests from TRUFA to hold them), at which issues can be addressed and potential violations of the Collective Agreement can be resolved before any need to file formal grievances. In the past this Consultative Committee process has proved to be a valuable vehicle for the collegial addressing of key topics.
Additionally, TRUFA is committed to working with elected faculty representatives on TRU governance bodies to ensure that faculty views are heard, respected and fully considered when it comes to academic decisions.
Finally, I would like to ask you to start thinking about participating in your Faculty Association. The TRUFA AGM will be held near the end of April, but it’s never too early to begin considering taking on a role on the TRUFA Executive or one of its standing committees. Of particular need now is to have volunteers for the Stewards’ Committee, which plays such a vital role in protecting members’ rights through contract administration. Through the assistance of TRUFA’s staff representative from the Federation of Post-Secondary Educators, new stewards are given special training and the committee pairs novice stewards with experienced stewards on cases, so there is a hands-on learning process in place. If you would like to volunteer, please contact Marian Griffin (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Tom Friedman, TRUFA President