Department Chairs & Coordinators 

“Everyone understands that becoming Chair means giving up on research, and giving up on promotion”

– FA Member
 As part of last Fall’s bargaining consultations, we spoke to department chairs and coordinators to get a better sense of their unique vantage point and specific concerns. What we learned is that chairs and coordinators often experience significant obstacles to advocating on behalf of FA members and supporting students. These obstacles include:

– Increased workload resulting from downloading of administrative tasks
– Significantly reduced administrative support
– Greater responsibility but less discretion in administrative matters
– Insufficient resources for maintaining programs
– Inadequate backfill for course releases
– Little recognition of their work in tenure/promotion processes

Taken together, these factors clearly introduce significant obstacles to an already challenging situation. Moreover, they make it increasingly difficult to develop a robust succession plan which is absolutely vital for maintaining existing programs and supporting our students.

But it doesn’t have to be this way!

The working conditions of our chairs and coordinators has a significant impact on our working conditions and our students’ learning conditions. Standing together, we can demand adequate resources and reasonable workloads for our chairs and coordinators. We can secure supports and working conditions that incentivize rather than dissuade FA members from taking on these important responsibilities. We can create an environment that prioritizes our students’ education rather than an ever-increasing managerialism and bureaucracy.

You are UPEI
As we head into bargaining for our next Collective Agreement, we have an opportunity to make sure that UPEI Administration hears our concerns and acts on them. The key to success is collective action: there has never been a better time for us to work together on issues that affect academic staff, students, UPEI workers, and the entire Island community.
 
Here’s how you can do your part:
 Talk to us: Tell us how these issues have been affecting you HERE.
Get involved: Join us for regular meetings and consider joining an FA committee or serving as a grievance officer.
Show your support: Use our downloadable logos as your photo for online meetings and lectures. Download them HERE.
Stay in the loop: to prevent communications disruptions as we head into negotiations, share your personal email address HERE.
Stay social: share social media content to help spread the word. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook by clicking on the icons below.
  
Together, We Are UPEI. 

Collective Bargaining 101

In a non-unionized environment, workers negotiate their working conditions with their employers on an individual basis. In this environment, individual workers often have more difficulty negotiating favourable terms and little recourse should an employer decline to adhere to the negotiated terms of an employment contract. 

In contrast, in a unionized environment workers are in a position to bargain collectively to improve their working conditions. At UPEI, our collective agreement is between the UPEI Board of Governors and the UPEI Faculty Association which is recognized under the PEI Labour Act as the sole and exclusive bargaining agent for all UPEI academic teaching staff (Bargaining Unit #1) and clinical veterinary professionals (Bargaining Unit #2).

The negotiated terms of our collective agreement outline the obligations of both parties in our working environment and provides robust mechanisms (grievance/arbitration) for addressing collective agreement violations for the duration of our agreement. Our collective agreement also identifies specific timelines and procedures for renegotiating our collective agreement.

In anticipation of our collective agreement expiring on July 1, 2022, the UPEI Faculty Association has been busy preparing for the next round of bargaining. The following provides a rough timeline of preparations up to the present:

March 2021 FA participates in CAUT Chief Negotiators Workshop

April 2021 FA members appoint the UPEIFA Bargaining Team

July 2021 FA Executive Committee / Negotiations Team participate in CAUT  Collective Bargaining Workshop

August-October 2021 FA Strikes a Bargaining Committee and begins Member Consultations

November 2021 FA sends out the Bargaining Survey to all FA Members

December 2021 FA Members vote unanimously in support of FA Bargaining Mandate

December 2021 – Present FA Bargaining Team drafts bargaining language in consultation with FA Members