Negotiations Update

The negotiations teams met for a half day on Monday and for a full day on Tuesday for our last scheduled days of direct negotiations.
On Monday, our employer made it clear that they are willing and able to negotiate on issues which they also recognize as a priority so long as the issue does not require any additional financial resources. As a result, much of Monday focused on negotiating language around equity, diversity, inclusion, and Indigenization (EDII). While these discussions were somewhat fruitful, it’s clear that our employer still fails to appreciate the importance of building a robust campus infrastructure for supporting FA members with a variety of life experiences. EDII commitments are important but they miss the mark if their implementation is borne entirely by FA members.
Late today, our employer tabled the following revised financial proposals for UPEI Faculty Members, Librarians, and Clinical Nursing Instructors (CNI):

  • July 1, 2022: 2.75%
  • July 1, 2023: 2.25%
  •  July 1, 2024: 2.25%
  •  July 1, 2025: 2.25%

While our employer has removed the date-of-signing condition for 2022, their revised proposal still fails to address in any meaningful way our unique inflationary context. Moreover, a number of our colleagues in the region and across the country have been able to negotiate better salary increases even though they don’t face similar inflationary pressures. We can do better!
It’s also important to stress that while our employer has proposed modest wage increases for sessional instructors, they have signalled that they have no movement on any other proposals that would require additional financial resources. This means that they are unwilling to negotiate any improved language around: 

  • Calculating student supervision as part of workload and/or guaranteeing the ability to redeem accumulated supervision credits
  • Calculating supervision of Learning Contracts as part of workload for CNI’s, or guaranteeing overtime when they occur mid-semester
  • Course release for major grant-holders
  • A safer instructor:student ratio for CNI’s in clinical rotations
  • Minimum faculty complement based on faculty:student ratios
  • A potential path to permanence for term contract members who have been through a hiring process
  • Equal pay for equal work for teaching done by sessional instructors
  • Benefits or job security for sessional instructors
  • Defining and capping workloads for Academic Librarians
  • Providing Mental Health benefits (psychological services) for FA members
  • Expanding access to on-campus childcare
  • Maintaining campus spaces and equipment “in good repair”
  • Providing adequate office space to all instructors, regardless of contract status

To be clear, this list includes nearly every issue that FA members identified as a bargaining priority. In addition, our employer continues to reject proposals with little, if any, financial impact. This includes: 

  • Ensuring accountability in decision-making
  • Ensuring faculty input on decisions related to filling academic vacancies
  • Guaranteeing faculty:administrator balance on URC
  • Guaranteeing the right to Indigenous representation on DRC/URC for Indigenous members
  • Making the use of biased SOTS at the discretion of the member and guaranteeing the student voice is heard by requiring non-anonymized student input for tenure/promotion processes
  • Establishing air quality standards, and minimum and maximum humidity and temperature levels

In our bargaining consultations, UPEIFA members made it clear that while salary in an important issue, they were most concerned about addressing a range of problems that directly impact the quality of education they are able to provide to their students. The UPEIFA Negotiations Team, in turn, has repeatedly made that point clear to the Employer at the table.
Make no mistake, our employer’s latest offer not only falls short on salary, it also addresses few if any of the substantive issues that impact our working conditions and our students’ learning conditions.
For the last ten-months, we’ve encountered an employer who has taken little interest in addressing your concerns and a provincial government who has been all to willing to intervene to the benefit of our employer. What FA members made clear with their recent strike vote is that business as usual is simply unsustainable. After many years of deteriorating working conditions and mismanagement we are finally in a strong position to collectively shape the trajectory of our institution.
While we have a ways to go, we cannot lose sight of the fact that the minimal progress we’ve made in negotiations is entirely the result of FA members standing together to preserve the educational quality of our institution.

Stayed tuned for the next steps in collective bargaining!
United, we really can build a better UPEI!

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