The last meeting between the University’s negotiating team and the Faculty Association’s team was Thursday, February 2nd. As a result of that meeting, negotiations have now stalled.
There might well be no aspect of collegial governance that matters more to faculty members than our ability to participate as experts in the appointing, reappointing, tenuring, and promoting (henceforth, ARPT processes) of our colleagues. The Faculty Association has tendered four proposals that are directly concerned with ARPT processes.
We have told UBC that we would give them until Dec 1st to see if we could achieve a tentative settlement at the table. If that didn’t happen, we said we would move toward Interest Arbitration. We are now at that moment.
Here’s how Interest Arbitration works.
Benefits constitute a significant part of our total compensation. Any change to our benefits plan represents a change in compensation. Some changes can help our members — such as the recent move to cover massage therapy without a doctor’s referral. But others may have a negative impact — such as when UBC in 2018 signed on to the FACET Prior Authorization Drug Program, which requires pre-approval for specialty drugs (including for conditions like multiple sclerosis or cancer) or prescriptions which cost more than $5000/year.
Almost all of us will during our career at UBC experience a life event which requires us to take time away from work. Some of these events are joyous, as when we welcome a new child; some are catastrophic, as when we face the serious illness or death of a loved one. Leaves are essential to balancing work and life in periods of these extreme demands. It is essential that these leaves be a right accessible to all.
Full-time teaching for Sessional Lecturers in Education at UBC is 15 credits/term (yes, really), and they make less per credit than anyone else at UBC. If they teach fewer than 7.5 credits in a term, they are still considered less than half-time and do not qualify for most UBC benefits. We need to fix these inequities for our Sessional Lecturer colleagues at UBC, and not just in Education. Most Sessional Lecturers hold PhDs or other terminal degrees and teach a significant number of UBC’s courses; many Sessional Lecturers also do curricular work, service, and research in their disciplines on their own time, unpaid. All Sessional Lecturers deserve to be treated fairly and paid as the highly-qualified professionals they are.
Lecturers are the fastest-growing cohort of UBC faculty, highly qualified academics and professionals, performing key work central to UBC’s mission. Why, then, are they chronically over-worked and insecure? These are two of the issues facing Lecturers that we are addressing in this round of bargaining.
It would be hard to over-state how much of a problem workload is for our membership. Everybody feels it; everybody wants it fixed. So: members who have read our “Day One” proposals will have noticed our Proposal #2: “The Association proposes to modify Part 1, Article 13 and Part 5, Article 7, to create workload language that is consistent with best practices at major Canadian research universities.” What exactly do we mean by that?
We know from our consultations that workload has created significant problems for most of our members, and we are addressing those in several different proposals. Here in Proposal #2, we are asserting one broad principle that appeals to the whole membership, and two that apply more specifically to the members (librarians and tenure-track faculty) with a pronounced mix of assigned and self-directed work. We have other workload proposals to address the additional specific issues facing Lecturers and Sessional Lecturers as well; these will be the subject of future bargaining posts.
They are clearly biased against racialized and other historically marginalized groups; they are statistically unreliable; and they do not and cannot answer their intended purpose. Yes, we are talking (again) about student surveys, the cheap candy of teaching metrics.
As we said in 2019, it is hard to imagine an instrument more ill-suited to its supposed value than student opinion surveys. Leaving aside the statistical limitations involved in what are often small non-randomized samples, these surveys cannot provide accurate information about the skill of the instructor or the effectiveness of their teaching. They tell us instead, as one would normally expect from a survey, about the students themselves.
Negotiations between UBC and UBCFA to renew the Collective Agreement that expires on June 30, 2022 began formally this week.
Both parties have shared all of their Day-One proposals; these are outlines of each party’s goals and objectives. The opening summaries will be followed by proposed specific contract language as bargaining proceeds…
In this first edition of our Bargaining Advisories, we respond to common questions and concerns you’ve raised about the rights and protections we have already negotiated.
Last fall, as we prepared for the upcoming negotiating round, the Faculty Association’s Bargaining Preparation Committee (BPC) surveyed the membership on areas of bargaining priorities. We were pleased that almost 1500 of you responded to the survey with meaningful feedback.
We are pleased to announce that the Collective Agreement between the UBCFA and UBC, July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2022, has been ratified by both parties. A copy of the Agreement will be posted to our respective websites as soon as it is finalized.
In preparation for bargaining we have tracked the growth and changes in our bargaining unit over the past decade. Knowing who we are and how we’ve changed as a group of faculty, librarians, and program directors helps us determine how the university is evolving (or devolving) and which trends we might need to address. The table tracks the composition of our active membership in 2006, 2012, 2015, and 2017…
While some issues, like obtaining a reasonable general wage increase, are constants in bargaining, others evolve over time in response to changes in management practice or in the composition of the bargaining unit. For example, the kinds of workload complaints we hear now include issues that were largely absent in 2006.
One of the things that has changed over the past 9 years, and has changed the focus of our bargaining proposals, is the composition of the bargaining unit.