Fair Employment Week at Laurentian University, Oct. 22-26

(Sudbury – Oct. 19, 2018)

LUFA is joining with CAUT members across Canada in hosting events on campus in support of fair treatment for all academic staff during Fair Employment Week from Oct. 22-26.

Laurentian faculty members will be staffing an information desk in the Bowling Alley (Faculty of Arts) next Wednesday and Thursday from 11 am to 1 pm.

On Thursday, Oct. 25, the film, Degrees of Shame, will also be shown in Room C-206 from 2:30 to 3:30 pm.  Refreshments will be served. The documentary explores the economic situation and working conditions of contract academic staff in the US, suggesting an information economy parallel to migrant farm workers.

On Friday, Oct. 26, Sudbury MPP Jamie West, who has taught in the University’s Labour Studies program, will be speaking about fair employment for academic staff at the Atrium at 2:30 pm.  Nickel Belt MPP France Gélinas will also be in attendance.

An increasing number of teachers at Canada’s colleges and universities are trapped in precarious contract and part-time work, according to a CAUT release. What used to be a short-term stepping stone has instead become a career-long condition, with many earning less than a living wage.

The release also notes that part-time and contract professors are denied the opportunity each year to participate in (and be paid for) all aspects of academic work – research, teaching, and service. This has serious implications, not only for contract academic staff, but for students, their regular academic staff colleagues, and the integrity of post-secondary institutions.

We join our CAUT colleagues in affirming that the working conditions and job security of contract academic staff must be improved.

Ratification of the Collective Agreement, University of Sudbury

(Sudbury – Oct. 5, 2018)

Dear Colleagues,

We are pleased to announce that the Memorandum of Settlement of the Collective Agreement has been ratified by the University of Sudbury membership. Of the members who cast ballots, 92 percent were in favour; the three-year deal was ratified earlier by the University of Sudbury’s Board of Regents.

The membership’s mandate for the bargaining team was to ensure that the importance of collegial governance be more clearly recognized. This was achieved in key places: a renewed Article on Academic Freedom that explicitly identifies the principle and practice of collegial governance, and in the preamble to the Appointments, Promotions, Tenure article.  It will help ensure that appropriate collegial processes are respected.

The mandate also included addressing the inequity in pay for both full-time and part-time members.  By the end of the agreement, sessional rates of pay will approach parity with other sessional rates on campus. For tenured and tenure-track faculty, the team fought hard to get the University to agree to catch-up funding, which is now explicitly identified in the agreement.

The team also faced incredible resistance to its efforts to obtain more security for non-tenured faculty, but managed to get agreement on a University roster as well as better language to compensate for course cancellations.

Please join us in congratulating the bargaining team, led by Chief Negotiator Réal Fillion, and the University of Sudbury members for their strong support throughout the process that resulted in significant improvements to their terms and conditions of work.

In solidarity,
The LUFA Executive

Negotiations Successfully Completed!

(Sudbury – Sept. 25, 2018)

The University of Sudbury and the Laurentian University Faculty Association – University of Sudbury are proud to have successfully completed their negotiations. A tentative agreement has been reached, one which now has to be ratified by both parties. The revised agreement is for a duration of three years.  Both the University and its faculty union wish to thank the negotiating teams for their efforts.

LUFA Barbecue Update

(Sudbury – Sept. 24, 2018)
Good cheer prevailed at the LUFA barbecue at the Atrium on Thursday! Nearly 1,000 faculty and students enjoyed food and fellowship.The team of volunteers was bolstered by our University of Sudbury members, who also handed out the FAQ leaflet about the negotiations for a new collective agreement at their institution. The countdown is on for a strike or lockout in October. Mediation with William Kaplan is set to take place tomorrow.



LUFA Barbecue at the Atrium

(Sudbury – Sept. 20, 2018)

Last year’s “Come to the Table” LUFA barbecue was such a great success that we are doing it again! All faculty and students are invited to share food and fellowship at the Atrium today from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm.

The menu consists of hotdogs and hamburgers (and their vegetarian/vegan equivalents), condiments, and assorted cold drinks. We will also be handing out a leaflet on the negotiations for a new Collective Agreement at the University of Sudbury.

We hope to see everyone there!

Labour Disruption Looms at University of Sudbury as Sessional Security and Pay Equity for Faculty Remain Unaddressed

(Sudbury –  Sept. 14, 2018)

Following a full morning with a Ministry of Labour conciliator, and after seeing no movement from the University of Sudbury to address the important issues of job security and pay equity for faculty, LUFA has requested a no-board report placing the parties in a position for a lock-out or strike in the first half of October.

“Faculty at the University of Sudbury are paid significantly less than their colleagues at Laurentian University and that gap continues to grow,” said LUFA President Fabrice Colin. “This issue has been raised in every round of bargaining since the faculty unionized in 2002 and the university has yet to address it seriously.”

After modest recognition of the principle of parity in the last round of negotiations the university refuses to deal with this fundamental issue. Faculty working conditions are student learning conditions, and that’s why it is vitally important the university invest more in the faculty teaching in the classroom.

Agreement about job security for sessionals is also outstanding.

“Our sessional members never know whether they are going to have another job after their contract is up,” stated Chief Negotiator Réal Fillion. “This makes it incredibly hard for them to make long term plans for their families and decide whether they can afford to stay in Sudbury.”

LUFA is committed to reaching a fair agreement, but is ready to take job action if required. The faculty association is hopeful that the university will engage on these important issues in mediation and avoid any labour disruption.

Work Stoppage Looms as Conciliation Fails at the University of Sudbury

(Sudbury, Sept. 14, 2018)

Dear Members,

Despite the best efforts of the membership’s Negotiating Team, the conciliation that took place on Friday for a new Collective Agreement at the University of Sudbury failed to reach a settlement. The Team has asked for “No Board” report from the provincial labour ministry. This starts the countdown to a strike/lockout in the first half of October.

“We are committed to reaching an agreement, but progress has been extremely slow on our core issues of fair pay as well as job security for our part-time members,” said Chief Negotiator Réal Fillion. “There is no choice but to prepare for job action that will put additional pressure on the employer to make us a fair offer.”

The University of Sudbury membership has already given the Negotiating Team a strike mandate. One hundred percent of the members who voted were in favour.

We must mobilize since there is no guarantee of a settlement at the mediation that will take place on Tuesday, Sept. 25 and the stronger our support for our colleagues, the more likely it will be that the university makes us a fair offer in advance of any job action.

The AGM on Friday, Sept. 21 at 1 pm will be an emergency membership meeting on the impending labour disruption including strike protocol and picket lines on campus. We ask all members to join our University of Sudbury colleagues on the picket line.

In solidarity,
The LUFA Executive

Fair pay and job security major concerns as faculty and University of Sudbury prepare to meet with conciliator

(Sudbury – August 31, 2018)

The Laurentian University Faculty Association (LUFA), representing all full-time and part-time faculty at the University of Sudbury, has filed for conciliation in an effort to reach an agreement with the university college that ensures faculty are no longer paid substantially less than their colleagues at Laurentian. After over fourteen days of talks, progress has been made in many areas, but the need for fair pay and job security for contract faculty are key issues that the administration refuses to meaningfully address.

“The discrepancy in pay is quite concerning,” said Fabrice Colin, President of LUFA. “Individual faculty at the University of Sudbury are paid up to 30% less than their colleagues at the same rank and with the same number of years of experience, despite doing exactly the same teaching, research, and service work of which the University of Sudbury and Laurentian University are so proud and upon which students depend.”

In addition to the lack of fair pay, the University of Sudbury has increasingly relied on the expertise of part-time faculty to maintain the integrity of programs in Indigenous Studies, Philosophy, Religious Studies, Folklore, and Études journalistiques.

“Part-time faculty at the University of Sudbury still face substantial challenges planning ahead as they face uncertainty over which classes, if any, they will be teaching from term to term,” said Réal Fillion, Chief Negotiator for the faculty association. “That’s why improving the working conditions and job security for part-time faculty is a priority for us.”

LUFA was hoping to engage with the conciliator and have a deal in place before classes start, but the university declared itself unavailable, even on weekends, until September 14. Given the uncertainty created for returning students, LUFA is disappointed that the University of Sudbury did not make it a priority to reach an agreement.

Faculty at the University of Sudbury are members of LUFA, which represents over 400 full-time faculty as well as over 300 part-time faculty at Laurentian University, the University of Sudbury, Huntington University and Thorneloe University.

LUFA Update: Workload Committee

(Sudbury – May 22, 2018)

As most of you may already know, an MOA was signed pursuant to negotiations to create a workload committee to explore the possibility of correcting inequities in workloads across the various faculties.

In the fall of 2017, Dean Dawes approached LUFA to indicate that she would like to begin exploring the shift from 15 to 12 credits in the Faculty of Arts. She expressed concerns that faculty members might misinterpret her actions and asked LUFA to assist her in conveying the message that the exercise was pursuant to the MOA and in preparation for the workload committee. LUFA fully supported this initiative. LUFA recognized that data needed to be collected in all faculties to develop a plan for the implementation of an equitable workload. We were appreciative that Dean Dawes had taken an important first step by collecting data and exploring options in order to work out a plan for members of the Faculty of Arts.

The workload committee met early March to discuss the implementation of 12 credits across the faculties. Dean Dawes indicated that it was feasible for her to implement a 12 credit maximum for the Faculty of Arts. During the meeting we were informed that other Deans were not able to make the reduction to 12 credits. In fact, we were told that a reduction for members of the Faculty of Health could not be implemented for at least five years. Although LUFA understood that the shift to 12 credits may not occur for everyone at once, we had expected a concrete plan to ensure that an equitable workload was in sight for all members. However, there was no willingness to commit to a reduction for any of the other faculties.

During the meeting and on one other occasion, LUFA was asked to provide the administration with a blanket assurance that we would not grieve the workloads in the Faculty of Arts. LUFA was clear that such assurances could not be provided in the absence of the complete details, especially in light of the fact that some departments might not be able to shift to 12, and that there had to be a plan for the other faculties.

LUFA indicated that the only way to avoid a grievance would be through an MOA that included the specific details on implementation. We also indicated that, given that the administration was not prepared to discuss reductions for the Faculty of Management, Faculty of Education or the Faculty of Health, the MOA would need Board approval.

LUFA received a copy of the draft MOA two weeks prior to the workload deadlines. The Executive was now placed in a difficult position with respect to advancing the rights of some of its members while knowing that the administration was not prepared to support the rights of others. The Executive decided that the best course of action would be to take the MOA to the Board with the recommendation that it be brought to the membership for a vote.

LUFA also indicated to the administration that it would extend timelines for the submission of workload letters in order to allow discussion of the MOA with the membership. However, even before we could bring the matter to the Board for its consideration, the Dean went ahead with implementing the 12 credit maximum for the Faculty of Arts.

In response LUFA has filed a grievance requesting that any member with 15 credit workload be paid a 3 credit overload. We also indicated to the administration that we would be filing an unfair labour practice given the repeat offenses regarding breaches of the CA.

We will keep you apprised of any new developments.

LUFA Executive Update: University Committees

(Sudbury – May 15, 2018)

One of the core components of academic freedom is the right to participate in collegial governance. For that right to be meaningful, members have to been given real opportunities to participate on University committees. The process of selection should be open, transparent and fair.

In 2013, LUFA began receiving complaints regarding the appointment of members to committees. The complaints revolved around concerns that the administration was excluding members who had dissenting opinions. While LUFA did not validate or invalidate those claims, we did ask the administration to provide evidence that they had complied with Article 5.15.29 which states:

“In order to ensure equality of opportunity to participate in university governance, the Employer agrees to circulate notice of openings on all university bodies above the Department/School/Library level to eligible Members at least two (2) weeks prior to the time that the vacancies must be filled.”

LUFA received no response. It became clear that administration was not in compliance with the article, consequently a grievance was filed. The grievance resulted in a settlement where the administration agreed to comply moving forward. The administration took steps to correct one improper appointment and we noted some improvement on Senate committees. However, despite the settlement there were still several deficiencies in the appointment process and deficiencies regarding the notification to LUFA pursuant to Article 2.50.2 (s). The initial arbitrator was seized on the matter, therefore LUFA requested another hearing with Arbitrator Keller to address the ongoing breaches of the settlement.

The hearing took place on January 18, 2018. A decision was rendered on March 26 and we are pleased to report that a positive outcome was received. The arbitrator ruled that the administration needed to follow the process in Article 5.15.29 for the committees identified by LUFA and provided indices to assist the parties in interpreting the meaning of the term, “university body”. He also ordered that, prior to reconvening the committees listed in the decision, the administration would have to ensure compliance with Article 5.15.29.

Furthermore, Arbitrator Keller ordered the administration to provide LUFA a list of all bodies and to advise LUFA the next time the bodies are to be populated. He also indicated that LUFA could follow up with him should there be concerns regarding the composition of the committees.

A copy of the decision is attached.