SFUFA Bargaining Priorities

SFUFA’s bargaining team has developed a draft Collective Agreement to table in collective bargaining, excluding a specific salary proposal which remains under discussion. This is, of course, only a draft of our own proposals – what emerges in the final instance will be the result of many hours of negotiation with SFU’s own team.

That said, we believe our proposal is a fair and reasonable one, and we believe that these terms would provide for a first collective agreement that:
a) roots itself in existing terms and conditions;
b) recognizes the post-certification status of the Association;
c) addresses key areas for change in terms and conditions that have been identified as priorities by members;
d) seeks to provide financial security to members in their working and post-retirement lives;
e) achieves all of the above while recognizing the University’s needs for cost-certainty and efficient operation of the institution, and the broader framework of public sector management in BC today.

The proposal draws largely on existing policies which are likely familiar to you, though in many cases terms and conditions are grouped differently so as to constitute a proper collective agreement. Our complete set of proposals is a significant document, incorporating the full range of existing terms and conditions as well as new items.

It is a large and detailed document, and so with this message we hope to provide various levels of detail to suit various levels of interest.

This message itself provides a summary of the key areas in which we seek to negotiate improvements. A more detailed document which summarizes specific proposals we intend to put forward is available here. Finally, a complete printed copy of our draft proposals is available at the SFUFA office, and we would welcome any member to visit and peruse the draft agreement we have developed.

Our most significant proposals can be grouped into a few broad categories:

1) equity protections – we propose a range of measures to improve both the University’s and the Association’s ability to identify and address gendered and other structural inequities on an ongoing basis. These include regular equity audits at the level of the central administration, ongoing salary equity reviews as part of the promotion process, and Association access to demographic information required to assess the state of salary equity independently. On the non-monetary front, we also propose language related to child-care, elder care and compassionate care leaves to recognize demands that fall disproportionately upon women. We also intend to make clear that complaints regarding harassment and discrimination are not required to go to the University’s Human Rights Office but can be pursued as well through the grievance and arbitration procedures.

2) improvements for teaching appointments – we are seeking substantial improvement for terms and conditions of our members in teaching appointments, including: an accessible third rank for lecturers; a recognition of the work teaching appointments perform outside of the classroom as their careers progress; elimination of the Teaching Appointments Review Committees and inclusion of teaching appointment representatives on departmental TPCs; more frequent non-instructional semesters for lecturers and laboratory instructors.

3) salaries and pensions – we have several areas that we believe need critical attention in the area of salaries and monetary benefits. A broken salary scale and its attendant caps have been identified as a major priority for members, but of equal concern is the growing inequity in our salary system. We will be looking at mechanisms to provide greater movement to all members and to prevent inequities from continuing to grow, while also allowing some flexibility in the salary system. In addition, we will seek improvements to our pension plan and/ or the introduction of a different pension system, that decision to be made by members sometime down the road as more information on the options is available and after a good deal more discussion. As salaries and monetary benefits are typically the last items discussed in negotiations, we have several months to shape our specific proposals to your needs and preferences.

We have also established a new listserv for members who might wish to discuss bargaining proposals and priorities. This is an opt-in system open to any SFUFA member who is interested in discussing these issues in more depth with colleagues. The bargaining team and executive will continue to rely on the universal email lists to provide updates and official positions; we will review the messages here and incorporate the feedback we receive into our work, but will generally not use this more limited forum to communicate to members. This is intended, instead, as a space for members themselves to discuss issues related to negotiations.

To sign up for the discussion list, follow the steps below:

i) sign in to SFU Connect+ MySFU
ii) Click on the MySFU tab located at the top right of the toolbar
iii) Click on Manage My Mail Lists
iv) search for the list by using sfufa-bargaining-discussion as your search term
v) click on “subscribe” to join the mail list

We invite you to review the more detailed summary of proposals, and to contact us if you would like to make an appointment to review the formal text in more detail. And we continue to welcome your feedback on any part of this proposal. Your comments and suggestions will be available to the bargaining committee who will make changes as required based on that feedback. In the new year, the proposals will be formally adopted by the SFUFA Executive before they are taken to the bargaining table.

Thanks again for your continued ideas and suggestions. This is a long and complex process, and one that is new to us here at SFUFA. There are many factors to consider, many points to take into account, many competing priorities to balance. But we know, too, that through the interaction of your discussions and suggestions and the bargaining team’s and executive’s continued attention we can negotiate a strong and fair first collective agreement that will see us well into the future.

Feedback can be sent to any member of the bargaining team, or to SFUFA President Julian Christians.

Carl Schwarz (Chief Negotiator) – [email protected]
David Broun – [email protected]
Carl Graebner – [email protected]
Carolyn Lesjak – [email protected]
Brian Green (Executive Director) – [email protected]
Julian Christians (President) – [email protected]