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September 30, 2011
  • BUFA to File Bargaining in Bad Faith Complaint Against BU.

    The Brandon University Faculty Association (BUFA) announced today that, on the advice of its legal counsel, it will file a complaint with the Labour Board alleging bad faith bargaining by Brandon University.

    The complaint arises out of an action taken by the Employer’s bargaining team during last week’s negotiation sessions.

    On September 20, the Employer verbally withdrew several of its contentious proposals relating to the “Workload” and “Evaluations” Articles of the Collective Agreement, promising to provide written confirmation of the withdrawal.

    However, at the September 27 bargaining session, the Employer tabled a “revised” proposal document which included clauses and wording relating to “Evaluations” that the Employer had verbally withdrawn.

    “Our legal counsel has determined that this action constitutes ‘bargaining in bad faith’, an unfair labour practice under the Labour Relations Act,” said BUFA’s Chief Negotiator, Joe Dolecki.

    “The complaint, which will be filed by our lawyer no later than Monday, will be pursued vigorously by BUFA,” he stated, “because it is essential to the success of the collective bargaining process that both Parties act in good faith.”

    “We are doing our part, in good faith, to achieve a fair and equitable collective agreement at the bargaining table,” Dolecki concluded.

    Two bargaining sessions are scheduled for next week. The results of the strike vote currently being undertaken will be known by Wednesday, October 7th.

    For Further Information Contact:
    Joe Dolecki, BUFA President and Chief Negotiator. 727-9749
    Bill Paton, BUFA Secretary 727- 9783



September 28, 2011
  • An Important Message for BUFA Members. Joe Dolecki, BUFA President and Chief Negotiator

    Item 1: Bargaining in Bad Faith

    As reported at our Special General Meeting and in Bargaining Bulletin #8, at the September 20 negotiating session, the employer verbally withdrew the Article 9 (Workload) proposal to allow an increase the teaching workload by 3-credit hours for members whose scholarship/research activity was deemed to be 'unsatisfactory.' BUFA immediately sought and received verbal confirmation that the Employer's related proposals for Article 11 (Evaluations) were also withdrawn.

    At yesterday's session, your bargaining team expected to receive, as promised, written confirmation of the September 20, 2011 withdrawal. At first, the Employer insisted on hearing BUFA's response to their Article 9 and Article 11 proposals, prior to receiving the written document. BUFA reminded the Employer that their withdrawal was unconditional and insisted that the Employer table the document. When the Employer again refused, BUFA left the table, giving the Employer 1 hour to produce the document.

    When bargaining resumed, the Employer tabled their 'withdrawal' document, which took the form of a revised proposal for Article 9 and Article 11. While the document included their withdrawal of their proposed language on Article 9, it did not include their withdrawal of their proposals on Article 11. The two clauses verbally withdrawn were included (one slightly modified), and the reference to the 'unsatisfactory' scholarship/research activity determination by a dean, also withdrawn on September 20, was likewise included. When reminded of their Article 11 withdrawal undertaking of September 20, Winnipeg lawyer Grant Mitchell, the Employer's spokesperson, stated that he "didn't recall" making the statement, BUFA's near verbatim notes of the September 20 session notwithstanding.

    Your bargaining team immediately contacted BUFA's legal counsel and was advised that the Employer's action constituted bargaining in bad faith, an unfair labour practice under the Manitoba Labour Relations Act. BUFA's legal counsel was instructed to file a complaint with the Labour Board.

    Item 2: Strike Vote

    At our Special General meeting held last Friday, attended by over 100 BUFA members, and following a lengthy discussion on the state of negotiations, a decision was taken to conduct a strike vote. You should be in receipt of a ballot, returnable to the BUFA Office.

    It is the view of your bargaining team that a strong, positive strike vote will provide the incentive necessary to convince the Employer to move the negotiation process forward so that a fair and equitable settlement can be reached at the table, without resorting to Job Action.

    The stronger the mandate, the stronger the Employer's incentive.

    Needless to say, the consequence of a negative vote are straightforward: BUFA's negotiating position would collapse, the bargaining team would resign, and BUFA would be obliged to accept whatever the Employer wishes to impose in the way of a settlement.

    Clearly, contrary to the implication contained in Dr. Poff's recent message to the University Community, BUFA does not take the question of a strike vote casually.

    In any case, yesterday's events at the table, reported in Item 1 above, underlines the necessity for a strong, positive strike mandate in order for us to achieve a fair and equitable settlement.

    Item 3: Tenure and Promotion

    Since October 1, the date on which tenure and promotion applications are due, falls on a Saturday this year, BUFA and the Employer have agreed that applications will be accepted on Monday, October 3. As well, consideration of all applications will be governed by the language of the current Collective Agreement. A Memorandum of Understanding to this effect is being drafted by the VP (A/R) and should be ready for signature today.

    Joe Dolecki
    BUFA President and Chief Negotiator



September 24, 2011
  • BUFA to Conduct Strike Vote.

    At a Special General Meeting held late yesterday afternoon, with over 100 in attendance, the membership of the Brandon University Faculty Association voted overwhelmingly to authorize the BUFA Executive Committee to conduct a strike vote, in accordance with the provisions of the Labour Relations Act.

    Strike ballot distribution will commence on Monday, with a return date the following week.

    In commenting on this development, BUFA President and Chief Negotiator Joe Dolecki said, “It was made clear at yesterday’s meeting, and particularly by the nearly unanimous vote, that our members are determined to achieve a fair and equitable settlement in this round of negotiations.”

    Contract negotiations between BUFA and the Brandon University Board of Governors commenced in April, with little progress having been made on substantive issues.

    “In addition to the salaries and benefits question, the Employer is seeking a number of sweeping language changes to our agreement which are unacceptable to BUFA members,” Dolecki noted.

    The current Collective Agreement, which was signed following a 17-day strike in 2008, expired on March 31.

    BUFA represents approximately 240 full-time, part-time, and sessional employees at Brandon University – including Professors, Librarians, Professional Associates, Instructional Associates, and Administrative Associates.

    For Further Information Contact:
    Joe Dolecki, BUFA President and Chief Negotiator. 727-9749
    Bill Paton, BUFA Secretary 727- 9783



September 22, 2011
  • BUFA Negotiations Bulletin #8. Joe Dolecki, BUFA President and Chief Negotiator

    Below is a synopsis of the bargaining session held on September 20, 2011.

    September 20, 2011 Session

    (Present: G. Mitchell; S. Lamont; B. Smith, for the Employer. J. Dolecki; D. Winter; B. Paton; D. Brown; E. MacDonald-Murray, for BUFA).

    At the beginning of this session, the following Articles of the Collective Agreement were outstanding (B = opened by BUFA; E = opened by the Employer):

    • Definitions (E)
    • Article 4 -- No Discrimination (E)
    • Article 6 -- Grievance and Arbitration (E)
    • Article 7 -- Appointments (B, E)
    • Article 8 -- Qualifications by Rank (E)
    • Article 9 -- Workload (B, E)
    • Article 11 -- Evaluations (E)
    • Article 12 -- Promotions (E)
    • Article 13 -- Tenure (E)
    • Article 16 -- Redundancy (E)
    • Article 17 -- Redundancy of Members Employed in the Special Projects (E)
    • Article 19 -- Personnel Files (E)
    • Article 20 -- Vacation and Leave (B, E)
    • Article 23 -- University Research Committee (E)
    • Article 25 -- Selection of Chairpersons and Coordinators (E)
    • Article 26 -- Duration and Continuance (B, E)
    • Article 31 -- Sexual Harassment (E)
    • Article 32 -- Technologically Mediated Courses (E)
    • Appendices B, C, D, F, H, and I (B, E)

    This session began at 3:00pm with BUFA tabling a set of counterproposals intended to resolve matters outstanding on seven outstanding Articles (4; 6; 16; 17; 20; 23; and 27), all but one opened solely by the Employer.

    Among other things, BUFA proposed the incorporation of several characteristics listed in the Manitoba Human Rights Code into the existing language of Article 4.1. These include: perceived race, ancestry, nationality, ethnic background or origin, activity pursuant to political or religious affiliation/belief, family status, physical or mental disability or related characteristics or circumstances, and activity pursuant to membership in BUFA, CAUT, or any other trade union or association.

    The Employer's Chief Negotiator, Mr. Mitchell, once again objected to this proposal on the (specious) grounds that such changes were not part of BUFA's initial set of proposals. BUFA responded by stating once again that, as a matter of labour law, once an Article is opened, the entire Article was subject to negotiation, and by noting that the Employer had suggested (in writing) that we review the provisions of the Human Rights Code in relation to this Article.

    BUFA further advised that if the Employer actually desired to reserve some (fictional) 'management right' to discriminated against BUFA members on the grounds of such things as ancestry, nationality, ethnic background, physical handicap, political/religious/union activity and so forth, our bargaining committee would be more than happy to advise BUFA members of this desire.

    In the event, the Employer took BUFA's counterproposal package under advisement and the discussion turned to the Employer's QXR proposals for the PA ranks.

    BUFA was advised that the Employer's proposals involved the 'upgrading' of the QXR requirements for the PA ranks. Under the Employer's proposal, this would be accomplished basically by replacing the requirements for each existing PA III requirements with those of the PA IV requirements, the replacing of the existing PA II requirements with those of the PA III requirements, and the replacing of the existing PA I requirements with the PA II requirements. The proposed PA IV requirements would involve an enhancement of the existing requirement language.

    For example, under the Employer's proposal, the current language specifying the Professional Attainment category for a PA III would replace the current language of the Professional Attainment category for a PA II. In turn, the PA III Professional Attainment language would require "Evidence of peer reviewed, independent, sustained and ongoing contributions to the applicant's discipline…". The PA IV Professional Attainment would require a 'record of excellence in scholarship/ research' and achievement in the profession at a 'level of distinction.' BUFA asked whether the intent of these changes was to make it more difficult for PA's to proceed through the ranks. The Employer stated that their proposals were 'raising standards.'

    (Comment: the Employer's proposed enhancement of the research requirement for the PA ranks stands in contrast to the Employer's rejection of BUFA's proposal entitling PA's to utilize up to 15 days per year for the purpose of pursuing scholarship/research activities.)

    BUFA then asked, in reference to the proposed PA IV requirement, for examples of the kind of attainment that would qualify as 'level of distinction.' The Employer responded by referencing the record of several members currently holding the PA IV rank. BUFA noted that these members were subject to the existing provisions of the Collective Agreement, so that there would not seem to be a compelling reason for altering these provisions.

    Discussion then turned to the Employer's proposal to restructure the QXR for Athletics. This restructuring would involve the conversion of the Coaches, Athletic Director, and Athletic Therapist job categories from tenurable/continuing positions to 'renewable three-year contract' positions. Mr. Lamont noted that this represented a change in BU's historical approach to athletics. Whereas previously, BU had sought to hire academic members who were assigned to coach, now BU would be hiring Coaches who could be assigned to teach courses.

    The proposed rank structure (CIS level I, II, III), the Employer advised, would be integrated into the salary grid as the equivalent of PA I, II, and III which, in their view, would address the problems recently experienced in filling these positions.

    BUFA noted that their proposal did not include specific job descriptions, any mechanism for determining renewability of contracts, nor any mechanism for member advancement through the proposed ranks. Mr. Lamont responded that these matters "need to be looked at."

    During the lengthy discussion which ensued, BUFA questioned the reasoning behind the conversion of the Athletic Therapist position from a tenurable to a renewable contract appointment, suggesting that a 'revolving door scenario' would not serve the community and clientele well. Mr. Lamont responded that the Athletic Therapist job was physically very demanding, suggesting that the Employer wanted the option of terminating the contract if the member was 'no longer able to perform.'

    BUFA then raised the question of the implications of these changes for existing members in these positions, advising that these members would have to be 'Grand-parented' should agreement on these changes be achieved. The Employer took this under consideration.

    Following a short break, the session resumed with Mr. Mitchell advising that the Employer was withdrawing several proposed changes to Article 9, Workload. In particular, the Employer withdrew the proposal to allow an increase the teaching workload by 3-credit hours for members whose scholarship/research activity was deemed to be 'unsatisfactory.' The Employer explained that this action was taken, in large measure, because of BUFA's strident rejection of the proposal at the bargaining table. BUFA sought and received confirmation from Mr. Mitchell that the Employer's related proposals for Article 11 (Evaluations) were also withdrawn.

    (Comment: Our information is that the Employer had just obtained a copy of the notice of Friday's special meeting to discuss negotiations, as well as copies of the latest Bargaining Bulletins, and drew the inference -- based on historical experience -- that a vote on job action would follow. BUFA's bargaining team surmises that this inference factored significantly into their decision. We further surmise that the decision was taken just prior to Tuesday's bargaining session, particularly since -- contrary to the Employer's consistent practice -- the withdrawal was made verbally, and not in written form, and that BUFA had to ask whether or not the related language in Article 11 had been withdrawn.)

    Attention then turned to the Employer's proposed change to Article 9.1. Here, the Employer seeks to substitute the word 'required' for the word 'expected' in relation to scholarship/research activity. The implication is that scholarship/research activity is to become considered as a 'duty' under the Collective Agreement. When considered from the perspective of Article 18.10. a) (Termination of Employment) and their proposed changes to Article 11 (Evaluations), the implications for BUFA members are obvious.

    The Employer's proposed changes to Article 9.2, which requires members to inform the Dean immediately during a teaching term if they are off-campus and, in a non-teaching term, if the absence is to be for 5 or more working days. BUFA noted that this language would eliminate the possibility, currently available, of members working in office space at home without notifying their Dean. Indeed, the wording of the proposal suggests that, during a teaching term, a member going off-campus for lunch (or going home before 4:30) would have to notify their Dean.

    The Employer stated that the reason for this requirement was to ensure that students who may wish to contact members knew their whereabouts. BUFA noted that students are provided with sufficient contact information, including office hours and the like. BUFA stated that it was inappropriate for the Employer to try to micro-manage members lives, since BUFA members are not civil servants.

    Following this discussion, BUFA asked the Employer to provide a rationale for their proposal to reduce the credit hour weighting for Senior Practicum Courses in Health Studies to .25 credit hours/student from the current .5 credit hour/student weighting. The members of the Employer's bargaining team seemed perplexed by the question, and stated that they had no idea, but that the proposal had come from the Dean of Health Studies. It was agreed to invite the Dean to address the matter at the next session.

    There followed a brief discussion of the Employer's remaining proposals on Article 9, during which the Employer reiterated its rejection of BUFA's proposal on 'split courses.' The session ended at 7:40pm, with no further Articles initialed.

    September 20, 2011 Session

    (Present: G. Mitchell; S. Lamont; B. Smith, for the Employer. J. Dolecki; D. Winter; B. Paton; D. Brown; E. MacDonald-Murray, for BUFA).

    This relatively short session began with an explanation by the Dean of Health Studies of the rationale for the proposed change to the workload credit for Senior Practicum Courses. The Dean argued that the .25 credit weighting was the 'industry standard' and consistent with the weighting of such courses at the University of Manitoba, his previous employer. He added that the current credit hour weighting in the Collective Agreement was 'a throwback' to a time when faculty had more hands-on supervisory responsibilities in such courses. Most of these responsibilities were now contracted out to ?preceptors.? The Dean stated that there were only two courses now offered in which this change would have an impact.

    The Dean then asked to speak to the Employer's proposal for 'Market Supplements' in Health Studies, stating that BU was having great difficulty recruiting members because of the salary differential offered within the RHA's. He stated that an individual with a Master's Degree would be looking at a pay reduction of $20,000 to $40,000 per year when considering employment at Brandon University, the suggestion being that this would be the magnitude of the market supplement contemplated by the employer.

    Following this discussion the Employer responded to BUFA's counterproposal of the previous session. There followed a series of back and forth proposed wording modification exchanges. In the event, agreement was reached and the Parties initialed Articles 4,6, 16, 17, 20, 23, and 27.

    The Employer then tabled a proposal to develop a process similar to that in Appendix G (Reclassification of IAs and AAs) for use in the proposed CIS ranks. BUFA then asked for a copy of the revised wording of the Employer's proposals on the Article 9 and 11 issues (in which language had been withdrawn) and was advised that this would be forthcoming. The session ended with seven Articles initialed.

    At the end of this session, the following Articles remain outstanding:

    • Definitions (E)
    • Article 7 -- Appointments (B, E)
    • Article 8 -- Qualifications by Rank (E)
    • Article 9 -- Workload (B, E)
    • Article 11 -- Evaluations (E)
    • Article 12 -- Promotions (E)
    • Article 13 -- Tenure (E)
    • Article 19 -- Personnel Files (E)
    • Article 25 -- Selection of Chairpersons and Coordinators (E)
    • Article 26 -- Duration and Continuance (B, E)
    • Article 31 -- Sexual Harassment (E)
    • Article 32 -- Technologically Mediated Courses (E)
    • Appendices B, C, D, F, H, and I (B, E)

    The next session is scheduled for September 27.

    Joe Dolecki
    BUFA President and Chief Negotiator



September 16, 2011
  • BUFA Negotiations Bulletin #7.

    Below is a synopsis of the bargaining session held on September 13, 2011.

    September 13, 2011 Session

    (Present: G. Mitchell; S. Lamont; B. Smith, S. Grills, for the Employer. J. Dolecki; D. Winter; B. Paton; D. Brown; E. MacDonald-Murray, for BUFA).

    Prior to the commencement of this session, BUFA's Chief Negotiator received an e-mail message from Mr. Mitchell, advising of the Employer's expectation that BUFA would come prepared to present a rationale for its Article 8 (QXR) proposals. BUFA replied that, since BUFA did not propose any changes to Article 8 (aside from the already agreed-upon creation of an IA IV rank), it was BUFA's expectation that the Employer would provide a detailed rationale for their proposed changes to the status quo. The strategy ingredient in Mr. Mitchell's e-mail was obvious.

    BUFA opened this session with a few comments on matters arising from the previous session. BUFA rejected the Employer's suggestion, made in relation to BUFA's Article 32 counterproposal, that it was somehow inappropriate for BUFA, in the negotiations process, to advance language that would expand BUFA members' rights, but that it was appropriate for the Employer to advance language that would expand its rights under the Collective Agreement.

    BUFA then advised that the President had just announced that the Administration was conducting a 'review' of the REP. Since BUFA had tabled, at the August 19 bargaining session, language proposing comprehensive review of the REP in relation to BUFA members, BUFA had requested its legal counsel to determine whether the President's action constituted 'bargaining in bad faith'.

    By way of response, Mr. Mitchell reiterated the Employer's position that it was inappropriate for BUFA to table proposals on outstanding Articles that were not opened in BUFA's initial package. He also indicated that, in an opened Article, only those clauses in which proposals had been advanced were to be discussed; everything else in the Article was off-limits. BUFA responded by noting that, as a matter of labour law, once an Article is opened, the entire Article was subject to negotiation.

    Mr. Mitchell stated that the Employer disagreed with this view. BUFA then suggested that the proposals styled as "housekeeping" changes advanced (and later withdrawn) by the Employer (which sought to change all references from "Article" to "Clause" in the text of the CA's Articles) were actually "substantive" changes aimed at narrowing the scope of the negotiations process in a manner consistent with the Employer's views. BUFA intimated that this was 'bargaining in bad faith.'

    There followed a lengthy discussion of the Employer's proposals on Article 8 (Qualifications by Rank), which opened with the Employer supplying a rationale for the (sweeping) changes it was proposing.

    The Employer seeks to 'remedy' two major problems it believes are presented by the existing language of Article 8.

    According to the Employer, the first 'problem' is organizational. Article 8 is written in a manner that applies to initial appointments, tenure and promotion, and the Articles outlining these procedures contains references to the provisions of Article 8. This produces, according to the Employer, a certain "tension" between the Articles. (Apparently, Senior Administrators have difficulty with cross-referencing when developing appointment, tenure, and promotion recommendations.) To remedy this, the Employer is proposing to dismember Article 8, leaving it as a stand-alone Article dealing with initial appointments only, with similar stand-alone proposals for the Tenure and Promotion Articles.

    In response, BUFA suggested that the identified 'problem' seemed to be confined to Senior Administration, and noted that the Union (through the SWC) annually sponsors Tenure and Promotion workshops for BUFA members.

    The second problem, according to the Employer, lies with the requirements contained in QXR itself. The Employer stated that these requirements do not meet "national standards". To remedy this, the Employer is proposing to fundamentally redefine the qualification requirements for BUFA members.

    Their proposal involves, among other things, the elimination of the distinction between traditional and non-traditional career paths available at Brandon University, the redefinition of Teaching, Scholarship/Research; and Service, and a further re-specification of these categories in the qualifications required for initial appointments in all ranks.

    Thus, for example, it is proposed that "Teaching" be redefined as involving "effectiveness as a teacher and implies a concentrated, sustained and successful effort to create the best possible learning situation for students in the classroom, laboratory, or Studio. It involves continuing attention to course work, course design, and related activities and to the supervision and evaluation of students in alternative modes of learning." According to the Employer, this definition is less subjective than the current CA definition.

    The Scholarship/Research definition would remain relatively unchanged, under the Employer's proposal, which retains the existing list of activities that constitute evidence of Scholarship/Research Activity. However, in the specific Scholarship/Research requirement for the ranks, this list is de facto reduced to one activity: peer-reviewed publication. This reduction is repeated in the requirements for promotion and tenure.

    Thus, to be promoted to the (tenurable) rank of Assistant Professor, the proposed requirement is "Evidence of peer-reviewed, independent, sustained, and ongoing contributions to the member's discipline or profession leading to a reasonable expectation of his/her ability to demonstrate some combination of maturity of scholarship and professional achievement," a requirement which is reproduced in the proposed Tenure Article. For promotion to Full Professor, one must demonstrate a "level of distinction" in this category, at the "national and international level."

    However, from the perspective of the Employer, the most important change involves the professional preparation requirement for Assistant Professor. Here, the proposed requirement is "The doctorate or the degree normally considered to be terminal in his/her discipline is required. Where the doctorate is not held, and the Master's degree is the degree normally considered to be terminal in the discipline/area and five (5) years post-master's or equivalent years of relevant service are required" (Sic), which represents a significant change to Collective Agreement.

    In commenting on these proposals, Dr. Grills stated that the current QXR language was reflective of Brandon University's "institutional past," while the Employer's proposals are appropriate to the Employer's vision of "Brandon University of the future." He added that the goal of the Employer was to bring Brandon University up to the "national standards of comparable, peer institutions."

    BUFA then asked the Employer the following question: "Is it your view that the present complement of faculty at Brandon University is inferior to that of our peer institutions?" The Employer responded, "Yes." This response was immediate, unqualified, and un-revisited during the remainder of this session. BUFA then asked what empirical evidence the Employer had to support this view, to which the Employer responded, "We'll get back to you on that."

    BUFA thereupon requested a 15-minute break.

    [Comment: The Employer explicitly attributes our members' alleged "inferiority" to the QXR provisions of our Collective Agreement. However, the Employer forgets that, under the provisions of our Collective Agreement, initial appointments (as well as Tenure and promotion applications) are vetted through Senior Administration, with final approval vested in the hands of the President.]

    Following the break, discussion focused on some of the practical consequences of the Employer's proposals. Among other things, BUFA sought and received confirmation that, under the Employer's proposals, no one with a Master's Degree in a field where a doctorate is a terminal degree, could be hired at, or promoted to, a tenurable rank, nor could such an individual be granted Tenure. BUFA then observed that there are currently very few fields of study that do not have the doctorate as a terminal degree.

    [Comment: Thus, to cite one of many examples, the internationally renowned economist Kenneth Boulding -- who held an MA -- could not be tenured at the "Brandon University of the future" under these proposals.)

    Discussion then turned to the Employer's proposal relating to scholarship/research QXR language for the Assistant Professor rank for a person in a field where the "degree considered to be terminal in her/his discipline is a master's level credential." Here, "scholarship/research contributions equivalent to the doctorate are required for initial appointment to this rank. " BUFA sought and received confirmation that (assuming away the professional preparation requirement of a doctorate) this meant that an MBA fresh out of graduate school could not be hired into the Business Administration department at the rank of Assistant Professor. Dr. Grills replied that such a person would be appointed at the Lecturer rank, and serve in this rank until the scholarship/research requirement was met.

    Upon completion of a discussion of the proposed QXR for the professorial ranks, the session ended, with no further Articles initialed.

    Joe Dolecki
    BUFA President and Chief Negotiator



September 13, 2011
  • BUFA Negotiations Bulletin #6.

    Since our last Bulletin, three bargaining sessions have been held (August 29, September 6, and September 13). Below is a synopsis of the August 29 and September 6 sessions. The synopsis of the (remarkable) September 13 session will be forwarded separately as Bulletin #7.

    August 29, 2011 Session

    (Present: G. Mitchell; S. Lamont; B. Smith, for the Employer. J. Dolecki; D. Winter; D. Brown; B. Paton; E. MacDonald-Murray, for BUFA).

    At the beginning of this session, the following Articles of the Collective Agreement were outstanding (B = opened by BUFA; E = opened by the Employer):

    • Definitions (E)
    • Article 4 - No Discrimination (E)
    • Article 6 - Grievance and Arbitration (E)
    • Article 7 - Appointments (B, E)
    • Article 8 -- Qualifications by Rank (E)
    • Article 9 -- Workload (B, E)
    • Article 11 -- Evaluations (E)
    • Article 12 -- Promotions (E)
    • Article 13 - Tenure (E)
    • Article 16 - Redundancy (E)
    • Article 17 - Redundancy of Members Employed in the Special Projects (E)
    • Article 18 - Termination of Employment (E)
    • Article 19 - Personnel Files (E)
    • Article 20 - Vacation and Leave (B, E)
    • Article 23 - University Research Committee (E)
    • Article 25 - Selection of Chairpersons and Coordinators (E)
    • Article 26 - Duration and Continuance (B, E)
    • Article 31 - Sexual Harassment (E)
    • Article 32 - Technologically Mediated Courses (E)
    • Appendices B, C, D, F, H, and I (B, E)

    Once again, this session began with the scheduling of dates for future negotiations. It was agreed to meet on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in the afternoons and evenings through the month of September.

    The Employer then presented a package of documents relating their payment schedule for the unfunded liability in the pension plan, based on the assumption of changes in the rate of investment earnings, as well as a revised BU budget summary. BUFA was advised that a pension plan evaluation for a three-year period ending December 2011will be conducted, with the results being received in May 2012.

    BUFA asked if the Employer had been able to locate the alleged directive from the provincial government which, the Employer had claimed, instructed them to cap salary increases in this round of bargaining at 0-0-2%. Mr. Lamont responded that there was actually no written directive, because the "government does not and will not put such things in writing." BUFA pointed out that the Employer's was therefore basing its position on mere hearsay, which BUFA would not accept.

    A lengthy discussion of the Employer's proposed changes to Article 20 followed, during which the Employer's rationale was clarified. During this discussion, BUFA asked if there had been any abuses of the compassionate leave provision as currently worded. Ms. Smith responded that, in all her years at BU, no more than five instances had occurred across all campus employee groups. BUFA suggested that the Employer's proposed 5-day compassionate leave length was unnecessary. BUFA also pointed out a grammatical error in the Employer's proposal in relation to Article 20.31.

    The Employer then tabled a 'package offer' on Appendix H.2. The Employer offered to agree to BUFA's proposal on meal per diems, including the use of CEDA rates for international meals, if BUFA would accept vehicle travel rate (currently 36cents/kilometer) set at 38cents/kilometer (which they claimed was the current rate at the U of M and UW). The Employer also reiterated their proposal to change the way BUFA's seniority list was established.

    Following a short break, BUFA tabled two counterproposals. BUFA offered to accept the Employer's Appendix H.2 offer, if the kilometer rate was increased to 40 cents/kilometer (BUFA's original proposal was 47cents/kilometer). The second counter proposal was presented as a 'package offer'. Here, BUFA would accept (with a few wording changes) the Employer's proposal to remove the President from the Canada Research Chairs selection process and replace her with the Vice-President (Academic and Research), if the Employer would accept BUFA's proposal (tabled several sessions previously) to remove the President from the appointment, tenure, and promotions processes.

    Following this exchange, the session concluded with no further articles initialed.

    September 6, 2011 Session

    (Present: G. Mitchell; S. Lamont; B. Smith, S. Grills, for the Employer. J. Dolecki; D. Winter; B. Paton; E. MacDonald-Murray, for BUFA).

    This session began with BUFA reiterating its counterproposal on Appendix H.2, noting that while the U of M rate for was indeed 38cents, this rate was established in 2009, to be reviewed in 2019. Given the expected rate of inflation over the life of the contract, BUFA suggested that its proposal was not unreasonable.

    BUFA then tabled a counterproposal on Article 32 (Technologically Mediated Courses). BUFA pointed out that web-based courses were currently covered by the provisions of Article 32, and that the thrust of BUFA's counterproposal was to make this coverage explicitly stated by including a direct reference to web-based (and synchronous and asynchronous courses) in the Article. BUFA also advised that members currently developing web-based courses have found that the work involved in such development was far in excess of that required for regular courses. Accordingly, BUFA would not agree to the Employer's proposal to eliminate the additional workload credit for the development of such courses.

    At the end of this discussion, Mr. Mitchell noted that BUFA's initial proposals did not open Article 32, suggesting that our counterproposals were somehow inappropriate. BUFA responded by noting that the Employer had originally sought to eliminate Article 32 entirely and that our documents were consistently styled as counter-proposals.

    BUFA then conveyed a response to the Employer's salary and pension proposals. BUFA noted that the information presented on August 29 seemed intended to show that the BU was on the brink of financial collapse so that BUFA would be convinced to accept the Employer's Appendix F 'offer'. It was pointed out that should BUFA actually accept the Employer's offer, 0-0-2% plus an additional 1.5% increase of the employee contribution to the Pension Plan, then the take home pay of BUFA members would actually be reduced, in real terms, by roughly 14% over the life of the contract (depending on the rate of inflation). Moreover, BUFA noted, that under the Employer's offer, the 'retro-pay' received by BUFA members upon the signing of an agreement would be negative. In other words, BUFA members would actually be obliged to reimburse the University for the 1.5% increase in pension contributions specified in their proposal.

    BUFA then noted that their proposal on Pension Contributions by the Employer (being based on actuary calculation of the employers amount required to ensure that the Plan breaks-even) would ensure that any future surpluses generated by the plan would be transferred to the Employer's general operating budget, since in surplus years the actuary would determine that the Employer's contribution would be reduced by the amount of the Plan's estimated surplus. BUFA termed this 'theft', and stated that BUFA would never agree to such a provision.

    BUFA then advised that the word "continuous" as proposed by the Employer in Article 18 was acceptable, and that BUFA was willing to initial this Article.

    After a short break, Article 18 was initialed. The Employer then responded to a number of BUFA's counterproposals.

    On Appendix H.2, the Employer rejected our proposal for 40cents/kilometer, stating that there is no justification for BU's rate to be different from the other institutions. As well, the Employer rejected our counter proposal on Article 32, stating that our proposal seemed to expand BUFA members' rights under the Article. Finally, the Employer rejected BUFA's offer to accept the removal of the President from CRC selection in exchange for removing the President from the appointment, tenure, and promotions processes.

    The session ended, with one Article initialed (Article 18).

    Joe Dolecki
    BUFA President and Chief Negotiator



August 19, 2011
  • BUFA Negotiations Bulletin #5.

    Bargaining resumed on August 12, at 10:30am. At this session, BUFA was represented by: J. Dolecki, D. Brown, E. MacDonald-Murray, D. Winter, and B. Paton, while the Employer was represented by: G. Mitchell, B. Smith, and S. Grills (S. Lamont absent). Below is a synopsis of this session.

    At the beginning of this session, the following Articles of the Collective Agreement were outstanding (B = opened by BUFA; E = opened by the Employer):

    • Definitions (E)
    • Article 4 - No Discrimination (E)
    • Article 6 - Grievance and Arbitration (E)
    • Article 7 - Appointments (B, E)
    • Article 8 -- Qualifications by Rank (E)
    • Article 9 -- Workload (B, E)
    • Article 11 -- Evaluations (E)
    • Article 12 -- Promotions (E)
    • Article 13 - Tenure (E)
    • Article 16 - Redundancy (E)
    • Article 17 - Redundancy of Members Employed in the Special Projects (E)
    • Article 18 - Termination of Employment (E)
    • Article 19 - Personnel Files (E)
    • Article 20 - Vacation and Leave (B, E)
    • Article 23 - University Research Committee (E)
    • Article 25 - Selection of Chairpersons and Coordinators (E)
    • Article 26 - Duration and Continuance (B, E)
    • Article 31 - Sexual Harassment (E)
    • Article 32 - Technologically Mediated Courses (E)
    • Appendices B, C, D F, H, and I (B, E)

    This session began, at BUFA's request, with the scheduling of dates for future negotiations. The Employer advised that the August 19 date was going to difficult for their team, and as a consequence, that date was cancelled. Two further dates were agreed upon: August 29 and September 6.

    At a previous session, Mr. Lamont had requested that discussion of proposed changes to Articles 18 and 20 be deferred, since the linkage between them involve the sick leave and LTD provisions administered by Human Resources, and B. Smith was away on holidays. Since Ms. Smith was now present, BUFA requested these Articles be discussed first. However, BUFA was advised that, since the issues involved were "more administrative than academic," the Employer required Mr. Lamont's presence before these matters could be addressed.

    In Article 18, the only outstanding question is whether the 720 sick leave days referenced in 18.9 are 'consecutive' or 'cumulative' over a member's career. The Employer advised that it agreed with BUFA that the 720 sick leave days were to interpreted as consecutive, but suggested that the word 'continuous' be inserted into 18.9 instead of BUFA's proposed 'consecutive', as this was consistent with the LTD insurer's language. Discussion of BUFA's and the Employer's proposed changes to the language of Article 20 was deferred.

    Attention then turned to Article 32, "Technologically Mediated Courses." The Employer distributed a counterproposal that would fundamentally redraft and restrict Article 32 to "Asynchronous Web-based Courses" (AWC), and eliminate all references to the types of courses currently identified (and being delivered by BU) in 32.2, as well as any reference to technology (such as Moodle) used for instruction in "synchronous" or "mixed media" courses. A lengthy discussion seeking to clarify the meaning and intent of this counterproposal ensued.

    Apparently, the Employer's seeks to expand AWC offerings, since BU currently offers "less" of these types of courses than "most" other Universities. According to the Employer, under their proposal AWCs would be considered, for purposes of workload assignment to be the equivalent of regular courses and, as such, there would be no additional workload credit given for the development of such courses (nor would travel expenses associated with current iLink courses be explicitly guaranteed). These (substantial) changes would be 'compensated,' in the Employer's view, by their proposal that the material developed for AWCs would remain the property of the instructor, subject to the Copyright provisions (including Appendix E) of the Collective Agreement.

    The Employer anticipates that AWCs will be delivered using "instructional support TA's" as 'facilitators.' As currently is the practice for regular course instructional support (for example, marking assistance), BUFA members would apply to their Dean for funds to hire a "TA facilitator".

    BUFA took the Employer's Article 32 counterproposal under advisement and, after a short break, discussion turned to Article 31, "Sexual Harassment." BUFA requested a complete rationale for the Employer's proposal to delete Article 32 and was advised that, in the Employer's view, Article 31 was antiquated, outdated, and insufficiently compliant with current legislation.

    Elimination of Article 32 would place Sexual Harassment under the Board's Respectful Environment Policy (REP). According to the Employer, the REP is "better" and "more appropriate" than Article 32.

    BUFA responded with a lengthy discussion detailing the problems with the REP, expanding on the comments BUFA submitted to the Board of Governors (reproduced in the Message to BUFA Members, August 4, 2011) and emphasizing that BUFA had always tried to foster and protect a collegial atmosphere at BU. A fundamental problem with the REP, BUFA noted, is that it was designed primarily as a disciplinary instrument by Senior Administration, who paid scant attention to the concerns continually raised by BUFA in discussion and negotiations in respect of the REP over the years (subjective definitional base, unfettered Administrative discretion, lack of due process and procedural fairness, obsessive secrecy, failure of the Senior Administration to follow the procedures of its own policy, and so on).

    BUFA then outlined in detail the nature, outcomes, and consequences of the two recent REP cases in which BUFA has been involved. As these cases have shown, the REP has not only failed to meet the intent of the legislation, it has resulted in serious (and potentially irreparable) damage to the workplace environment on campus, particularly in the affected Departments. BUFA noted that the very application of the REP, rather than the outcomes under it, is a form of institutional reprisal available for deployment against those BUFA members that the Senior Administration, for whatever reason, dislikes.

    Following this discussion, the Employer asked if BUFA would be tabling an alternative policy, to which BUFA gave a negative response. Rather, what BUFA was contemplating was an alternative approach to the issue.

    After a short break, BUFA tabled a counterproposal, to be styled as Article 26.11, which would suspend the application of the REP to BUFA members for the term of the new Collective Agreement, pending a Report of a proposed two (BUFA) member task force (one appointed by BUFA, one appointed by the Employer) charged with conducting a comprehensive review of the existing REP and the experience with it over the last several years in respect of BUFA members. This review would be conducted within the context of the intent of legislation, the workplace environment at BU, and the due process and procedural protections provided participants by the Charter, criminal and civil statutes, and the Collective Agreement.

    The task force Report would contain recommendations for the restructuring of an instrument, emphasizing mediation and conflict resolution (as opposed to discipline) as preferred mechanisms for realizing the intent of the legislation in our University's setting. These recommendations would be then be submitted to the Parties with a view to negotiating the terms, structure, and procedures of a mutually acceptable instrument, outlined in a Memorandum of Agreement, by March 31, 2014. BUFA noted that this is the type of approach that should have been followed when the legislation changes were initially enacted.

    After a lengthy discussion of this counterproposal, attention then focused on the Employer's proposal to incorporate the Dean of Graduate Studies and the "Faculty of Graduate Studies" into the Definitions section of the Collective Agreement. It was noted that, in 2007, the position of Dean of Graduate Studies was "created by the Senate," that it is currently occupied by Dean Care, and that this role has been included in the "portfolio" (job description) of Deans. The Employer was asked if there were any faculty members in the Faculty of Graduate Studies, to which the Employer responded that this was the intention, "eventually". The Employer was also asked why the Faculty of Graduate Studies appears, in the Employer's proposed change to Definitions, as both a Faculty and a Department. The Employer undertook to get back to BUFA on this question.

    The session ended at 2:00pm, with no Articles initialed. The next session is scheduled for Monday, August 29.

    Joe Dolecki
    BUFA President and Chief Negotiator



August 06, 2011
  • BUFA Negotiations Bulletin #4.

    Bargaining resumed on July 29, at 10:30am. At this session, BUFA was represented by J. Dolecki, D. Brown, E. MacDonald-Murray, and B. Paton, while the Employer was represented by G. Mitchell, S. Grills, and S. Lamont. Below is a synopsis of this session.

    Session #5 - July 29, 2011

    At the beginning of this session, the following Articles of the Collective Agreement were outstanding (B = opened by BUFA; E = opened by the Employer):

    • Definitions (E)
    • Article 4 - No Discrimination (E)
    • Article 6 - Grievance and Arbitration (E)
    • Article 7 - Appointments (B, E)
    • Article 8 -- Qualifications by Rank (E)
    • Article 9 -- Workload (B, E)
    • Article 11 -- Evaluations (E)
    • Article 12 -- Promotions (E)
    • Article 13 - Tenure (E)
    • Article 16 - Redundancy (E)
    • Article 17 - Redundancy of Members Employed in the Special Projects (E)
    • Article 18 - Termination of Employment (E)
    • Article 19 - Personnel Files (E)
    • Article 20 - Vacation and Leave (B, E)
    • Article 23 - University Research Committee (E)
    • Article 25 - Selection of Chairpersons and Coordinators (E)
    • Article 26 - Duration and Continuance (B, E)
    • Article 31 - Sexual Harassment (E)
    • Article 32 - Technologically Mediated Courses (E)
    • Appendices B, C, D F, H, and I (B, E)

    At the beginning of this session, BUFA requested that the Parties schedule dates for future negotiations, given the paucity of meeting times thus far in the process. The August 2 date, which was tentative, was cancelled, and the following schedule was established: August 12; August 19; either the 29, 30, or 31st of August (to be selected, pending the availability of the Employer's Chief Negotiator); and September 6.

    The Employer then tabled a document responding to some of BUFA proposals (and counter proposals) discussed at the last session. After a lengthy discussion, and a relatively short break for separate (private) consideration by the bargaining teams, agreement was reached on the following items: BUFA's proposed language on the establishment of the IA IV rank, with the deletion of the word "recognized" (which had appeared before the words "Master's Degree"); the credit hour release for the Coordinator of IHHS (3 cr. hrs.); and to some minor wording changes to 16.8 and 17.10 which BUFA had counter-proposed. In addition, the Employer undertook to consider a BUFA counter proposal, offered in response to the Employer's response document, on the wording in relation to research opportunities for IA's.

    The Employer, however, was unwilling to agree to BUFA's proposal allowing a specific number of days per year (15) to be designated as 'research days' for PA's. Dr. Grills argued that the number of days appeared to be arbitrary and that peak-load periods for PA's are highly variable which would make implementation difficult. The Employer's view is that the matter was best handled by the Deans/Directors, and proposed (rather general) language amounting to an 'undertaking' by Deans/directors to ensure that 'adequate time' is made available for research by PAs. As well, the Employer was unwilling to agree to BUFA's language regarding training and upgrading of skills by PAs, IAs, and AAs. Instead, the Employer proposed to amend Appendix H.1 (a) to permit the use of PDA funds for these purposes. BUFA negotiators rejected this proposal, as such training and upgrading is normally the fiscal responsibility of Employers.

    The BUFA bargaining team then asked for the Employer's rationale behind their proposed elimination of Article 32, Technologically Mediated Courses. Dr. Grills argued that the Article was based on a false premise. He stated that the distinction, outlined in 32.1, between regular (classroom based) and Technologically Mediated Courses (defined in 31.2) was a false one, which was no longer relevant. He asserted that, to his knowledge, the types of courses identified in 32.2 were no longer being offered by BU (an assertion which, it turns out, is false) and went on to describe the exciting uses of technologies (such as Moodle) made by BUFA members. Dr. Grills did not, however, explain how Article 32 had impeded these developments. He ended by reiterating the Employer's position that the Article be deleted in its entirety.

    BUFA responded by noting that there were several important protections for BUFA members built into Article 32 - including (but not limited to): 32.14 (no layoffs, displacement, or redundancy of Continuing, tenured, or probationary as a result of the use of instructional technologies); 32.5 (the right to use or not to use instructional technologies being vested with the BUFA member); 32.10 and 32.11 (copyright protection); 32.9 (no contracting out of Technologically Mediated Courses). BUFA also noted that the language as it exists provides for the application of these protections to recent developments, and suggested that the Employer consider the utility of Article 26.8 (Technological Review Committee) in relation to question of technological change impacting course delivery. BUFA then tabled a language counter proposal, which would explicitly include identified instructional technologies under the umbrella of Article 32, and particularly its copyright (and access restriction) provisions.

    BUFA responded by noting that there were several important protections for BUFA members built into Article 32 - including (but not limited to): 32.14 (no layoffs, displacement, or redundancy of Continuing, tenured, or probationary as a result of the use of instructional technologies); 32.5 (the right to use or not to use instructional technologies being vested with the BUFA member); 32.10 and 32.11 (copyright protection); 32.9 (no contracting out of Technologically Mediated Courses). BUFA also noted that the language as it exists provides for the application of these protections to recent developments, and suggested that the Employer consider the utility of Article 26.8 (Technological Review Committee) in relation to question of technological change impacting course delivery. BUFA then tabled a language counter proposal, which would explicitly include identified instructional technologies under the umbrella of Article 32, and particularly its copyright (and access restriction) provisions.

    The meeting ended at 1:30, with no Articles initialed. The session is scheduled for August 12.

    Joe Dolecki
    BUFA President and Chief Negotiator



June 27, 2011
  • BUFA Negotiations Bulletin #3. Joe Dolecki, Chief Negotiator, BUFA Bargaining Committee

    Last week, two bargaining sessions were held. At each session, BUFA was represented by J. Dolecki, D. Brown, M. Reid, and B. Paton, and the Employer was represented by G. Mitchell, S. Lamont, and S. Grills. Below is a synopsis of these sessions.

    Session #3 – June 23, 2011

    At the beginning of this bargaining session, which lasted from 10:30 am to 1:00pm, all of the Articles of the Collective Agreement (CA), except the Preamble, were outstanding. The session was largely taken up with the Employer’s response to BUFA’s bargaining proposals.

    The Employer began by rejecting the terms of the Standard Disclaimer prefacing BUFA’s proposal package, a disclaimer that has been used in the last two rounds of negotiations. In particular, the Employer objected to the phrase “The Union reserves the right to amend, delete or add any proposals.” Apparently, this objection is related to their rejection of Item 6 in the Standard Bargaining Protocol (once one side opens an article, the entire Article is opened for proposed changes by either side), which was discussed in Negotiation Bulletin #2. BUFA rejected the Employer’s objection.

    The Employer advised BUFA of their agreement with BUFA’s proposals on Article 7.1. c (the addition of “taking into account the provisions of Articles 7.6 and 20.37”) and Article 26.1 (a three year contract). They sought further discussion (which ensued at length) of BUFA’s proposals on: 8.6.5 (IA IV position); 9.4.2 (skills training opportunities for IA’s, PA, and AA’s, and research time for PA’s); 9.5.b (workload release for coordinators of IHHS, Gender and Women’s Studies, and Environmental Science); Appendix VB, C, and D (the addition of member consultation in respect of additional duties assigned); and Appendix H.2 (travel/meals).

    On the other hand, the Employer rejects all of BUFA’s other language proposals. Thus, they reject BUFA’s proposal on 7.10 (sabbatical replacement) on the grounds that their current practice (which features ‘backfilling’ with Sessionals) “works well.” They reject BUFA’s 15 credit-hour workload proposal, claiming that their punitive workload addition (if research is deemed inadequate by a Dean) proposal actually shares BUFA’s objective of workload reduction. The Employer rejects BUFA’s proposal (7.13) for a Right of First Refusal (RFR) for (long serving) Sessional Instructors [and consequently the proposed mechanism of converting Sessional positions into line positions] on the grounds that the experience at Nipissing with Sessional RFR language (as reported by a Dean) led to “significant problems”. They also noted (correctly) that, as a package, BUFA’s proposals would lead to an increase in line positions in certain (core program) departments, outside the control of the Employer. Finally, the Employer flatly rejects the “split courses” language proposal (Article 9.3.e), as well as the proposed BUFA veto on Board policies and By-laws that affect the terms and conditions of work over the life of the contract (Article 26.9). Our proposed language on Sick Leave (Article 20.17.2) was referred to Barb Smith for comment.

    With respect to monetary issues, the Employer tabled the Actuarial Report on our retirement plan (the Eckler Report), and rejected all of our Appendix F (salary and benefits) proposals, without further comment. At an earlier session, Mr. Lamont had referenced a ‘directive’ from the provincial government allegedly limiting salary increases to the amount the Employer has proposed. BUFA reminded Mr. Lamont of this statement and asked him to table that document. Mr. Lamont undertook to look for it.

    The Employer then tabled a revised document styled as “Housekeeping Issues,” which incorporated the discussion which took place during the June 8 session, notably the withdrawal of the Employer’s proposal the word “Article” with the word “Clause”, and the proposal to add the adjustive “teaching” before the word “workload,” throughout the CA.  BUFA undertook to review the document. The session adjourned for the day.

    Session #4 June 24, 2011

    At the beginning of this bargaining session, which lasted from 11:00am to 2:30pm, all of the Articles of the CA, except the Preamble, were outstanding.

    BUFA proposed to start off this session on a positive note by initialing Articles upon which agreement had now been reached, given the revised “Housekeeping Issues” document tabled by the Employer on the previous day. The Parties then reviewed the CA, Article by Article, in light of all proposals submitted.

    The following Articles were subsequently initialed, and will form part of the new CA: Memoranda (the Employer withdrew its proposal); Article 1 (Recognition); Article 2 (Management Rights); Article 3 (Union Rights and Security); Article 5 (Academic Freedom); Article 10 (Own Account Work); Article 14 (Retrenchment); Article 15 (Retrenchment of Members Employed in the Special Projects); Article 21 (Copyright); Article 22 (Patents); Article 24 (Correspondence); Article 28 (Academic Administrators); Article 29 (Joint Administrative Committee); Article 30 (Positive Action to Improve the Status of Women); Article 33 (Openness and Transparency); Article 34 (Printing and Distribution of this Agreement);Article 35 (Salaries and Benefits); Appendix A (Letter of Appointment); Appendix E (Copyright Licence Agreement); and Appendix G (Reclassification procedures for Instructional Associates and Administrative Associates. All other Articles remain open.

    Following this, there was a prolonged discussion of matters arising from the previous session. BUFA advised the Employer of our agreement with the use of CIDA rates for international meals, as they may be amended from time to time,  (the only outstanding issue in H.2.2), and the employer undertook to return with language implementing this agreement. BUFA provided feedback information on the issues raised by our proposals in Article 9.4.2 (upon which the Employer sought clarification). Discussion also took place regarding the proposed workload release time for the Coordinator of IHHS, and the Employer indicated agreement with the BUFA proposal on workload release time for the coordinators of Gender and Women’s Studies and Environmental Science.

    Bargaining recessed at 1:00pm for lunch and reconvened at 1:45pm.

    BUFA opened this part of the session by tabling a counterproposal to reconcile the language of Article 17.10 and 16.18 to deal with the matter of the selection of the Redeployment Committee Chairperson, which the Employer took under advisement.

    BUFA then tabled, and discussed the rationale behind, a set of counterproposals, pursuant to the rights BUFA reserved under the Standard Disclaimer discussed above, in relation to Article 7 (Appointments), Article 12 (Promotions), and Article 13 (Tenure). The thrust of these counterproposals is to remove any decision-making authority of the President in these Articles, and to return to the collegial processes governing these items that operated until the mid 1990’s. BUFA also advised that further counter-proposals relating to Articles opened by the Employer would be forthcoming.

    The Employer objected by suggesting that this action constituted bargaining in bad faith by BUFA, given the Employer’s stated objection to the Standard Disclaimer and their rejection of Item #6 of the (unsigned) SBP. BUFA responded by stating that if the Employer really believed this to be the case, they were free to file an Unfair Labour Practice complaint with the Manitoba Labour Board, and BUFA would invite them to do so. The Employer noted our invitation.

    The session ended with the setting of dates for the next sessions. Scheduling conflicts primarily involving Dr. Grills and Mr. Mitchell resulted in the following dates being set: July 29, August 2, and August 12, with a 10:30 am start time.

    Joe Dolecki,

    Chief Negotiator,

    BUFA Bargaining Committee



June 15, 2011
  • BUFA Negotiations Bulletin #2. Joe Dolecki, Chief Negotiator, BUFA Bargaining Committee

    Since our Special General Meeting, there has been only one session of bargaining, held on June 8, due primarily to scheduling difficulties encountered by the Employer’s Chief Negotiator, Winnipeg Lawyer Grant Mitchell. Below is a synopsis of this session.

    Session #2 – June 8, 2011

    At the beginning of this bargaining session, all of the Articles of the Collective Agreement (CA), except the Preamble, were outstanding.

    The session lasted from 10:30 am until 2:00 pm and was entirely taken up with BUFA’s response to the Employer’s proposals on: the Standard Bargaining Protocol (SBP); “Housekeeping issues” (40 pages); and “Substantive Issues” (44 pages).

    Standard Bargaining Protocol

    At our first bargaining session, the Employer advised that it would not sign off on the SBP unless item #6 was deleted. (Indeed, the Employer signed the SBP document with Item 6 struck out). SBP Item 6 states that, once one side opens an article, the entire Article is opened for proposed changes by either side. A major purpose of this provision is to provide an incentive for each side to limit the number of Articles opened during negotiations.

    BUFA advise the Employer that we would not sign the SBP without Item 6 included, but that BUFA was prepared to negotiate without the SBP altogether, as we did in 2002 when the Employer flatly refused to sign the document.  BUFA further advised that we would be tabling at least three additional language change proposals in Articles the Employer (but not BUFA) had opened.

    The Employer expressed the view that such action might be interpreted as ‘bargaining in bad faith’, a view that BUFA flatly rejected.

    “Housekeeping Issues”

    As in the past, the Employer divided its proposals into “Housekeeping” and “Substantive” bargaining issues.  Housekeeping matters ostensibly involve corrections to spelling/grammar/typographical/omission errors identified in (and stylistic amendments to) the existing CA that do not affect the meaning of existing language. 

    Occasionally in the past, however, the Employer has advanced ‘housekeeping’ changes that do affect the meaning of existing language. In the Employer’s present package, BUFA identified about 20 such changes, and insisted that they by moved to the “Substantial Issues” list.

    For example, the Employer proposed, as a ‘housekeeping’ matter, changes to Articles 14 and 15 (the Retrenchment Articles) which would replace the existing words “on probation” with the words “on probationary appointments” in 14.6 and 15.4. The effect of these ‘housekeeping’ changes would be to exclude those members who are in the probationary period of a continuing contract (IA’s and AA’s) from coverage under these Articles.

    To take another (actually, amusing) example, the Employer proposed, as a ‘housekeeping’ matter, a change in the specification of the date of the CA referenced in the grandfathering Memoranda (reproduced at the beginning of the existing CA) from 1 April 1995 – 31 March 1998 to April 1, 1995 – March 31, 1998. BUFA pointed out that the proper identification of documents was essential in legal and arbitration proceedings, and that the CA referenced in the Memoranda was in fact styled as 1 April 1995 – 31 March 1998 on the signature page. Thus, the effect of this ‘housekeeping’ change would be to identify a document which does not technically exist and whose terms, accordingly, would not be technically enforceable by an arbitrator. BUFA also noted that, as a lawyer, Mr. Mitchell should appreciate the point.

    The Article-by-Article discussion of the Employer’s ‘housekeeping’ changes took up more than an hour.  BUFA agreed to corrections involving identified spelling, grammar, and typographical errors, and to one stylistic change proposed by the Employer: the interchangeable use of “her/his” and “his/her”, “him/hers” and “her/his”, and the use of “s/he” throughout the CA, as requested (one surmises) by the current BU President.  BUFA did not agree to the Employer’s ‘housekeeping’ proposals to replace the word “Article” with the word “Clause”, nor with the proposal to add the adjustive “teaching” before the word “workload,” through out the CA.  The Employer subsequently withdrew these latter two proposals.

    “Substantive Issues”

    After a short break, the session resumed, being taken up with BUFA’s response to the ‘substantive’ changes to our CA sought by the Employer in this round of negotiations.  As discussed at the Special Membership Meeting, these changes are remarkably aggressive, and involve a fundamental restructuring of central provisions of our CA.

    BUFA prefaced its discussion by noting that we were initially of the view, given the Provincial Budget tabled in April, that these negotiations could be concluded expeditiously. However, upon reviewing the Employer’s proposals, BUFA’s view has changed – it has become less optimistic.

    BUFA went on to advise that the Employer’s proposals display a distinct lack of appreciation for the strength and success of the existing CA, whose provisions define and enshrine the fundamental attributes of our University. BUFA reminded the Employer that BUFA members were not Canadian Tire Employees (Thanks for the analogy, Tom), but rather academic ‘journeypersons’ who value inter alia their academic freedom, their workplace autonomy, collegiality, and the freedom from the micromanagement of their personal and professional lives by the Employer. As such, the proposals by the Employer signal the emergence of a fundamental conflict between the Parties.

    Following this introduction, BUFA proceeded to discuss and respond to the Employer’s proposals, Article by Article and, in most cases, clause by clause.

    Among other things, BUFA flatly rejected: the conversion of CIS coaches, the AD, and the Athletic Therapist positions from tenurable/continuing appointments to renewable term appointments, as well as the modification of the job descriptions for these positions; the elimination of the Faculty’s Right of First Refusal for Internal Sessional Contracts; all the changes to QXR and appointments; the changes to workload assignment (particularly as linked to Dean’s evaluations]; the reporting requirement for absences from the office and domicile; the proposal to reduce the credit hour weighting for practicum courses from 0.5 to 0.25 credit hours; the proposals relating to member evaluations; all of the proposed changes to the tenure,  promotion, and leave articles; the proposed changes to the right of privacy article; the market supplement proposal for nursing; the proposed elimination of the Sexual Harassment and Technologically Mediated Courses Articles; the Employer’s Salary offer; and the Employer’s proposal to divert Pension Plan surpluses to the Operating Budget.

    In short, BUFA rejected every major initiative proposed by the Employer.

    However, BUFA did identify some areas of potential agreement, which are under consideration.  These included: the IA IV position (but under BUFA’s language); Appendix B (Library job descriptions); changes to the CRC selection process (involving the role of the VP A/R); the process of Chair selection (where no department member is willing or available to serve); a (minor) change to the Seniority Article; and Appendix H (Expense and Travel Allowances).

    After a short break, the Employer advised that although they had prepared a response to BUFA’s June 8 proposals, this response would be presented at the next session, given that the time allocated for this session had nearly expired.

    The session ended at 2:00pm, with no Articles being initialed.  The next bargaining sessions are scheduled for June 23 and June 24.

    Joe Dolecki,

    Chief Negotiator,

    BUFA Bargaining Committee




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