November 16, 2018
Update from the York–YUFA bargaining table
October 23, 2018
Last evening, YUFA concluded its ratification vote for a renewal collective agreement with York University. We are delighted to share with you that the membership ratified a new three year collective agreement.
York would like to thank both negotiating teams for their work in achieving this outcome.
October 16, 2018
Tentative Three Year Agreement Reached
York University is pleased to announce that yesterday, the negotiating teams for York University and the York University Faculty Association (YUFA) reached a tentative settlement for a renewal collective agreement with a three-year term. The tentative settlement is subject to ratification.
York would like to thank both negotiating teams for their commitment and hard work in arriving at this outcome.
September 27, 2018
The York University and YUFA bargaining teams met twice this week, assisted by a mutually agreed upon mediator, to assist both parties to move towards a renewal collective agreement.
Over the two days of bargaining, progress was made on finding common ground regarding several outstanding issues. Proposals were exchanged, and agreement was reached on several items including:
- Enhanced parental leave top-up
- Improved terms for Post-Doctoral Visitors.
The University recognizes the vital importance of supporting our full-time faculty, so they can succeed in advancing all aspects of the University's academic mission. We remain fully focused on reaching a renewed collective agreement that will continue to recognize the significant contributions of York’s faculty and librarians.
The parties have agreed to five additional bargaining sessions in October. Bargaining will continue on October 1, 4, 11, 17 and 24 as well as the weekend of October 27 and 28, with the assistance of the mediator. We look forward to continued progress toward reaching a settlement.
September 13, 2018
On Wednesday, September 12, York University and the York University Faculty Association (YUFA) bargaining teams met to continue negotiations. The University remains committed to positive dialogue with YUFA and is confident that a renewed collective agreement is attainable through the bargaining process.
The University welcomes YUFA’s request to the provincial government to appoint a conciliator. With the same goal of moving negotiations forward, the University has proposed that the parties also retain a mutually agreeable private mediator and schedule mediation dates as soon as possible in October. Working with a private mediator will not interfere with the appointment and use of a provincially appointed conciliator if necessary. However, the parties have agreed to continue negotiations in the meantime, and the additional step of selecting an experienced private labour mediator will provide an important resource to assist in reaching a settlement.
Significant Proposals tabled by the University at yesterday's meeting
The parties have already agreed to several important items that build on our shared commitments to social justice, equity, diversity and inclusion, as reported in recent updates. These include agreements on an Equal Pay exercise and an Indigenous hiring program. Today we tabled several proposals designed to help the parties move to a renewed collective agreement with third party assistance. They are as follows:
- Significant Across-The-Board (ATB) salary increases in each year of the renewal collective agreement which are in line with salary increases at other Ontario universities:
- 2018-18 – 1.8%
- 2019-20 – 1.9%
- 2020-21 – 2.0%
- Increases in the overload rate and Appendix P stipends in each year of the renewal collective agreement by ATB percentages.
- Increase in salary support for second and subsequent 12-month sabbaticals from 82.5% to 85% of academic base salary in order to align with the predominant pattern at other Ontario universities.
- Increase in professional expense reimbursement (PER) from $1650 to $1800 in year 1.
- Discussion of a maximum carry forward of $5400 (3 times the value of a PER allocation) and reallocation of unused funds in excess of carry-forward limits to the Article 19.29(a) Faculty/Librarian Research Grants Fund.
- Long Term Disability – The University expressed its willingness to consider a plan design change to include an indexation of benefits and agreed to follow up with YUFA.
- Modification of the University's Spousal Hiring Program proposal which allows for a recruitment candidate's spouse to be offered a contractually limited appointment, subject to input from the hiring unit. The proposal has been narrowed to apply only to candidates who have self-identified as a member of one or more Affirmative Action categories, enhancing ability to successfully recruit top candidates and to achieve the University’s Affirmative Action goals.
- Favourable response to YUFA proposal regarding part-time librarian coverage
- Proposal to refer Alternate Stream tenure and promotion criteria to a side table following ratification of a renewal agreement.
- Withdrawal of two proposals, including the updated Intellectual Property clause proposed by the University.
In addition to tabling the above proposals, the University indicated to the Faculty Association that it was willing to discuss potential benefit improvements as well; however, clarity is needed from YUFA to identify its priorities within a reasonable framework for settlement.
Review of Concerns with Several of YUFA’s Proposals
The University again reviewed with YUFA significant concerns it has about a number of the Association’s proposals, providing additional perspective summarized below:
Complement Growth and Renewal
We recognize that full-time faculty are the critical drivers of excellence in all aspects of the University's academic mission, and we share YUFA’s desire to build and renew the faculty complement. The last two years already provide evidence of a commitment to increasing full-time faculty complement; and the University is particularly delighted that we have been able to accelerate faculty hiring by approving searches for 160 new full-time positions in 2018-19. This represents a 58% increase over the 101 searches approved in 2017-18, which was itself the largest number of approved searches in the last decade. For more detailed information click here.
Deans’ offices have been consulting with hiring units about their complement needs over the past few months. We recognize that the increased number of positions this year placed additional demands on colleagues to assist in the timely preparation of advertisements, which must be drafted with care to ensure compliance with applicable laws, policies and collective agreements. Nevertheless, there has been broad collegial support and engagement in the faculty complement exercise.
We believe the advertisement of 160 new faculty positions is extremely positive news for York. It reflects the University's firm commitment over the next few years to addressing longstanding complement gaps, to the fullest extent possible within available resources. At the same time, the University has been consistent through multiple rounds of negotiations that it is not prepared to agree to a formulaic complement guarantee in the collective agreement. It is important to note that the locus of financial planning lies within Faculties and we do not agree with reducing the autonomy of Faculties in the preparation of faculty complement plans especially given the uncertainties facing higher education at this time. We have also been clear that we will not agree to YUFA's proposal to limit open, collegial searches by introducing a tenure stream conversion program for Contractually Limited Appointments.
Governance and Collegiality
- The University previously provided detailed information to the YUFA bargaining team as to why we do not consider governance as a collective agreement item. There is no compelling reason to amend the current protocol for the composition of the Board of Governors which we believe strikes the necessary balance between internal and external volunteer members with the full range of skills and expertise to meet the responsibilities of the Board and serve the University.
- The new Decanal search procedures were recently updated in January 2018 and already reflect input from the Faculties and YUFA Executive Committee, who were consulted. The updated search procedures also reflect the results of a review of comparative data outlining how other universities balance the need for transparency with the risks of deterring applications from highly qualified candidates who are understandably reluctant to participate in very public searches. This further builds on the collective agreement requirement that a majority of the Decanal Search Committee be elected and consist of full-time faculty. We also suggest that feedback is required on the experience from the pilot initiative to include an "open phase" in searches where candidates are able and willing to do so, in order to determine whether further changes to the procedures are merited. The University believes that the current procedures for Decanal Searches and searches for other senior leadership positions strike an appropriate balance between Presidential authority pursuant to the York University Act, and collegial and community input. We will not agree to changing the collective agreement in ways that would alter this balance, or that would interfere with the ability of a President to meet her or his responsibilities to attract the best possible leadership candidates to the University.
- The current Article 18.15 Research Release Program has been in place for less than two years. It followed lengthy collective agreement negotiations and months of work by colleagues to develop the qualification criteria and procedures. The first full year of the program in which all eligible faculty members who apply and qualify for a research release may be granted one, will be in 2019-2020. As a result, the University does not see a reasonable basis for effectively ending the program and moving to across the board changes in teaching load. The University proposes that this program should complete a full collective agreement period allowing for a fuller assessment of the success of the program. Similarly, a great deal of effort was invested by the parties in determining a fair and equitable workload for alternate stream faculty based on an assessment that the average teaching load of professional tenure stream was effectively about 2 FCEs with the introduction of the new Article 18.15 Research Release Program. We therefore disagree with YUFA’s current proposal to reduce the teaching load of alternate stream faculty.
- The University has explained why a direct comparison of York's PTR to those at other leading universities in Ontario is not meaningful because of key differences in the structure of these programs. At other universities, PTR or a portion of it is tied to the results of an annual performance review. The current YUFA Collective Agreement does not provide for an annual performance review, making PTR effectively a second ATB salary increase. Further, other universities typically provide a PTR amount that diminishes over a faculty member's career as their salary rises past a series of defined thresholds. By contrast, YUFA members receive the same dollar amount of PTR regardless of salary level.
- Another important part of the context is how salaries of faculty in YUFA compare with salaries of faculty at other Ontario Universities. As communicated to the Association, the average salary of faculty in YUFA is second highest in the Ontario university system (situated between University of Toronto and McMaster University) and average YUFA salaries show the sharpest increase from Assistant Professor to Professor in the Ontario system.
- The University has conveyed to the Faculty Association in this and previous rounds of negotiations that PTR represents a significant investment that we are not prepared to increase without changes to the structure of the program. If the Faculty Association is prepared to structure PTR to include an annual performance review, for example, then we would be prepared to consider increasing the value.
- At a recent All University Pension Committee (AUPC) meeting, there was a consensus to reinstate the York University Pension Group to discuss possible Pension Plan changes, and the AUPC co-chairs (Richard Wellen and Vice-President Carol McAulay) will discuss with the Plan Actuary costing and other issues relating to proposed Plan amendments.
- There is no so-called pension “windfall” to the University. After the financial crisis and the devaluation of plan assets, the government required the University to make special solvency payments which depleted the operating budget of the University. Working together with employee groups to return the plan to a more solvent position has allowed us to reduce the University’s liability for special payments, so that the operating budget can rightfully be directed toward academic priorities. It should also be noted that it was both the University and employees who increased contributions to the pension plan.
YUFA’s September 11, 2018 Bargaining Update
We were disappointed by YUFA’s most recent communication to its members which is in some areas inaccurate and, we believe, unduly negative about the prospects for a settlement to be reached in the near future.
To be clear, the University is not seeking to remove any rights, or asking for any roll backs. Rather, we seek to build on a mature collective agreement that will continue to see faculty and librarians’ critical contributions to the success of the University recognized, in part, through the second highest average salary in the province and in the country.
We look forward to continuing negotiations and working toward a renewal collective agreement. On Friday, September 6, YUFA informed the University that it intends to seek support of its members to hold a strike mandate vote, as part of its General Membership Meeting on September 17. We remain hopeful that a renewed settlement will be reached at the negotiating table. Our next scheduled meeting dates are September 24 and 26.
For ongoing updates, please visit: yorku.ca/yufa-bargaining
September 10, 2018
Update from the York–YUFA bargaining table
On Monday, September 5 and Tuesday, September 6 York University and the York University Faculty Association (YUFA) negotiating teams continued their discussions as they work towards a renewal collective agreement. The University is pleased to have reached consensus with YUFA on two important items.
Monday, September 5
The parties agreed on a revised Program for Recruitment of Aboriginal (Indigenous) Faculty and Librarians. The University has committed to the appointment of at least six (6) Aboriginal (Indigenous) candidates to
tenure stream positions to start on or before July 1, 2021. It was also agreed that no more than three of these appointments will be to the Alternate Stream.
Advertising for appointments under this program will appear in specifically Indigenous media as well as other sites or publications and will indicate that the appointments are open only to Indigenous candidates. A report will be provided to Joint Committee on the Administration of the Agreement (JCOAA) by June 30 of 2019, 2020 and 2021. The report will include information about the approved positions and outcome of the searches.
Tuesday, September 6
The University was pleased to reach agreement with YUFA on an Equal Pay Exercise. The exercise will identify and develop a plan to address systemic pay gaps, if any, amongst faculty and librarians/ archivists who self-identify as female, members of a visible minority (racialized group) or as Indigenous, and any possible intersectional effects.
At the end of Tuesday’s negotiations, the YUFA bargaining team informed the University that it would be requesting the help of an independent third-party Conciliator to assist both parties (in moving) forward. On Thursday, YUFA confirmed that they had formally applied to the government requesting a Conciliator. The University agrees that working with a third party professional to help both sides resolve outstanding issues would be helpful in reaching a settlement. Both parties have agreed to continue meeting while waiting for a Conciliator to be appointed. Our next scheduled meeting dates are September 12, 24 and 26.
August 28, 2018
Update from the York–YUFA bargaining table
York University and the York University Faculty Association (YUFA) continue to hold productive meetings, working toward a renewal collective agreement. Most recently, the negotiating teams met on August 13, August 15 and August 20 for discussions which included important matters of equity, an area that reflects a shared priority.
Below is a high-level summary of the discussions held in August.
Monday, August 13
Following review of YUFA’s revised proposals, the discussion focused on YUFA’s proposed amendments to the York Pension Plan (YPP) and the Long-Term Disability Plan for faculty and librarians.
Given that the YPP covers all eligible employees, the University expressed its view that amendments should be discussed at the All University Pension Committee (AUPC), consistent with past practice. YUFA has requested further discussion at future bargaining meetings and the University has requested additional information on the proposal to facilitate this discussion.
York and YUFA signed off on a proposal relating to voluntary transfers of appointment.
Wednesday, August 15
York tabled a revised proposal package and there was good discussion about issues related to that package including an Indigenous Hiring Program, academic freedom for Post Doctoral Visitors and externally sourced courses as well as some of YUFA’s proposals, including Affirmative Action and nomenclature for the alternate stream.
York and YUFA signed off on amendments to clarify the University’s Workplace Violence, Harassment and Discrimination complaint procedures.
Monday, August 20
In the last meeting of August, York and YUFA made progress in many areas. York proposed new language on parental/ pregnancy leave to enhance existing benefits. The focus of talks to date has been primarily non-economic. We look forward to future discussions that look at financial proposals from an overall compensation perspective.
Discussions to date reflect York and YUFA’s shared determination to continually improve the University as a respected place of higher education that is known for impactful research and innovative teaching and learning. While there are still a number of outstanding issues that require further discussion, we feel that solid positive progress has been made to date.
We remain committed to open and collegial discussions aimed at reaching a renewed collective agreement. An additional five meeting dates are now scheduled for September, beginning on September 5, to allow these negotiations to continue to move forward to a successful resolution.
August 2, 2018
The Employer and YUFA are in negotiations to renew the collective agreement between the parties. The three-year term of the current collective agreement ended April 30, 2018.
The Employer’s negotiating team consists of the following members:
Paul McDonald, Dean, Faculty of Health
Norma Sue Fisher-Stitt, Interim Dean, Faculty of Arts, Media, Performance and Design
Darus Suharto, Senior Finance & Academic Planning Officer, Office of the Provost
Lisa Rumiel, Manager, Research Priorities and Strategic Partnerships, Liberal Arts & Professional Studies
Leanne De Filippis, Interim Executive Director, Faculty Relations
John Brooks, external counsel and chief table spokesperson
The starting point for the current round of negotiations is a mature collective agreement, built by the parties over a period spanning more than 50 years. Through the collective negotiation process, the agreement has been at the forefront of the Canadian university sector in its Affirmative Action Program, consistent with the parties’ commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion, and has positioned the full-time faculty near the top of the Ontario and Canadian university sector in average salary adjusted to remove clinical and medical faculty (second only behind the University of Toronto for professorial stream faculty, for which comparative data is available). The Employer is committed to reaching a fair and reasonable settlement with YUFA in the context of this mature agreement as expeditiously as practicable.
The parties have met 13 times, including an initial meeting on March 27 to discuss matters relating to how negotiations would be conducted. The teams met three times this past week, and are next scheduled to meet again in the week of August 13. The tone and tenor of negotiations have been collegial and professional.
The negotiating teams have engaged in discussions and exchanges over a variety of issues, and have reached a tentative agreement on 9 items and several housekeeping matters. The Employer has tabled several proposals, including:
- a spousal contractually-limited-appointment (CLA) provision to assist with the recruitment of faculty and librarians and archivists;
- a new Intellectual Property (IP) article, modelled on an IP article negotiated in the collective agreement between OHFA and the Employer, to replace the existing article (23) on patents and copyright;
- new terminology to replace the existing title and ranks for the Alternate Stream
The Employer has responded to three equity proposals tabled by the Faculty Association with the following counters:
- a continuation of the Incentive Program for Recruitment of Aboriginal (Indigenous) Faculty and Librarians, providing three-year incentive funding for the recruitment of one Aboriginal (Indigenous) candidate in each of 2018-19 (provided that a settlement for a renewal collective agreement is reached by September 1, 2018), 2019-20 and 2020-21;
- the creation of a new Reconciliation Fund of $1,170,000 to support Indigenous initiatives at the University for a three year period ending June 30, 2021 to complement the Incentive Program; and
- a mandate for the Joint Subcommittee on Equity and Inclusivity to make recommendations on how the University can most effectively increase the representation of black faculty.
The Employer team has also proposed an across-the-board (ATB) salary increase in each year of a three-year renewal agreement.
The Employer looks forward to continued discussions with the Faculty Association during its next scheduled negotiation meetings.