New year, new agreement

New collective agreements for faculty and librarians took effect on Dec. 8. These collective agreements are between Mount Allison Faculty Association (MAFA) and the Employer, Mount Allison University.

The collective bargaining process began in June 2016. These negotiations included both the full-time faculty collective agreement and the part-time faculty collective agreement.

Andrew Irwin, president of MAFA, and Robert Hiscock, Mt. A’s director of marketing and communications, both said that changes in sabbatical replacements are an important difference from the previous collective agreement.

According to Irwin, “five years ago there used to be a lot of replacements of people who went on leave, but over the last few years, that proportion shrank.”

A professor has the right to take a sabbatical roughly every seven years. Irwin said that at a small university with small departments like Mt. A, “when you lose one person, that makes a very large hole.”

According to Hiscock, in the new agreement there is a sabbatical replacement plan which involves “replacing either the individual and/or their teaching capacity so that courses can continue to be taught and programs can continue to be offered.”

The collective agreement states that replacement will be provided for “at least 70 per cent of the courses that would comprise the normal teaching duties of those who will be on leave.”

Faculty evaluations are a second area of change from the 2013-16 collective agreements. According to Hiscock, student evaluations of their professors will now be included in both tenure and promotions procedures.

Irwin also said that under the new part-time faculty collective agreement, part-time faculty are given more professional development resources, such as increased access to books and journals and funds for teaching and research conferences.

“We want to recognize the work that the part-time people do. They make an important contribution to the life of the university, to our courses, and to our research environment, so we try to support that,” he said.

Hiscock said that the new collective agreements include an increase to the base stipend for part-time faculty members, from 9 per cent to 9.25 per cent of the salary floor [the minimum annual salary] beginning in the second year of the collective agreement.

According to Irwin, the collective agreement “strengthened the language around collegial governance.” He said this strengthens faculty’s ability to “play active roles in decision-making with the university.”

The collective agreements will expire June 30, 2019.

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