UWOFA office (Photo)

UWOFA's office in Elborn College, Sept. 24, 2018.

UWOFA released a summary of the Tentative Faculty Collective Agreement reached after long-term negotiations with Western University on Friday Nov. 9. Here are some of the highlights of the agreement:

Compensation and Benefits

Full-time employer salaries will increase by 1.5 per cent during each of the first three years of the agreement and by 1.75 per cent in the fourth year. Part-time salaries will increase by 2.2 per cent in each of the four years. This is an increase from Western's previous offer of a 1.25 per cent pay raise in the first year and one per cent in the following three years.

The lump sum added to base full time-salaries will be $750 in year one and $1,000 in years two and three. For professorial ranks only, a differential lump sum of $300, $600 or $300 will be distributed to those in the lowest, middle and highest salary breakpoint ranges, respectively. Previously, the salaries of probationary, tenured and limited-term members increased by $1,050 in each of the first three years of the four-year agreement.

Salary breakpoints and the value of salary points for professorial ranks will increase in year one by five per cent for the lowest breakpoint, 10 per cent for the middle breakpoint and five per cent for the highest breakpoint, followed by further increases in years two, three and four. For lecturers, salary point values will increase in year one by five per cent and in years two, three and four by four per cent. 

Full-time members will be allocated $2,250 in flexible benefit credits in 2019 and $2,500 in each of the three remaining years of the agreement. These credits may go to the Professional Expense Reimbursement, a taxable Wellness Account or the Health Care Spending Account. In the previous four-year agreement,  members were allocated $900 in 2015 and $2,000 in 2016-18 in flexible benefit credits.

The minimum start-up research grant for all new full-time members with a Research of Scholarship component of 40 per cent of more in their contracts has increased from $6,000 to $7,000. A new start-up grant allocates $3,500 for all new full-time members with a Research of Scholarship component of 20-39 per cent in their contracts.

Job security for contract faculty

In a Nov. 6 bargaining bulletin, UWOFA stated that 30 per cent of Western's contract faculty do not have meaningful job security, which placed a burden on curriculum development, increased the service and supervisory load for probationary and tenured faculty and limited academic freedom.

Under the new agreement, a limited-term member becomes eligible for consideration for Limited-Term No End Date status after twelve years of continuous appointment, compared to fourteen years in previous agreement.

Further, a new appointment category called Continuing Teaching Scholar with a minimum of 12 positions will be created. Only current limited-term and part-term members will be considered for the position. The job security for these positions will be analogous to teaching stream positions at other universities and can only be terminated for disciplinary cause or as a result of curricular change in academic plan.

Twelve limited-term positions will be created for the conversion of Limited-Duties Appointments for eligible part-time members. To be eligible, part-time members must have taught an average of at least 3.0 courses under Limited-Duties Appointments in the four years prior to Sept. 30 of each year of the agreement.

Other changes

The tentative agreement also specifies that an actual, apparent or potential conflict of interest exists when a member is involved in a sexual, intimate or other close personal relationship with a student enrolled in a course or a program offered by a faculty in which the member has academic responsibilities, and requires members to declare the existence of such a conflict. Such specification did not exist in the previous agreement.

Further, the maximum paid parental leave for members who also receive pregnancy leave will increase from 24 to 26 weeks. The agreement includes other changes in areas such as teaching evaluation, academic responsibilities, employment equity and intellectual property.

UWOFA members will attend a Bargaining Unit meeting on Nov. 20 to review details of the agreement in preparation for ratification voting on Nov. 21 and 22.

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