Big claw backs in rights & compensation proposed

University proposals target benefits, faculty professional rights, paid educational leave, regularization, and democratic workplace

On Friday, February 6, the University Administration issued a negotiation package with the largest claw back of faculty rights and compensation in the history of contract negotiations at Capilano University. Ironic, since the University knew how important many of these issues were, having insisted on receiving contract language before presenting their proposals!

We encourage everyone to read the text of the University package which will be posted on the Faculty Association web site later in the week. Below is a summary of the most egregious parts of the University's plan to lessen our rights, erode our status as professionals, and make us pay for the operation of the university and the cost of transforming it to implement the strategic and academic plans.

Faculty terms and conditions

Evaluation every two years for regular employees (instead of every five years).

Remove the mandatory minimum five-month notice for termination based on unsatisfactory service.

Non-regular employees must be evaluated every year -- regardless of length of service and prior work load -- an increase as well in faculty and coordinator workload.

Colleague who writes colleague report to be selected by the Dean.

Deans to establish the evaluation committees (not coordinator or division chair) and choose the members (no more election).

Regularization not eligible if instructor on alerting and guidance.

No regularization if there is no guarantee of ongoing work even after five years.

Non-regular employees with a one-section duty load in a term not required to do professional development; pay and seniority lowered up to 20% as a consequence.

Auxiliary employees lose their modest PD possibility and their service record carry-over when a regular position is assumed.

Faculty role in decision making

Union role in organizing election of faculty committee members eliminated; replaced with election process fully under a Dean.Attempt to "de-unionize" the participatory activities -- means no effective dispute resolution or redress if committee role is absent or improperly conducted.

Limit employee option to respect a picket line without reduction of benefits (paid for by union).

Faculty benefits, salaries 

Paid Education Leave -- remove seniority as a significant factor; eliminate the PEL credit system;narrow the acceptable scope; reduce role of the faculty committee. 

Extended health deductible increased from $25 deductible to $100.

Drug benefit reduced by adopting Pharmacare Formulary for prescription drug: fewer drugs covered; less reimbursement; additional cost to get approval for non-generic; cap on dispensary fees; low cost rules; and special authority requirements.

A reduced employee is not entitled to severance during first two years of regularization.

Employee reduced to "0" must pay 100% of the benefit premium for period between having no work and taking severance.

Reimbursement levels for extended health benefits cut from 95% to 80%.

More restrictive access to Parental Leave.

No salary proposal was tabled.

University urged to meet faculty Mandate

Your CFA Negotiating Committee spent February 3rd and 6th introducing the University negotiators to the Mandate of proposals authorized unanimously by the November CFA General Meeting. Substantial effort was made to explain to University representatives the overwhelming support for the themes of the Mandate: Job Security and Regularization, Democratic Work Place, and Fair Compensation and Equity. Originally, the CFA offered "concepts" of contract changes and asked the University to join in the problem solving. This was not accepted. A large package of detailed contract language followed the summary of the Mandate. Now begins the heavy lifting: negotiating the themes and their complex but worthwhile and needed contract changes. 

The details of the CFA Proposals (summary and contract language) as well as those of the Administration will be accessible on the web site this week.

The elephant in the room and our future -- a briefing

Your CFA Negotiating Committee made strong attempts to start the negotiations before the end of 2014. The representatives of the University (HR Director Parveen Mann) and the CFA (Chief Negotiator Ed Lavalle) arranged a December 5th meeting. The CFA offered to roll over the prior Protocol (basic rules), eager to bring the CFA Mandate to the attention of the University. Additionally, we wanted adequate representation from the Vice Presidents and Deans, to encourage a better understanding of the faculty needs and get closer to the corridors of decision making. 

The meeting was disappointing but informative. The University indicated it could not commence negotiations until it received approval from the Post-Secondary Employers Association (PSEA), one of six sectoral committees established by the Public Sector Employers Council (PSEC), the arm of the Ministry of Finance with statutory authority to supervise public sector contracts. We were told the approval would likely be December 15th, but Santa missed the moment and approval did not come until the end of January. 

PSEC is known for its salary controls -- regulating compensation in all branches of the public service. The current "Mandate" of PSEC is twofold: make all contract renewals the same with regard to compensation increases and make the public sector settle for five-year contracts. It is this control of the negotiations environment that resulted in the CFA Negotiating Committee recommendation:

  1. Accept the PSEC salary and benefit conditions;
  2. Advance the job security, regularization, democratic workplace and equity proposals NOW since a renewed collective agreement would freeze bargaining for five years.

The current environment makes our collective efforts more necessary than ever -- with layoffs, restructuring, cancellation of programs and disciplines and failing faculty influence -- it's now or almost never. Five years before we have a remote possibility of reversing the damage. And that damage will not only be to faculty losing jobs, rights, and professional opportunities -- but also to erosion of the services and education available to the community we serve, especially the students who are always foremost in our consideration. 

Can we do it? Yes, with unity and perseverance. Keep informed, and be ready for the call!

Your committee:

Members of the Negotiating Committee are elected by the membership at a general meeting. Our ethical and legal duty is to represent the members of the bargaining unit. The CFA membership determines the Mandate of the Negotiation Committee through the general meeting, with the Stewards, and with the CFA Executive.  The Committee reports regularly to the CFA at its general meetings and to the Executive. The bargaining agenda follows the Mandate and an agreement remains tentative until ratified by the bargaining unit membership at a regular or special meeting. 

The Negotiating Committee at your Division, Department or other Faculty meetings: invite a spokesperson to provide information, give explanations and have a dialogue. Contact Ed Lavalle, Chief Negotiator,

Members of the committee:

Ed Lavalle, Chief Negotiator; Pat Hodgson, Deputy Chief Negotiator; Brent Calvert, CFA President, ex-officio member; Tim Acton; John Wilson; Joanne Quick; Kirsten McIlvee; Laurel Whitney; and FPSE Staff Representative Zoe Towle.