As part of our ongoing efforts to address issues that have arisen for our members as a result of the effects of COVID-19, I wish to inform you that AASUA's Executive and the Board of Governors have now reached an agreement with the employer on the evaluation for merit increments for Academic Faculty, Faculty Service Officers (FSO), Librarians, and Academic Teaching Staff (ATS). The full Letter of Understanding "LOU" is attached for your information.
This was one of the more complicated and difficult of the COVID-19-related negotiations we have had with the employer thus far. Both parties were interested in avoiding the use of evaluation committees because of the pandemic, and instead negotiated the broad idea of awarding increments based on a non-adjudicated process. The AASUA negotiated hard to reach an agreement that is of net benefit to the greatest possible number of our members.
This announcement will be followed up by a message from your constituency's Director on Executive explaining the details of this LOU and its implications for you. The LOU also carries indirect implications for the three constituencies not explicitly mentioned--APO, TRAS, and TLAP--so you will also be hearing from your Director about these implications with more specific details in the next day or so.
In brief, what this LOU accomplishes, is that most of our Faculty, Librarian, FSO, and ATS members will receive a non-adjudicated increment for July 1, 2021 equal to the average of the increment they received in each of the previous three years (July 1, 2018, July 1, 2019, July 1, 2020) rounded up or down to the next closest quarter increment in the sequence 0.5, 0.75, 1.0 ,,, 3.0. Some members will see their increment calculated in different ways due to a variety of circumstances, and a small number of members will be required to go through a full standard evaluation process.
Those members who feel they have had a strong year and outperformed their average of the past three years will be able to challenge the increment award next year and be considered for any additional increment they feel is due to them. Members' appeal rights, as set out under the collective agreement, were retained. We recognize that not everyone will be satisfied with all the terms in the LOU, but Executive is confident that this agreement benefits a vast majority of our members, and secures significant wins that ultimately benefit all members going forward.
I want to highlight what some of those significant wins are, and in the process, congratulate and thank our Executive Director Brygeda Renke, Lead Negotiator Gordon Swaters, and Past President Kevin Kane who negotiated tirelessly to secure these wins:
- although the employer initially resisted including ATS members in the agreement, AASUA succeeded in making the case that there was no defensible reason to treat ATS any differently than other members with Evaluation Committee processes;
- AASUA succeeded in making the case that not every situation where zero increments were received by a member in the last three years ought to be evaluated by an evaluations committee; instead, the parties negotiated a table, attached in the LOU, which sets out different scenarios on how the three year average is applied, and when an evaluations committee needs to evaluate in these cases;
- while the employer acknowledged that many of our members had to deal with added responsibilities like child care, elder care, and home-schooling as a result of this pandemic, we had to negotiate hard to ensure that those circumstances will be taken into consideration during evaluation processes; and
- while we were unable, once again, to persuade the employer to drop USRIs altogether for the COVID-19 period, we did manage to secure one more process going forward where we will be able to continue challenging their use and existence. We will also continue to press the issue in bargaining and any other opportunity we get, and we are confident that it is only a matter of time until they fall.
We continue to work on your behalf with the employer, and will keep you updated on any further developments. As always, should you have any questions or concerns about any of the above, please do not hesitate to contact me, your Constituency Director, or your Council Representatives.