Tomorrow is the start of a 7 day ratification vote on our first collective agreement negotiated as a union, and a parallel ratification vote on a Gender Pay Equity Memorandum of Agreement (MOA).
AASUA Executive, representing the spectrum of our membership, voted unanimously to endorse this new collective agreement and the Gender Pay Equity MOA. I strongly encourage members to join us in ratifying both of these agreements.
The new collective agreement includes numerous improvements to the current language.
Some of the changes:
- Sustainable funding for the Benefit Plan over the next two years so that the annual deficits are eliminated. (The employer sought co-pay and co-premiums for benefits).
- The Merit increment pools will be fully distributed (save for minor variations); and the value of increments and appealability are maintained (the employer sought “zero” merit as acceptable and no appeals).
- The Association will receive comprehensive data disclosure regarding our members, that will allow us to do our own data analyses going forward.
- The creation, for the first time, of rank-dependent salary scales and merit increments for ATS, consistent with FSO and Faculty salary scales. (ATS has been negotiating for this improvement since it became a constituency group in 2006).
- Improved Academic Freedom language.
- Improved Discipline language that restricts the magnitude of discipline for minor misconduct (Level 1) and major misconduct (Level 2).
- Language directed towards more job security for ATS, TAPS, and TRAS.
- New workload language enabling healthy work/life balance, and appropriate workspace and equipment.
These are only some of the improvements to the collective agreement. Every member of the Association will benefit from one or more improvements in the collective agreement. For a comprehensive list of the improvements in the new collective agreement, I encourage you to look at the Summary of the Memoranda of Agreement and the new collective agreement here. In addition, you can watch the video of the General Meeting held on April 5, 2019 here.
The Gender Pay Equity MOA:
- Provides a rank-dependent remedy for gender-based faculty salary inequity. The remedy is rank dependent because the salary difference for female full professors was unambiguously statistically significant. Female full professors (including those in Phased Retirement) will receive a 5.8% increase to their annual base pay, a one-time (taxable) lump sum payment for loss of past salary, and payment for general damages (non-taxable) of $1,500. Although the same analysis for gender pay inequity appears statistically insignificant for female Assistant and Associate Professors, these ranks will receive general damages (non-taxable) of $1,500.00. The “Professor Gender Equity Synopsis” is here.
- Does not take away a member’s individual rights to pursue their own Human Rights claim. AASUA as bargaining agent has agreed that it will not pursue any grievance, nor file any claim at the Alberta Human Rights Commission for the period only up to the Effective Date in the MOA. Nothing in the MOA forecloses AASUA’s ability to seek remedy for future pay inequity for academic staff.
- Establishes a data-driven process to review possible gender pay inequities within all other constituent groups.
It has been suggested that the AASUA negotiations team didn’t achieve everything in the bargaining mandate. However, of the 30 highest priority objectives in the bargaining mandate, we were able to make gains in 25 of them. Improvements in collective bargaining typically occur by steps in successive negotiated agreements over time. In addition to improvements already specified in the new collective agreement, its ratification will strengthen our position to negotiate additional gains for our membership in subsequent collective agreements.
The employer’s interests and those of the Association often do not overlap, requiring difficult negotiations to achieve our bargaining goals. Our negotiations team bargained assiduously for over a year to provide the best agreement that could be negotiated.
As President, I have been in communication with Presidents of other Faculty Associations in Alberta. In their negotiations with their employers, either completed or in process, none reflect the significant gains achieved by our negotiations team.
I encourage every member of the association to cast their votes on the new collective agreement and on the Gender Pay Equity MOA.