Back to top

CAUT Bulletin Archives

November 1998

UVic Appears Before Labour Relations Board

On Oct. 13-15 the University of Victoria Faculty Association appeared before the B.C. Labour Relations Board to present, through its lawyer, arguments on three issues: Is the faculty association a "trade union" (as defined by the B.C. Labour Relations Code)? Does a "collective agreement" exist? Has the faculty association been voluntarily recognized by the university as the exclusive bargaining agent for faculty, librarians and sessionals at UVic? Faculty association lawyer John Rogers argued that, viewed objectively under the statute, the faculty association met all the requirements of a trade union. Also, that the agreements between the association and the university met the objective test for a collective agreement. The university, which could well have simply stood back and taken no position on these issues, decided instead to oppose the faculty association's arguments before the Board. At the hearing, the university's lawyer advanced the view that the faculty association was not a trade union because: i) it had never regarded itself as one; ii) the university had never regarded it as one, and; iii) it does not meet the strict criterion of independence from employer domination that defines a trade union. In its initial statement of evidence, the university took the disturbing position that the major document that governs the careers of academics at the university, the Tenure Document, was merely a statement of policy issued by the board of governors and could be unilaterally abridged or changed by the board whenever it so desired. By implication they declared, among other things, that there is no tenure at the university. The Labour Relations Board reserved judgment.

UVic feature supplied by Rod Symington, Chief Negotiator, UVicFA Framework Agreement Team and UVicFA Personnel Advisor.