Almost a year and a half after the end of the Nova Scotia government's legislated freeze on collective bargaining, the faculty and librarians at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design have ratified a new collective agreement. The term of the contract is from Nov. 1, 1997 to June 30, 2001, with a salary re-opener on July 1, 2000.
The bargaining team successfully negotiated the return of the three per cent salary rollback, as well as the return of the "missing grid point" which was withheld in July 1994, as part of the provincial wage freeze legislation.
Although the college's faculty members are still among the lowest paid faculty in Canada, they made significant improvements to their salary scale. Depending on rank and salary grid position, members will receive between 3.8% and 4.3%, and the restoration of the 3% rollback, retroactive to Nov. 1, 1997 (the end of the freeze on collective bargaining); a scale increase of approximately 3.5% retroactive to July 1, 1998; and on July 1, 1999, a scale increase of between 2.1% and 3.3%. One additional step will be added each year to the Assistant, Associate and Full Professors' grids. These increases are "front loaded" which will mean substantial back pay for FUNSCAD members. In total, these improvements will result in percentage increases of approximately 22% over the period July 1, 1997 to July 1, 1999.
Other changes pertain to such things as course relief for the union president and chief negotiator; a commitment to discussions on flexible retirement; improvements and clarifications to the workload article; guidelines for class size; clear, enforceable limits on contact hours; new articles on technology, openness and transparency; provisions for periodic reviews of senior academic administrators; consultation with the Faculty Forum (senate equivalent) before establishing, modifying or discontinuing programs; and new provisions to allow members to receive a portion of their salary as a research grant.
Shortly before the freeze on collective bargaining came into effect, FUNSCAD had reached a voluntary recognition agreement with the employer to include "adjunct" faculty in the bargaining unit. Adjuncts, now called regular part-time faculty, are those part-time faculty members who had been granted priority consideration for teaching assignments in recognition of their long service to the college. The freeze on collective bargaining halted negotiating the terms and conditions of employment for these new members.
FUNSCAD views its most significant accomplishment in this round of negotiations to be the extent to which these faculty members are integrated into the agreement. There are now clear, fair procedures for determining how part-time faculty members become eligible for regular part-time status, how regular part-time faculty appointments are granted, and how teaching assignments are distributed.
Regular part-time faculty will have salary parity with other unionized part-time faculty in Nova Scotia; a research fund has been established so they can apply for funding to attend conferences or to support other research activities; and their family members are now eligible for tuition reductions.