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CAUT Bulletin Archives

March 2000

New Agreement at Calgary

University of Calgary faculty members ratified a new three-year agreement Feb. 14 after a year long round of bargaining.

The compensation package includes a 4 per cent increase, retroactive to July 1, 1999 for all ongoing staff, and a $2250 increase for all full-time ongoing staff effective July 1, 2000. There are similar increases for sessional instructors. The contract also includes a market supplement scheme, a new salary structure, restoration of employer contributions for extended health and dental premiums to 100 per cent, restoration of the partial tuition fee remission for dependent children, and a reopener for salary, salary scales and increment amounts for year three.

But, as the faculty association's chief negotiator Anton Colijn points out, "The Klein government imposed severe budget cuts in 1993, forcing all public sector employees to take a 5 per cent wage cut. We have just barely regained that loss, in numeric terms, but this does not include inflation, and it doesn't take into account the greatly increased workload due to other cuts and increased enrollments."

Highlights of the mainframe agreement include improved grievance and arbitration articles, improved leave provisions, a change in disciplinary procedures, and clarification of who is in the bargaining unit.

"Designation is an interesting issue," said Colijn. "In Alberta, the Universities Act stipulates that all academic staff members shall belong to the faculty association. But the act also stipulates that the designation of academic staff is done by the board of governors, 'after consultation with the faculty association.' We wanted a stronger provision in the collective agreement but the board refused." In the end, negotiations did result in a minor concession in the agreement: "The governors acknowledge that academic freedom ... is an important factor to be considered in relation to the designation of academic staff."

In a ratification vote, 84 per cent voted in favour of the compensation package, and 91 per cent in favour of the mainframe agreement, with a high response rate. "This is not an expression of happiness, but a recognition that in Alberta's current anti-intellectual climate, a better package could not be obtained," said Colijn.