On May 9, after two days of intense bargaining, Mount Saint Vincent University Faculty Association reached a tentative agreement with the university.
The three-year contract provides scale increases of an estimated 7.44 per cent -- 2.5 per cent retroactive to July 1, 2000, 2 per cent July 1, 2001, and 2.14 per cent July 1, 2002.
The agreement also provides for significant structural changes on July 1, 2001 with the elimination of three steps at the lecturer and assistant ranks, four steps at the associate level, and three steps at the full professor level. In addition, the restructuring calls for increases to the floors for each rank -- lecturer $3,874, assistant $3,670, associate $4,666, full $3,200 (plus an additional $500 increase in each year of the contract), and an increase in the increments for all ranks.
"While the salary settlement falls within the range established by other agreements in the province, our chief cause for satisfaction was with the structural changes we succeeded in negotiating," said faculty association president Chris Ferns.
"Our salary structure is now significantly closer to the model proposed last year at CAUT's collective bargaining conference and positions us well in securing the employer's long-stated goal of achieving regional parity by rank for its faculty -- a goal which, curiously enough, five rounds of bargaining have failed to accomplish."
The agreement also includes increases to travel allowance and overload stipends, a doubling of the employer's contribution to benefits in the third year of the contract, and changes to clarify language on distance learning, intellectual property, professional development reimbursement, and parental leave provisions.
"Significant changes were also made to the appeals procedure for reappointment, tenure, and promotion," Ferns added, "reflecting the joint faculty association/management view that the existing system was proving increasingly unsatisfactory." As well, the new collective agreement introduces a provision for peer review of candidates wishing to apply for promotion to full professors on the primary grounds of teaching excellence.
The association's 140 members will vote on the new collective agreement this month.