Professors accept new contract offer; deal ends one-week strike.
A tentative agreement reached March 21 ended a seven-day strike called by the Association of Professors of Bishop's University.
"It was a long and difficult round of negotiation," said Nelly Khouzam, president of APBU. "We were fighting to protect faculty numbers and for employer pension contributions and a fair compensation structure," sticking points that scuttled a March 11 tentative agreement reached after 10 months of bargaining.
"With members of the Bishop's community standing together we achieved a good settlement that is in the best interests of a better Bishop's," Khouzam said.
APBU members walked out March 15 after faculty negotiators and university administrators locked horns during contract negotiations. Eighty-six per cent of the membership voted to strike.
Khouzam expressed relief the strike had ended after seven days and thanked Bishop's students for their "remarkable" support.
The three-year agreement - approved by the membership on April 8 - provides salary increases for full-time and contract academic staff of 3.5%, 3.5% and 3.75% and increased employee contribution rates to the pension plan of 0.5% in 2005 and 0.5% in 2006. Professional development reimbursement will increase in June 2005 from $1,800 to $2,000. Reimbursement for presenting a conference paper rises from $200 to $400.
Librarians' salaries will increase in 2005 from 85% of professors' salaries to 87.5%. Librarians also have more vacation days, release time for research during the regular term and guaranteed replacement of retiring or departing librarians.
Other highlights of the agreement include: a workload reduction from 12 to 11 courses over a two-year period; a global floor of 109 tenured positions by 2006 and a guaranteed minimum number of positions per department by the end of the agreement; full top-up of maternity and parental leaves for full-time staff and proportional top-up for contract staff.
The pension plan has been revised to require negotiation with APBU for any future contribution holidays.
There is also language on protecting members' rights to privacy and an article governing the academic development of information technology.