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CAUT Bulletin Archives

December 2014

Arbitrator rules on Mount Allison salaries

An arbitrator has ruled on all but one of the outstanding issues left over from a three-week strike of academic staff at Mount Allison University in the winter of 2014.

Arbitrator Kevin Burkett deliv­er­ed his decision last month, awarding increases to the full-time salary scale for both faculty and librarians of 1.75%, 2%, and 2.25% effective July 1, 2013, 2014 and 2015, respectively.

The stipend for part-time faculty will increase from 8.75% to 9% of the assistant professor floor per course, effective Jan. 1, 2015.

The 200 unionized academic staff returned to work Feb. 17 after the parties agreed to bring in an arbitrator under the Industrial Relations Act of New Brunswick to resolve the deadlock over issues in dispute.

Negotiations overseen earlier in February by a provincial mediator and then by an independent mediator had failed to produce agreement on outstanding issues, including the employer’s attempt at far-reaching changes to intellectual property, tenure and promotion, and performance evaluation, which would have significantly eroded member rights, according to Mount Allison Faculty Association president Loralea Michaelis.

“The challenges of this round of bargaining have strengthened the resolve of our members to defend the conditions of work that are essential to the academic mission of the university. We are looking ahead to the next steps in the arbitration process,” she said.

Michaelis added that many of the non-monetary proposals that stymied talks last winter were withdrawn by both parties in August in the lead up to arbitration.

The one remaining unresolved issue is the employer’s proposal to utilize anonymous student questionnaires for faculty evaluation, promotion and tenure.

Currently, senate policy requires student evaluations in every course, but under the collective agreement, their submission for scru­tiny beyond the classroom remains voluntary.

Burkett has referred the “issue of the extent to which, if any, student evaluations of teaching should be utilized,” to a joint faculty association-employer committee. The committee is to report by June 2015. Burkett will adjudicate the issue based on the original arbitration briefs “should the parties fail to agree.”