After reaching a tentative agreement with UFV administration, the faculty-staff association will now be brought the details of a new collective agreement, to be reviewed and voted on before it can be ratified. The tentative agreement, reached in the second month of mediation meetings at the BC Labour Relations Board, if approved, would be the first successfully negotiated since the previous one expired in March of 2014.
The story just over a year ago was similar, however: the two sides walked away from the bargaining table with a tentative agreement. But faculty and staff voted against the contract, citing multiple areas where the new deal would have looked to them like a step back. Sean Parkinson, the president of the FSA, noted at the beginning of this new round of negotiations that communication with the people who will be affected by the agreement needed to be improved this time around — for too many, he said, the deal last year came as a “surprise.”
Announcing the tentative agreement in an address to the UFV community, Leslie Courchesne, the director of university relations, lined up a relatively quick timeline for approval.
“The UFV executive supports this revised agreement and is recommending approval to the UFV Board of Governors,” she wrote. “We are seeking Board ratification as soon as possible in July, in order to expedite the faculty and staff salary increases (and back pay, including the economic stability dividend) that come with UFV Board and FSA approvals.”
The exact details of the agreement have not yet been made publicly available, but have been sent to faculty and staff at UFV. With an emphasis on facilitating a thorough consideration of the agreement, the FSA’s schedule extends beyond the summer: a guide through the contract next month, information sessions in the first two weeks of the fall semester, and then a general meeting in the third week of September, with a vote to follow.
“We want to give members plenty of time to make sure they understand the agreement,” Parkinson writes.
Until then, traditionally the time of year when campus is most fully attended, the faculty and staff of UFV will have the terms of the agreement, and the choice, before them.