Faculty at Thompson Rivers University have voted to ratify a new collective agreement recommended by mediator Mark Brown, after attempts to reach a negotiated settlement with TRU administration failed during mediation. The mediator’s recommendations were approved by 91 per cent of the 459 members who voted.
Tom Friedman, TRUFA president, said that he expected faculty to ratify the recommendations given the current restrictive bargaining climate imposed by the provincial government, and because of the unwillingness of TRU administration bargainers to acknowledge or address key issues facing instructors and instructional support faculty.
“Normally — but certainly not in this case — a large Yes vote on ratification means that faculty are pleased with changes to the collective agreement,” said Friedman.
“From what our members have told me, faculty very reluctantly approved the recommendations because they saw no other choice.
“Because of the limitations imposed by the provincial government through the Public Sector Employers’ Council (PSEC), the changes that TRUFA felt would improve faculty involvement in decision-making and enhance student learning were not possible to achieve.”
In his recommendations, mediator Mark Brown recommended that five per cent of the 5.5 per cent total compensation increase over five years awarded to all B.C. public sector employees should be equally distributed to all faculty, and that the remainder should be allocated to contract faculty who are currently paid below the average of Canadian comparator universities.
In addition, Mr. Brown urged the parties to engage in collegial discussions of issues that were left unresolved by bargaining before this contract expires.
Like most public sector contracts, this one will expire on March 31, 2019.
The TRU Faculty Association represents approximately 650 instructors, counsellors, librarians, learning designers and career education coordinators at the Kamloops and Williams Lake campuses.