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MSVUFA Bargaining 2018

Negotiations commenced between the Mount Board of Governors and the Mount Saint Vincent University Faculty Association (MSVUFA) on June 18, 2018. The Association represents permanent full-time faculty, term faculty, librarians, and lab instructors. Please see below updates on negotiations.


Bargaining update #8: Tentative agreement – December 13, 2018

I am writing to update you on negotiations with the Mount Saint Vincent University Faculty Association (MSUVFA). The MSVUFA represents 144 full-time faculty, professional librarians and lab instructors. 

I am very pleased to report that a tentative agreement has been reached between the University’s Board of Governors and the MSVUFA.The negotiating teams worked together this week to reach a settlement that would serve the interests of both parties. As a next step, the tentative agreement must be ratified, or accepted by the majority of MSVUFA and Board of Governors members. The University bargaining team will be recommending the agreement to the Board of Governors and the MSVUFA bargaining team will be recommending the agreement to their members and bringing it forward for a vote in the near future. We anticipate this to occur early in the New Year.

With this tentative agreement reached, the 2019 winter term will proceed as normal. A meeting with the conciliator is no longer required on January 2. We look forward to welcoming everyone back to campus in January.

Many thanks to the members of both bargaining teams for your work throughout this process. These efforts are challenging, and I know that the process created some uncertainty. We’re pleased to have come to an agreement and look forward to continuing our work together.

I will update you once we have the results of the MSVUFA membership vote. In the meantime, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me or email msvu.ca.

Brian Jessop P.Eng, CPM 
VP Administration
Mount Saint Vincent University 


Bargaining Update #7 – MSVUFA

A message from Brian Jessop, Vice-President Administration

I am writing to share some additional background regarding bargaining with the Mount Saint Vincent University Faculty Association (MSVUFA). I’ve heard from several members of the Mount community that more information would be helpful and it is my aim to ensure accurate and timely communication to the greatest extent possible. 

On that note, I encourage you to visit msvu.ca/labourrelations for the latest updates and answers to frequently asked questions. As well, you can send questions not answered there to msvu.ca and we will respond as soon as possible.

Our focus is our students and ensuring the best possible experience for them. As well, the Mount is proud of its dedicated and capable faculty members and we seek to support these individuals because of the critical work they do. 

THE UNIVERSITY'S OFFER

On November 9, 2018, the MSVUFA and Board of Governors (BOG) bargaining teams concluded two days of conciliation with the BOG team tabling an offer that addressed many of the items tabled by the MSVUFA while maintaining our focus on students and the sustainability of the University. Unfortunately, that offer was rejected by the MSVUFA.

Both bargaining teams were invited back to the table by the conciliator on November 22 as he believed that there was more work to be done. On that day, the MSVUFA tabled a new offer, but given that there was still too significant a gap between the two offers, conciliation was concluded and a final meeting after the cool down period was scheduled for January 2nd. 

The University’s offer included:

• salary scale increases of:

   - 1.75% in each of the next three years for full-time faculty and librarians (on top of regular salary increments)

   - 2% in each of the next three years for lab instructors (on top of regular salary increments)            

   - Among universities in Nova Scotia, the average post-secondary faculty salary settlement for 2018/2019 to 2020/2021 is 1.5%. 

increases to the floor salary for Associate and Assistant Professors and Librarian II and III positions of $250 effective July 1, 2019

increases to the floor salary for Lab Instructor I and II positions of $100 effective July 1, 2018 and $250 effective July 1, 2019

an increase in the course overload stipend as at July 1, 2019 to $10,000 (from $9,000) – awarded per course to faculty who teach more than their required five courses a year 

enhanced early retirement incentives including an option for lab instructors (tentative agreement was reached on this)

• improvements to leave coverage (with tentative agreements reached) including:

   - Increase in family emergency leave from 5 to 10 paid days per year

   - New articles for support related to victims of domestic violence (first in the region) and compassionate care and family caregiver leave including benefit contribution coverage of up to $500 during any unpaid leave.

• In response to the calls for action identified by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the MSVUFA and BOG agreed to establish a committee to facilitate the recruitment and retention of Indigenous faculty, librarians and lab instructors.

CURRENT SALARY AND BENEFIT INFORMATION

• As recently reported by Statistics Canada (data from Mount payroll), on average, full professors at the Mount are paid a salary of $136,525, the third highest in the province. The average associate professor salary at the Mount is $113,300 and assistant professor is $86,125. These numbers are not inclusive of overload stipends, benefits, nor other compensation received for work that is sometimes included in salary at other institutions.

MSVUFA members have the fewest (or second fewest) steps on their salary scales compared to their counterparts at other universities in the region, meaning they reach the top of the scale sooner. 

• The Mount has the highest floor salary at all faculty levels except for Assistant Professor where we rank in the middle among similarly-sized universities in the Maritime region.

• The Mount’s leave benefits are comparable to (or better than) those of other area universities. For example, parental leave for MSVUFA members currently includes top-up to 95% of salary for up to twenty-six weeks with no waiting period and no requirement to be eligible for Employment Insurance benefits. 

ADDITIONAL CONTEXT 

• As is the case across the post-secondary sector, the Mount’s fiscal reality is challenging, with enrolments trending downward due to shifting demographics in our region (down 15.6% since our peak enrolment in 2006 and down almost 9% over the past 3 years) and a nominal 1% increase in our annual grant from government (we have yet to make up the ground lost when our grant was cut by $1.9 million between 2010/11 and 2013/14).

• The average pay differential between female and male faculty at the Mount is the lowest in Nova Scotia at 2.5% (per Statistics Canada data). 

• At the Mount, 60% of faculty are female, compared to an average of 45% at comparable schools (see Statistics Canada data).

• The Mount has identified faculty staffing as a priority and has demonstrated this through its hiring. In the past six years, we have had 30% renewal of our faculty. For every retirement or resignation in that time period, we have replaced full-time faculty, librarians and lab instructors on a 1:1 basis, despite a declining enrolment trend and reduced funding. The University also has one of the lowest average class sizes.

• The Mount has balanced its budget for 25 years, with just a small average positive variance in the last five years of $192,000 on a $50 million budget (or 0.4%).

• The University debt is $18M along with a deferred maintenance of facilities of $30M.

• Our faculty diversity hiring plan has meant dedicated hiring of faculty members from underrepresented groups, including Indigenous people, in each of the past four years. 

The University’s efforts to achieve a new collective agreement with the MSVUFA are reflective of our commitment to ensuring an accessible education and a sustainable institution. For the students of today and tomorrow, it is critically important that the financial health of the Mount be very closely monitored and carefully maintained. Further, our organization is rooted in a tradition of social justice – and we are unique in the strength of that mandate to this day. We need to ensure the sustainability of our University in order to continue to further that mandate for many years to come. 

On January 2, the parties will meet again, together with the conciliator. We remain committed to the collective bargaining process to reach an agreement.

We appreciate that this is a challenging and uncertain time for our students and other members of the Mount community. As is prudent in these circumstances, the University is taking the important step of preparing for the possibility that the MSVUFA will choose to strike (they will be in a legal strike position as early as January 3, 2019 if no agreement is reached). If a strike does occur, our goal will be to ensure our students have sufficient class time to meet learning outcomes and maintain the quality learning experience they expect from the Mount. Students should plan to return to the Mount as normal in the New Year.

We will continue to ensure you receive timely updates.

Regards,

Brian

Brian Jessop, P. Eng, CPM.
VP Administration


Media statement: November 28, 2018

From Brian Jessop, Vice President, Administration

Both the MSVUFA and Board of Governors bargaining teams were invited back to the table by the conciliator on November 22 as he believed that there was more work to be done. 

We are disappointed that a deal was not reached that day, but we remain committed to the collective bargaining process and believe in fair outcomes that meet the needs of both parties. 

During conciliation, the University presented an offer that addressed many of the items tabled by the MSVUFA – including increases to compensation, retirement benefits, leaves and workload stipends – while maintaining our focus on students and the sustainability of the University in the face of a challenging fiscal reality. 

Per the conciliation process, we look forward to a return to the table on January 2nd to meet again with the MSVUFA and conciliator, and we remain committed to reaching an agreement with the MSVUFA.

The University will re-open (following the holiday break) on January 2, 2019 and students should plan to resume their studies on January 7 or attend co-op placements/practica as per normal. As is prudent in these circumstances, we are planning for the possibility that our MSVUFA members could choose to strike and we will do all we can to minimize the impact on students. 

For more information, students are encouraged to review the FAQ and updates sent to them via email as well as posted below.

Update #6: November 23, 2018

I am writing to update my message of late yesterday and advise that the date has been set for the meeting that will mark the end of the cooling off period of conciliation and return to the table for the University and the MSVU Faculty Association. 

Together with the conciliator, the parties will meet on Wednesday, January 2, 2019. The earliest the MSVUFA could choose to strike is after that meeting. 

All classes, labs and exams this term will proceed as normal.

As you’ll recall from my previous update (#5), conciliation talks were held November 7 and 9 and then, at the request of the conciliator, the parties met again yesterday, November 22. Unfortunately, an agreement was not reached yesterday.

As previously noted, we remain committed to reaching an agreement with the MSVUFA and look forward to a return to the table.

Please visit msvu.ca/labourrelations for more information. You can also send questions to msvu.ca and we will respond as soon as possible.

Regards,

Brian

Brian Jessop P.Eng, CPM  
VP Administration 
Mount Saint Vincent University

Update #5: November 22, 2018


I am writing to provide you with an update on negotiations with the Mount Saint Vincent University Faculty Association (MSUVFA). The MSVUFA represents 144 full-time faculty, professional librarians and lab instructors.

Conciliation talks were held November 7 and 9 and then, at the request of the conciliator, the parties met again on November 22. Unfortunately, an agreement was not reached. 

The next step is for the conciliator to prepare a report for the Minister of Labour and Advanced Education. Once that report has been filed, a minimum two-week cooling-off period must elapse before any further action can be taken. At the end of the cooling-off period, the conciliator will meet again with both parties – that meeting is expected to take place no sooner than December 11. This means that the earliest the MSVUFA could choose to strike is after that meeting. 

While disappointing, this latest news does not mean a strike is imminent or inevitable, though the University will plan for this possibility, with a focus on ensuring a continued productive and positive student experience. 

No doubt you have many questions about what this could mean to you. To help address your questions, an FAQ has been added to the Mount’s website. As soon as contingency plans are confirmed, further details will be shared and questions answered – please watch the University website for updates: msvu.ca/labourrelations. If you have any questions that are not answered on the website, please send them to msvu.ca and we will respond as soon as possible.  

At this time, all services at the Mount continue as normal, including classes and labs.

A return to the table is possible at any time and the University bargaining team is open to that. We remain committed to reaching an agreement that maintains our focus on students and is reflective of our fiscal reality.  

We will ensure you continue to receive timely and accurate information about this situation.  

Regards, 
Brian  Brian Jessop P.Eng, CPM 
VP Administration  Mount Saint Vincent University

Update #4: Nov 14, 2018

I’m writing to share an update on the collective bargaining process with the Mount Saint Vincent University Faculty Association (MSVUFA). 

Conciliation is ongoing: it began with two full days of negotiations last week. The parties will meet with the conciliator for a third day of negotiations late next week. (You can learn more about the conciliation process here.) We are pleased that the conciliation process continues and remain committed to reaching a settlement with the Faculty Association.

It’s important to keep in mind that last week’s announcement by the MSVUFA of a strike vote does not mean that a strike is imminent or inevitable. A strike could not be called until conciliation ends and then a minimum of two weeks must elapse. As well, 48 hours’ notice is required before a strike could take place.

Students remain the Mount’s top priority, and we want to ensure the Mount is positioned for continued success and to deliver an excellent student experience.

At this time, all services at the Mount continue as normal, including classes and labs.

Of course, we will continue to keep you updated and advise you of any changes in the situation as soon as possible. 

If you have any questions, please contact me or email msvu.ca.

Regards,
Brian

Brian Jessop P.Eng, CPM.
VP Administration
Mount Saint Vincent University


Update #3: Nov 6, 2018

In June, the University began bargaining with the Mount Saint Vincent University Faculty Association (MSVUFA), representing 144 full-time faculty, professional librarians and lab instructors. The bargaining teams have met 28 times since then and advanced a number of items.

We learned today, that the MSVUFA recently held a strike vote and their members voted in favour of a strike. A strike vote at this time is an indication of the members’ support for their bargaining team as they enter conciliation. A strike could not take place until a number of steps over a period of time have been followed, including a conciliation process which is set to begin this week.

In past rounds of bargaining with the MSVUFA, we have attained a successful outcome with the support of a conciliator.

Next steps and keeping you updated

Students are the Mount’s top priority, and we want to ensure the Mount is positioned for continued success and to deliver an excellent student experience. We remain committed to reaching a settlement with the Faculty Association.

We also want to ensure that all members of the Mount community receive timely and accurate information, and will continue to keep you updated.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Regards,
Brian

Brian Jessop P.Eng, CPM.
VP Administration
Mount Saint Vincent University

Update #2: Oct 18, 2018

In June, the University began bargaining with the Mount Saint Vincent University Faculty Association (MSVU FA), representing 144 full-time faculty, professional librarians and lab instructors. The bargaining teams have met 28 times since then. While a number of items were advanced and dates for additional meetings established, the Faculty Association today opted to proceed via conciliation.

What is conciliation?

Conciliation is the process of mediation in collective bargaining by a neutral third party knowledgeable in effective negotiation procedures. This third party is called a "conciliator" and their role is to assist employers and unions in reaching mutually agreeable solutions to outstanding issues. Conciliators are appointed by the Minister of Labour and Advanced Education (or a delegate) at the written request of one or both parties to collective bargaining. The conciliator assists the parties to resolve their outstanding issues, promotes a climate of non-adversarial dispute resolution, and suggests ideas/options for the parties' consideration, but will not attempt to impose any settlement.

Next steps and keeping you updated

Students are the Mount’s top priority, and we want to ensure the Mount is positioned for continued success and to deliver an excellent student experience. We remain committed to reaching a settlement with the Faculty Association.

We want to ensure all members of the Mount community receive timely and accurate information, and will continue to keep you updated via this section of the Mount’s website.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Regards,
Brian

Brian Jessop P.Eng, CPM
VP Administration
Mount Saint Vincent University

Update #1: July 5, 2018

I am writing to if inform you that negotiations commenced between the Mount Board of Governors and the Mount Saint Vincent University Faculty Association (MSVUFA) on June 18, 2018. The Association represents permanent full-time faculty, term faculty, librarians, and lab instructors.

The bargaining teams have numerous meetings scheduled over the course of the summer. The University looks forward to another round of productive negotiations.

Brian Jessop, P.Eng, CPM.
Vice-President Administration
Mount Saint Vincent University