UPEI Labour Relations Update #6—University and UPEI FA proposals

| University
Photo of student reading while sitting on a bench in front student centre

The following message was distributed by email to faculty and staff on September 6, 2022.

This month the bargaining committees for both the University and the UPEI Faculty Association (UPEI FA) will meet with the government-appointed conciliation officer in effort to achieve a negotiated collective agreement.

To aid in the process, the University presented revised proposals to the UPEI FA for a four-year agreement on August 23. However, we had not yet presented our salary/monetary proposal because we had not completed direct bargaining when the UPEI FA applied for conciliation. Therefore, the University’s salary/monetary proposal will be provided during conciliation.

You can read the most recent proposals from the University here and the Faculty Association’s most recent proposals here. Brief summaries of parts of both University and UPEI FA proposals follow.

The University believes we came to the table with a modest set of proposals to amend the collective agreement. We especially wanted to ensure that Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) and Indigenization were front and centre.

This included proposing language consistent with the University’s EDI Strategy. During collective bargaining, the University proposed the appointment of equity champions in the hiring, tenure/permanency, and promotion processes, and the requirement for members of those committees (and persons conducting faculty reviews) to take EDI training.

Similarly, the University wants to ensure that our commitment to Indigenization is embedded in the collective agreement. After consultation, we were advised to include principles-based language, not rules-based language. That is what we proposed throughout the hiring, tenure/permanency, and promotion processes. To do this, we embedded respect for Indigenous knowledge and ways of knowing in our proposals, and the option to request Indigenous representation on the tenure/permanency and promotion committees. We also recognized that the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is a paid holiday for all members of the UPEI FA bargaining unit.

We also included several proposals to better recognize and support our Sessional Instructors. As part of the two-year extension in 2020, Sessional Instructors had received a monetary increase proportionately larger than other faculty and staff. The University has now proposed further supports for Sessional Instructors by:

  • ensuring that Sessional Instructors on the Sessional Roster have priority to teach courses over faculty members requesting overloads,
  • including language to limit the number of overloads faculty can teach during an academic year,
  • adding a new Step 4 for Sessional Instructors who have taught at least 24 credit hours since achieving Step 3,
  • increasing the value of three-year recurring contracts by ensuring Sessional Instructors with these contracts (and those at Step 3 and 4) are given the opportunity to interview for vacant term positions,
  • offering an alternative course should the course associated with the three-year recurring contract not be offered in any year of the three years,
  • increasing funding for the pool of research grants to $15,000 and adding the ability to spend research grants at any time during their three-year appointment,
  • increasing funding for Professional Development Travel Reimbursement to $30,000 and an increase in maximum claims to $500/semester, and
  • maintaining access to the Library and University email as long as Sessional Instructors are on the sessional roster.

As set out in the most recent proposals from the University, we proposed:

  • an MOU for the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine to address clinical service/teaching workloads with a model for a more equitable workload,
  • consideration of assigned workload for the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in tenure and promotion processes,
  • teaching release for Department Chairs in the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine,
  • Faculty Association use of the Faculty Lounge in an MOU,
  • ensuring that term faculty members are offered the opportunity to interview for vacant tenure-track positions,
  • normalizing post-retirement benefits for future retirees, and
  • language to ensure UPEI FA members can continue to take advantage of maternity and parental leave; and adding leave for domestic violence, intimate partner violence or sexual violence, etc.

 The UPEI FA has a lot of proposals on the table. Some are purely monetary related like the proposed wage adjustment of:

The FA Bargaining Unit 1 salary and benefit cost for the current year is about $47 million. The wage adjustment proposed by the UPEI FA will cost about another $6.5 million in the first year. Its impact on tuition in the first year would be:

  • Domestic undergraduate student tuition would increase from $7,200 to $8,037; an increase of $837.
  • International undergraduate student tuition would increase from $14,800 to $16,520, an increase of $1,720.

Other UPEI FA proposals are “non-wage” related; however, they will:

  1. have significant financial consequences on the operating budget (like eliminating Sessional Instructors in favour of pro-rated Part-Time Faculty, converting term faculty to tenure-track after three years of term contracts, and implementing Student/Faculty ratios) as it would require the hiring of at least 140 additional faculty, and
  2. trigger capital expenditures (like building more or modifying buildings to accommodate the additional faculty needed to satisfy those proposals).

The operating budget impact of the non-wage proposal would cost about $59 million in the first year. That in itself would impact tuition in the first year, namely:

  • Domestic undergraduate student tuition would increase from $7,200 to $14,776, an increase of $7,576.
  • International undergraduate student tuition would increase from $14,800 to $30,373, an increase of $15,573.

The capital costs associated with the UPEI FA’s non-wage proposal (like new buildings for new faculty, a new on-campus day care, and retrofitting existing buildings to satisfy proposed temperature and humidity requirements) would cost about $160 million to comply with the UPEI FA proposal.

If the University said yes to all the proposals, which are still on the table from the UPEI FA, our best estimate is that the impacts on tuition in the first year would be:

  • Domestic undergraduate student tuition would increase from $7,200 to $37,385, an increase of $30,085.
  • International undergraduate student tuition would increase from $14,800 to $76,642, an increase of $61,842.

These are the University’s best estimates; they were shared with supporting detail with the UPEI FA two weeks ago.

The University is committed to achieving a negotiated collective agreement with our valued faculty, sessional instructors, clinical nursing instructors, and librarians. We welcome the opportunity to discuss our proposals and the proposals from the UPEI FA, and the University’s commitment to EDI and Indigenization, with the conciliator.

The University will continue to share information with the UPEI community by email and by posting it to upei.ca/labour. If anyone has questions, please email labour@upei.ca.

Media Contact

Nicole Phillips
Director of Communications
Marketing and Communications

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