Acadia University Faculty Contract Negotiations Break Down



    WOLFVILLE, NS, Oct. 12 /CNW Telbec/ - Negotiations between the Acadia
University Faculty Association (AUFA) and the Acadia University Board of
Governors broke down today. AUFA President Peter Williams said he was
disappointed by the latest developments: "We came to the table Wednesday with
an offer that made very significant compromises in a number of areas. The
Board's team responded with an offer that presented no significant
improvements over an offer that was overwhelmingly rejected by AUFA members in
June."
    The most recent offer by AUFA would have saved over $1 million in each of
the first two years of the proposed contract, compared to the offer made by
AUFA in June. In a letter appended to the previous Collective Agreement,
signed in March 2004, Acadia President Gail Dinter-Gottlieb promised to make
the necessary budgeting changes so that "As soon as possible Acadia and its
faculty should arrive at the point where our compensation structure is seen by
all as being regionally and nationally competitive." Williams said, "Earlier
we decided that the university couldn't afford to pay us nationally
competitive salaries in this contract. They have had three and a half years to
make the necessary budgeting changes, and now we have offered them
significantly more latitude in how they reach the President's stated goal.
We're very disappointed that the Board is unwilling to work towards fulfilling
the President's promise, which is crucial to ensuring that we will continue to
be able to offer our students a high-quality education." In a recent
arbitration decision at the University of Toronto (the "Winkler Award"), the
arbitrator ruled that since "the University has staked out a position at the
top of the relevant market or industry segment" it has an obligation to
"ensure that the total compensation package available to faculty members and
librarians is sufficient to place them at the top of the market as well."
    The outstanding issues in the dispute include faculty complement,
compensation structure, equity, and benefits. In addition to keeping faculty
salary grids well below those of Acadia's regional competitors, the Board's
most recent offer would cut significant numbers of faculty positions with no
plan for maintaining academic program integrity and no provisions for job
security for long-serving contract employees. The offer would also create
further inequities among AUFA members, and fails to address proposals to
improve compensation and working conditions for part-time faculty members, as
well as proposals for benefits that are normal at universities across the
country. Finally, the Board continues to refuse to allow the word "equity" to
appear in the collective agreement.
    AUFA has set a strike deadline of Monday, October 15th. Williams
emphasized that the AUFA negotiating team remains ready and willing to resume
negotiations as soon as the Board's team is prepared to address the
outstanding issues.




For further information:

For further information: Andrew Biro, AUFA spokesperson, (902)670-7566
(cell), andrew.biro@gmail.com, http://www.caut.ca/aufa/

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ACADIA UNIVERSITY FACULTY ASSOCIATION

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