For the latest on the potential job action from TRUFA, visit our faculty strike update page, which will always have the most recent information.
The TRU Faculty Association (TRUFA) has voted in favour of job action. Two thirds of the union’s membership cast a vote and 80 per cent were in favour of job action, which may include a strike. The vote took place between Nov. 16 and 19.
Both TRUFA and the TRU administration are tight-lipped about how negotiations have progressed. TRUFA president Tom Friedman declined to comment on the results of the vote.
The two parties met on Monday for the first time following the vote on job action. According to the TRU website, negotiations were previously set to resume on Dec. 7.
“We have set dates and we are hopeful that we can do some great work in them,” said Christopher Seguin, Vice-President Advancement.
When asked if there would be any disruption of the beginning of classes next semester or graduation or transfers to another institution, Seguin said that it was too early to speculate, but “if there are disruptions [they] will be ready to facilitate students’ needs.”
TRU has publicized some of their initial offers they made to TRUFA in the fall. The administration is offering faculty increases in maximum salaries for faculty positions: assistant professors would see their maximum salaries go from $87,900 to $93,000, associate professors from $125,000 to $130,000 and full professors from $130,050 to $147,000. The offer also included a 5.5 per cent raise over the course of the contract.
An August 2015 bargaining update by TRUFA suggests they’re seeking more radical changes to the pay scale. TRUFA proposed an increase in entry-level minimum salaries for instructors from $56,613 to $67,767. The proposal also promises an unspecified increase in maximum salaries for instructors, with the goal of “making TRU more competitive among comparable Canadian universities.”
“Despite any claims they have or may make, the administration cannot truthfully claim they ‘cannot afford’ TRUFA’s proposals this round,” the proposal reads.
The university’s proposal also says that it is seeking a five-year-long term for the new contract. The previous collective agreement was a two-year term and expired in March 2014.
Also at issue is the rate of pay for sessional faculty. Although TRUFA has not made its proposals public, TRU has said that the union is looking for increased rates of pay and benefits for its sessional professors. In its Fall 2015 bargaining update, TRU said that it is willing to discuss salary and benefit improvements to sessional instructors, but “there would be ramifications to salary grids” as a result. The university also published a table comparing its sessional pay with 10 other Canadian universities. At TRU, sessional instructors are currently paid $5,661.33 to teach a three-credit course.
Rates of pay at other universities range from $3,506 to $6,672. On average, TRU says its rates are $515 higher than the other universities compared against.
Other areas with changes proposed by the university include policies on workload, healthcare benefits and tuition waivers for family members of faculty.
Both the TRU and TRUFA websites now feature a frequently asked questions page for students looking for information about the strike.
“At this time there is no strike and all classes are in session. While TRU is hopeful that negotiations with TRUFA will continue and that the parties will reach a settlement, if there is a full strike all face-to-face classes will not be held and may be rescheduled at a later date,” reads an entry to the FAQ on the TRU website.
The TRU website also warns of the possibility of rotating strikes or a partial withdrawal of services.
According to a post on TRUFA’s website, “a strike vote will be followed by the parties returning to the bargaining table and working hard to reach a deal. However, a strike vote also authorizes the TRUFA Executive to initiate job action should negotiations flounder.”
Provincial law dictates that TRUFA would have to give 72 hours notice before going on strike.
According to an email from the Dean of Students’ office, the university does not anticipate a disruption of the exam schedule, but asks students to monitor their myTRU emails for further updates.