The TRU Faculty Association (TRUFA) has voted in favour of ratifying an agreement drafted by independent mediator Mark Brown, effectively bringing an end to their months-long contract dispute with the university.
According to a press release from TRUFA released immediately after the ratification vote closed at noon on Feb. 12, the mediator’s recommendations were approved by 91 per cent of the 459 TRUFA members who voted. TRUFA represents approximately 650 instructors, counsellors, librarians and other staff at TRU’s Kamloops and Williams Lake campuses.
TRUFA President Tom Friedman said in a press release that in speaking with members, he concluded “faculty very reluctantly approved the recommendations because they saw no other choice.”
The release states that although TRUFA voted to ratify the agreement, changes that TRUFA felt would improve faculty involvement in decision-making and enhance student learning were made impossible by the B.C. Government bargaining mandate.
TRU’s vice president advancement Christopher Seguin said the university is “extremely pleased” with the results of the vote.
Pay for sessional and contract faculty was one of the most contentious issues throughout negotiations.
Mediator Mark Brown’s recommendations state that “5 per cent of the 5.5 per cent total compensation increase over 5 years awarded to all British Columbia 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.”
According to the press release, Brown has encouraged both sides to continue discussion of outstanding issues that were not resolved in mediation.
TRUFA’s collective agreement expired in March 2014. This round of negotiations had been on since February 2015.
At the dispute’s most tense moments, faculty went as far as enacting work-to-rule job action for one day, during which communications with administrators were limited. Negotiations continued days later under mediator Mark Brown.
TRU’s board of governors will be voting on whether or not to ratify the agreement on the morning of Monday, Feb. 15.
When it is ratified the new agreement will be valid until March 31 2019.