MRFA

The MRFA represents both full and part time faculty. The Post-secondary Learning Act requires that there be a faculty association which negotiates a collective agreement on behalf of all credit faculty (as designated by the Board). Part-time faculty cannot certify as a separate union.

 

There have been some changes to the structure of the MRFA Executive and there will be more to come. There is an additional Member at Large position and other Executive Board positions have been refined/refocused. The MRFA is looking at moving some of the President’s responsibilities and reassigned time to the VP Policy and will also further consider tenure restrictions and overall service opportunities with the MRFA.

 

Negotiations:

·         The MRFA will consider having separate FT/PT Negotiations Surveys

·         The MRFA has established a job action research committee that may do work in preparation for the next round of negotiations

Grievances:

·         The grievance procedure is just a dispute resolution mechanism and it is a violation of the CA that is grieved (i.e. the chair is not being grieved)

·         The MRFA is working on improving its support of Chairs in the process.

Services:

·         At lunch you can buy just the salad or side: you do not need to purchase the meal

 


Notes from the Meetings

 

Q: Why can’t we just buy a salad or fries without the rest of the entree for lunch in the Faculty Centre?

            A: Darlene does this on request.

Q: There should be separate FT and PT negotiations surveys.

            A: The interests are different. We are developing charters for our standing committees and will consider putting this in the Negotiating Committee’s charter.

Q: What is the role of the Member at Large?

A: Marc answered that his role is to liaise with members in specific areas, but not to represent them. The Members at Large have also instituted a program to contact new faculty. They participate in all the business of the MRFA Executive and Marc is the chair of the Bylaws Committee.

Q: Why don’t the PT faculty have a separate union? The interests of FT and PT faculty are often different.

A: Yes, there are often competing interests and separate unions are common in Ontario. However, the Post-secondary Learning Act, which is also the provincial legislation that grants MRU the authority to confer degrees, requires that there be a faculty association which negotiates a collective agreement on behalf of all credit faculty (as designated by the Board). So I think that if the PT faculty tried to certify, say as a CUPE local, the Labour Board would disallow it (should read the King’s University College ruling). I have spoken to chairs from Ontario who deal with four unions and I’m sure they have as many complaints as you do. We have a duty to represent all of our members and all members of the Executive and the Negotiating Committee understand that.

Issue: I think we should be considering job action if the mediation does not go well.

A: The Executive has established a Job Action Research Committee and its first work will be next Monday when Kit Dobson and I meet with the Association’s lawyer to discuss what types of service and other forms of work can be legally withheld. This is being done for the next round of negotiations because if we go to arbitration, it is an external process that would not be influenced by job action.

Q: Please tell us about the changes to the MRFA Executive.

A: The VP Policy position also includes grievance work in its description. Scott Murray was elected to this position and we are meeting weekly to discuss issues that are brought to me. The goal is to move some of the President’s responsibilities and reassigned time to this position. We also eliminated the Past President position and created a second Member at Large. The Members at Large serve as a liaison between the Executive and the areas elected from. Marnie is the liaison for the Library. She and one other member of the Executive are tenure-track and bring the perspectives of recently hired faculty to our discussions.

-Marnie spoke positively about the changes, in particular the Member at Large position. She feels there is support on the Executive for her position, and that it provides a voice for her as a full-time faculty member in a tenure-track position. She asked that any faculty members who have questions or issues arising contact her.

Q: Another member remarked that this applied to other committees as well. University committee work is a service requirement and it is hard for us to get on these committees.

A: The MRFA created a new Member at Large position in a bylaw change last May and elected one Member at Large from an academic faculty and the other from a professional faculty. Our Academic Liaison Committee has a representative from each Faculty. Sometimes the competition for faculty councillor positions on GFC is not great and there are many GFC subcommittees with a representative from each Faculty.

Q: Another member suggested that this can affect new faculty members’ long-term relationship with the MRFA because, if they fail to get on an MRFA committee, then we put them on another committee and they develop different relationships.

A: That’s an excellent point. The Executive will consider it.

Q: The Chair needs representation too. The Chair is often grieved at Step 1.

A: The grievance procedure is just a dispute resolution mechanism and it is a violation of the CA that is grieved. That “I am unhappy with your decision” cannot be the basis for a grievance (although because members have carriage it could go to Step 2); a procedure stipulated in the CA must have been violated. We have tried to craft the CA so that faculty recommend and Deans decide because this is helpful in grievances. Nevertheless, we recognize that Chairs sometimes feel unsupported and we need to do something about this because Chairs are members and we have a duty to represent them. I expect this will be a topic for our upcoming Executive retreat. Whenever there are faculty members on two sides of an issue, we provide separate representation from the Executive. We need to develop written grievance procedures and representation will be included in them.

Q: The President shouldn’t be the Grievance Officer. There should be a separate Grievance Officer. This is common at other universities.

A: This was discussed in the FA reorganization paper presented at the AGM last May. But we decided that we needed to study the issue further before making changes. We reconfigured the Second VP position into a VP Policy position, which Scott holds, that also has responsibilities for grievances and CA administration. But we have not yet moved any of the actual work or reassigned time. Scott and Gerry meet weekly to discuss how the work that Gerry has done that week could be redistributed. Scott has also joined his meetings with Robin and Randy.

 

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