The following provides an overview of a number of important items under discussion as part of the collective bargaining process with Mount Allison’s full-time and part-time faculty unions.

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Faculty workload

The faculty bargaining team has identified workload for full-time faculty, in particular with regard to teaching loads, as a significant concern.

Discussion 

The standard teaching loads at comparator universities* is five courses per academic year. At Mount Allison, faculty in arts and social sciences teach five courses per year; faculty in science teach four courses.

Mount Allison has also consistently maintained a favorable student-to-faculty ratio, despite enrolment fluctuations.

Enrolment and student-faculty ratio chart

The student-to-faculty ratio is an average. There are programs that have experienced an increase or decline in enrolment outside the norm, which sometimes results in much larger or much smaller classes than the average. While these situations present specific challenges, we suggest they are not an indication of an overall workload issue.


Use and remuneration of part-time faculty members

The Mount Allison Faculty Association (MAFA) has said in a news release:

  • The University relies “increasingly on the category of underpaid and precarious workers known as adjuncts or stipendiary professors: part-time academics waiting for full-time positions” and that part-time faculty live “well below the poverty line.”

The University can demonstrate:

  • Full-time faculty members teach the vast majority of courses.
  • Part-time stipends at Mount Allison are the highest among comparator universities*.

Discussion

Part-time faculty members at Mount Allison make important contributions. They help replace full-time faculty teaching assignments for faculty who are on leave and supplement departmental teaching through their specialized expertise.

Part-time faculty are utilized at all universities. However, it is not correct to suggest all part-time faculty are professional academics who seek full-time positions. At Mount Allison, many part-time faculty are full-time staff members, retired faculty, or people who are employed full-time outside the University, such as lawyers, accountants, and musicians, who choose to teach part-time in addition to their other work.

In the past three years:

  • Full-time faculty have taught an average of 88 per cent of total courses  
  • Part-time faculty have taught an average of 12 per cent of total courses  

Not only have these percentages been relatively consistent over time, but the use of part-time instructors at Mount Allison is far less than at most other universities in Canada.

Course stipends paid by Mount Allison to part-time instructors teaching a three-credit course rank as the highest among comparator universities*:

Part-time stipends chart


Faculty salary scales

Faculty bargaining team proposal: Salary increases of 3 per cent (effective July 1, 2019), 3.2 per cent (July1, 2020) and 3.2 per cent (July 1, 2021) over the three years of a new collective agreement.

The University’s position: Mount Allison’s salary scales are already very competitive, among the highest among comparator universities. In addition to salary scale increases, most faculty earn automatic step increases.

Discussion

Salary scale increases

The University’s current offer includes salary scale increases of 1.5 per cent as of July 1, 2019; 1.6 per cent as of July 1, 2020; and 1.6 per cent as of July 1, 2021.

  • Salary scale increases offered by Mount Allison as part of a new collective agreement are consistent with those in the university sector among our comparator group*.
  • These proposed increases reflect the University’s desire to maintain the competitiveness of Mount Allison salary scales for faculty, while at the same time being sustainable for the University.
  • The offer of salary scale increases of 1.5 per cent, 1.6 per cent; and 1.6 per cent is also in line with recent increases at comparator universities*:

Salary scale per cent increases

*pending negotiation of new collective agreements

Faculty salary ranges

Faculty salaries at Mount Allison are above-average among comparator universities*, currently the third-highest in terms of salary ceiling.

Salary ranges chart

Salary information is drawn from each university’s collective agreements, which are publicly available on their respective websites. 


Supports for employees requiring workplace accommodations

Faculty bargaining team proposal: Extensive new language to the collective agreement regarding workplace accommodations.

The University’s position: Mount Allison’s accommodation practices adhere to the provincial legislation to which the University is subject. The current language in the collective agreements compares favourably with that of our comparator universities.*

Discussion  

Although requests for accommodations at Mount Allison are infrequent, each request is unique and is given respectful consideration and assessment.

All workplaces, including Mount Allison, have what is known as a “duty to accommodate” that is required by law and that protects the rights of workers. (See Government of New Brunswick’s Accommodation at Work Guide).

As required by law, Mount Allison works with the employee and other relevant stakeholders (e.g. physicians, union representatives, etc.) to develop an accommodation plan that meets both the needs of the employee and the requirements of the position.

  • The faculty union proposal on accommodation limits the University’s participation in the development of accommodation plans.
  • It also takes away the flexibility of all parties to respond uniquely to each employee’s needs and circumstances.

Although the rights of employees who request accommodation are already protected by both legislation and Mount Allison’s current processes, the University has proposed to establish an advisory committee to develop, within a six-month period, a policy on work accommodation processes and procedures for faculty to address the union’s concerns.


Changes to the structure of the Tenure and Promotion (T&P) Committee

University bargaining team proposal: Alterations to faculty composition of T&P committees, and changes to documentation that may be reviewed by T&P committees.

Discussion

Tenure and promotion decisions are important for faculty and librarian candidates and the University as a whole. Proposed changes to the contract are intended to enhance the existing process. 

Specifically, the University proposes:

  • Eight tenured faculty members (an increase of one) on all T&P committees — four regular members and four alternates, with at least one elected member from each faculty holding the rank of professor.
  • When a faculty member applies for promotion to the rank of professor, at least three of the faculty members on the subcommittee must hold the rank of professor.
  • External letters of recommendation to support a tenure application will be required.
  • The ability to review formal letters of discipline in an employee’s file, only if they are directly related to an employee’s performance of their professional duties.

Change to general requests/inquiries at the Library

University bargaining team proposal: Change contract language to allow general service requests (i.e. initial library inquiries not requiring the expertise of a librarian) to be handled, under supervision, by other library employees.

Discussion  

The proposal would reduce the time librarians now spend answering general and non-technical questions, freeing them to focus on activities and develop programming that require the expertise of professional librarians. This is in line with practices at academic libraries across Canada and is similar to the way lab instructors assist faculty.


*Our comparator universities, as established in arbitration in 2014, include Acadia, Cape Breton University, Mount Saint Vincent, Saint Mary’s, St. Francis Xavier, St. Thomas, Université de Moncton, and University of Prince Edward Island.