TRU faculty have voted in favour of ratifying a new collective agreement recommended by a mediator after a year of failed bargaining.
Mediator Mark Brown’s recommendations were approved by 91 percent of the 459 members who voted.
The outcome brings an end to a month of uncertainty during which job action had the potential to shut down instruction in Kamloops and Williams Lake.
Tom Friedman, TRUFA president, said that he expected faculty to ratify the recommendations given the current restrictive bargaining climate imposed by the provincial government, and because of the unwillingness of TRU administration bargainers to acknowledge or address key issues facing instructors and instructional support faculty.
“Normally — but certainly not in this case — a large Yes vote on ratification means that faculty are pleased with changes to the collective agreement,” said Friedman, “From what our members have told me, faculty very reluctantly approved the recommendations because they saw no other choice.”
“Because of the limitations imposed by the provincial government through the Public Sector Employers’ Council (PSEC), the changes that TRUFA felt would improve faculty involvement in decision-making and enhance student learning were not possible to achieve.”
Brown recommended that 5 percent of the 5.5 percent total compensation increase over five years awarded to all B.C. 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 comparable Canadian universities.
In addition, Brown urged the parties to engage in collegial discussions of issues that were left unresolved by bargaining before this contract expires.
Like most public sector contracts, it will expire on March 31, 2019.
TRUFA represents approximately 650 instructors, counsellors, librarians, learning designers and career education coordinators at the Kamloops and Williams Lake campuses.