From the President
When I took over as CUFA President in 2018, I never envisioned the challenges that COVID would bring starting in March 2020. Since that time, virtually every significant deadline listed in the collective agreement had to be adjusted to address the health and safety limitations imposed by the virus. This included important extensions/deferrals to sabbatical leaves, tenure reviews and PDA to name but a few.
An important agreement to extend the term of the 2018-2021 collective agreement was settled in 2020 and permitted reasonable annual compensation increases of 2.6% and 2.4% in 2021-22 and 2022-23. Overall, CUFA members were generally able to navigate through a difficult financial period during which much of Canada suffered due to widespread business interruptions and closures that prompted unprecedented increases in unemployment.
One of the roles of the President and Executive of CUFA is to ensure that our collective agreement is respected by the employer. We also work daily to improve our working conditions and to resolve various complaints and investigations as they arise. Efforts to maintain collegial relations with the administration are sometimes strained as we advocate for CUFA members who may face serious disciplinary actions. It is important to note that arbitrations are down noticeably in recent years, but the cost is partly tied up in lengthy investigations that test the patience of all those involved.
A crucial role of the executive is to be aware of and monitor the decision-making process regarding appointments of university administrators, discussions and decisions of the Senate and Board of Governors, and of course, to respond to and encourage input from our members regarding our academic direction and attempts to limit our academic freedom. Therefore, we invite members to contact us if they are aware of a situation at the university that raises a red flag; CUFA can inquire and act when necessary.
In 2022, we start the process of negotiating our next collective agreement. Negotiations will begin in the fall of the year and will likely continue into the winter months of 2023. Ideally, a new agreement will be in place by the time the current, extended agreement ends on May 31, 2023. This coincides with the end of my term as President. Our constitution permits one renewal of the usual two-year term but due to COVID, an additional year was added and my time in office will total five years. I can state in complete honesty that in all this time, there has never been a dull moment.