Professors and professional librarians at Brock University will know Friday if they have a new contract with the school. Members began voting online on Wednesday at 1 p.m. on the tentative Agreement reached earlier in August by the Brock University Faculty Association negotiating team and Brock’s Administration. BUFA members have until noon on Friday to approve or reject the agreement in an online vote. Results are expected to be known Friday afternoon and announced then.
BUFA President Dr. Linda Rose-Krasnor told approximately 200 members at a special membership meeting Wednesday in a Thistle Complex lecture room they were being asked to approve the tentative Agreement reached Aug. 6 after 64 hours of mediation over five days.
“I know some of you thought we’d never get here. I had my reservations, also,” said Dr. Rose-Krasnor, a Psychology professor.
Members have been asked to vote on a motion to ratify the tentative 2014-2017 Collective Agreement between the Faculty Association and the University. BUFA represents 570 professors and professional librarians at Brock. The agreement also requires the approval of Brock’s Board of Governors.
BUFA’s negotiating team and the University’s negotiators reached a tentative agreement at 3:40 a.m., on Aug. 13 after 64 hours of mediation with Ontario Ministry of Labour mediator Peter Simpson. Rose-Krasnor credited Simpson’s participation with signalling a “restart” in the talks that had been slow-moving since April.
“I believe that we never would have got an agreement without his services,” she said.
BUFA proposed in June that a mediator be asked to help overcome an impasse that prevented the Association and Administration from making much progress since April when talks began. The Administration agreed to the request for a mediator.
Rose-Krasnor used Wednesday’s meeting to thank a long list of people who supported BUFA’s negotiating work — from last year’s executive to the staff at a nearby Pizza Hut, whose late-night hours helped BUFA’s negotiating team get through long mediation sessions.
Rose-Krasnor paid tribute to the negotiating team Charles Burton (Chief Negotiator), Nancy Taber (Deputy Chief Negotiator), Martin Kusy, Richard Parker, Feri Ravari, Tim Ribaric, and Cathy van Ingen (team members), as well as Shannon Lever (administrative support).
Rose-Krasnor credited BUFA membership with knowing what they wanted in a collective agreement and being determined to stand up for the three core values the Association said needed to be protected – educational quality, shared academic decision-making, and academic freedom.
Chief Negotiator Dr. Charles Burton described the contract talks as “a long, strange ride” from the first meetings in April to the deal reached in August, with the help of a mediator.
“In the end, I think we got a good tentative agreement,” said Dr. Burton, a Political Science professor.
After BUFA members voted to hold a closed-door session to discuss details of the tentative agreement, Burton gave a detailed presentation on the changes that were made.
BUFA has encouraged its members to read the full text of the tentative agreement that’s available to them on a secure section of the BUFA website. They can compare the tentative agreement to previous Collective Agreement that expired at the end of June.
Details of the agreement are not being discussed publicly until after the ratification vote results are known Friday, Rose-Krasnor said. It’s common during contract talks for both sides to reserve public comment about the terms of the deal until after a tentative agreement has been ratified.