The Concordia University Part-time Faculty Association began this round of negotiations with mixed feelings.

On the one hand we were hopeful that our employer would negotiate in a manner that would enable us to achieve our fourth Collective Agreement. We entered negotiations with a win-win approach for both parties and had no desire to relive protracted negotiations. The Association entered the negotiations in a non-positional mode and in a manner that would foster satisfactory ends for both parties. The CUPFA Negotiating Team successfully concluded a “Protocol for Negotiations”.

On the other hand, we had the memory of the prolonged struggle of seven years to achieve our current Collective Agreement. As well and regrettably, the experience of the last three years is a testament to neglect in implementing the Collective Agreement we have. Devoid of academic leadership or collective memory, you will not be surprised to learn we have more than thirty grievances that are pending. We are displeased to see our employer placing so little value on the presence of academics as their representatives at our table. It was a serious barrier in the last round of negotiations.

Since most of our existence, the Association always dealt with individuals who knew first hand the requirements and merits of teaching, learning and research. The new attitude strips us of this identity and wishes instead to turn us into Taylorized workers on an education assembly line. As well, we once had individuals familiar with how policies and collective agreements are successfully implemented in a public institution.

Our current Collective Agreement took seven years to “restructure”. We have now been given a proposal for a Collective Agreement and told that they wish to “restructure” again! Given the experience of our last negotiations, a failure to implement or manage academic relations and, their current proposal, we cannot sit there for another seven years. The Executive and the CUPFA Negotiating Team seeks an unlimited strike mandate from the membership.

You may well ask, what is in their proposal and what is this “restructuring” all about? Consider just a few of the following elements of their “restructuring” thus far presented at the bargaining table:

• replacing our seniority standing with a convoluted point system that serves to delink the hours we actually spend teaching and the “points” we would receive

• attempts to isolate us from the remuneration provided at our sister universities

• reduction of Professional Development funds and how theses may be used

• threats to re-opening the terms of our certification as a union

• reducing the rights to conduct activities and teaching for those drawing on their pension plan or on a deferred salary leave

These are but a few examples of what they mean by “restructuring”. They have failed to provide any proposals about reserve courses, salary, or other monetary issues. Briefly, their proposal is a means of eliminating the pool of part-time faculty and available courses for you to teach. The CUPFA Negotiating Team cannot forfeit the meager rights you have gained.

The Executive looks forward to seeing you at the Special General Assembly at the Nouvel Hotel on Sunday, November 4th, 2012 at 2 p.m. We are there to respond to questions you may have and to hear your voice. Confirm your attendance by calling or emailing Karen Taillon CUPFA’s Office Manager at: cupfa@concordia.ca.

I strongly urge you to attend the Special General Assembly for the purposes of exercising your vote to provide the Association with an unlimited strike mandate. The rights you now have are at stake.

Maria E. Peluso,
President, CUPFA