St. FX makes new offer to faculty

Offer includes 21% boost in per-course earnings for part-time profs

This story has been updated since initially published.

St.FX
St.FX presented a new offer to faculty members today. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Saint Francis Xavier University presented a new offer to faculty members today that would boost pay and benefits for part-time instructors.

The improved offer focuses on the priority points as outlined by the union. These include:

  • Minimum contract length for sessional staff
  • Benefits for part-time instructors
  • Professional development allowance
  • Retirement incentive plan

The new offer would increase part-time instructors’ pay from $9,500 to $11,500 for a six-credit course and grant them a maximum of $500 a year in health-care spending beginning in the second year of the agreement. They would also receive a cancellation payment if the university decides not to offer a course. Faculty members and librarians would have three options for retirement while lab instructors would get longer contracts in years two, three and four of the contract.

Lab instructors, nurse educators, Coady Institute teaching staff and writing centre workers are all offered a leave of absence with a deferred salary option.

A new $200 benefit has been added to the offer. All members who are full-time employees would receive a professional development allowance in the last two years of the agreement.

Peter McInnis, president of the St.FX Association of University Teachers, says the administration was underhanded in the way it presented the offer. He says the university sent the information to the association members directly and not to the executive.

“This is completely unorthodox and unacceptable. It’s very, very likely just to anger our members and it’s indicative of what the employers are doing,” he says. “Whether it fits the definition of bad faith bargaining, it fits the spirit of bad faith bargaining and so we’re very disappointed that they would do this.”

McInnis alleged in a media release on Feb. 5 that the university leaked information to the media and association members in order to bypass the executive negotiation team.

At what cost?

St. FX president Sean Riley suggested in Feb. 4 news release that any further concessions by the administration would come at a cost in faculty jobs. Riley said that because of the deficit incurred by the university and a decrease in government funding, finding the financial resources for the agreement will be “difficult” and will “result in restructuring and reduced employment.”

The faculty association says the financial situation is not as dire as Riley is making it out to be.  McInnis said in a news release issued earlier today, that “this type of fear-mongering is not helpful and undermines the good will built up over recent informal talks. Administrators have made it clear to us in previous face-to-face meetings that any proposed restructuring changes at X are completely separate from current contract negotiations.”

The revised agreement would cover a four-year term from July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2016.

Read the offer here:

Revised offer (February 5, 2013)

 

Written explanation of new offer

 

Update: Feb. 6: Added timeline