CBU faculty ratifies new contract
The Cape Breton University Faculty Association has ratified the tentative agreement it reached earlier this month with the post-secondary institution.
In a vote held over three days last week, the CBUFA gave formal consent to the deal with 103 members voting in favour and 20 members voting against the pact. The university’s board of governors unanimously ratified the agreement during a meeting on Feb. 13.
The three-year contract includes an annual wage hike of 1.25 per cent and clarification of the language used in the deal in regard to the issue of when layoffs might happen.
According to CBUFA communications chair Andrew Reynolds, the new language is much better for its membership that includes more than 150 professors, librarians, archivists, lab instructors, nursing practice educators, and research chairs.
“It now actually mentions financial distress whereas the old language only indicated that financial reasons were needed for layoffs, which basically allowed the president to say ‘hey, there are reasons to lay people off’,” said Reynolds.
“Now it has been made clear what those reasons will be and they have to be significant and serious deficits to the operating budget or to tuition income.” Prior to the language change, the association expressed concern that the wording of Article 39, the so-called layoff clause, would lead to imminent job cuts as the university was already facing a $3.5-million deficit over the next twoand-a-half years.
The contract is retroactive to July 1, 2016, and will expire on June 30, 2019.
Both Reynolds and Dale Keefe, CBU’s interim president, said they are pleased the contract is now a done deal.
“We’re thrilled to have a contract now in place for our faculty association,” said Keefe. “This is an exciting time for CBU as we look to the future and work toward creating an even stronger university — CBU faculty plays an integral role in the CBU and CB communities, so we’re very much looking forward to continue to work with them.”
The CBU board of governors rejected a tentative agreement in a vote Dec. 9 and dismissed former university president David Wheeler from his job because of how he conducted contract talks with the union while bypassing the institution’s negotiating team.