The Executive Committee of the Brandon University Faculty Association (BUFA) announced last week that, following a 45 day strike, the BUFA Membership ratified a new collective agreement. The margin of acceptance was 93 percent.
The issues under dispute by Brandon faculty are important and relevant to Universities across Canada. University administrations are moving to weaken collegial processes, limit academic freedom and eliminate academic self-governance by going after the pertinent clauses of collective agreements. The foundational role of academics is being transformed from a bottom-up, collegial, self-governance model to a corporate, top-down model in which all matters, including academic, are under management control. Brandon University faculty members are to be commended for standing up and rejecting the attempts by their University administration to change these important and historic roles of faculty.
Last month, the Executive donated $10,000 to the BUFA strike fund and sent representatives to join BUFA members on the picket lines. It is imperative that we support our colleagues at other Universities in their bargaining efforts. Their ability to achieve success at the bargaining table strengthens the ability of faculty associations across Canada, including ours, to bargain strong collective agreements that are in the best interests of academic employees.
The four year agreement at Brandon University features salary increases of 1.0%, 1.5%, 3.0% and 3.0%, plus annual increments. As well, the salary floors and ceilings will be increased by one step effective April 1, 2011. The Professional Development Allowance has been increased to $1,800 per year, and there have been increases in the travel and meal allowances.
In addition, any savings from the annual unfunded pension liability special payments will be distributed one-third to BUFA members, one-third to student bursaries, and one-third to the University Operating Budget, over the life of the contract.