The collective agreement between the University of Saskatchewan and the University of Saskatchewan Faculty Association (USFA) expires on June 30, 2013, and preparations for bargaining are well underway. After preliminary discussions with the University, we can expect to begin bargaining in early January, 2013.
Jim Cheesman, Senior Professional Officer of the USFA, has been appointed as Chief Negotiator by the Executive committee, and he has assembled a Negotiations Caucus to develop the mandate for the next round of bargaining. This issue of the Bargaining Update introduces members of the Caucus by providing a short biography about each member and their contact information. The Caucus is comprised of 12 faculty members, selected in part to provide a broad representation of faculty across the campus, and 2 USFA employees. The Negotiating Team will consist of 7 members selected from amongst the members of the Negotiations Caucus.
In addition to formulating the bargaining mandate for the current round, the Negotiations Caucus has been charged with the task of developing a long-term bargaining strategy for the USFA. There are many important issues relevant to both terms and conditions of employment and the execution of collegial processes that need to be raised across several rounds of bargaining in order to be negotiated into the collective agreement. Further, the Executive has asked the Caucus to identify the full range of issues that are of concern to our members so that we can prioritize them across rounds of bargaining.
To that end, we are communicating with the membership and asking for input and feedback in several ways. Written communications will continue through the distribution of our e-letters, bargaining updates and issues of collectively speaking. Face-to-face communications will be achieved by conducting meetings with Faculty Association Representatives (FARs) so that they can report back to their respective units, having members of the Caucus attend collegial meetings of individual units upon invitation, and regular reporting at General meetings. Lastly, we will be conducting a number of random, stratified surveys querying members on issues critical to negotiations. These surveys will be very short and we are counting on high response rates from members in order to accurately assess your positions on the issues. If you are selected for one of these surveys, please take the three or four minutes required to complete it. We cannot not emphasize enough that active participation by the membership greatly strengthens our bargaining positions at the table.
The upcoming round of bargaining is likely to be much tougher than previous rounds based on the reported structural deficit that the University is facing, so it is essential that members be kept apprised of the issues related to bargaining. The Caucus meets at least twice per week to discuss the broad array of issues that may be included in the mandate for the upcoming and future rounds of bargaining. Our discussions are collegial and informative, and they represent diverse perspectives. However, they do not necessarily reflect the views of the entire membership. The Negotiating Team must know where our members stand on a number of critical issues, and we require your feedback to adequately portray the will of the membership at the table.
Please stay apprised of the issues relevant to bargaining through our communications. Do discuss ideas and issues with your FAR to communicate back to the Caucus. Should you bump into a Caucus member on campus, please feel free to discuss your ideas with him or her. We can assure members that each and every comment that you make will be brought to the attention of the Negotiations Caucus, so please let us know your perspectives about the things that affect you and your working conditions.