Sent on behalf of Michele Kramer, WLUFA President
Dear Contract Faculty Members;
A number of you have approached WLUFA with questions about emails you have received from a campaign for a contract faculty decertification with WLUFA and recertification with another union. WLUFA strongly upholds the right of all of our members to engage in free speech and independent thought, and we welcome the discussion and engagement that has emerged around this issue. However, the email messages have created some confusion among our membership, so we wanted to take this opportunity to clarify a few things:
- Most of the member benefits attributed specifically to other collective agreements in the Caucus emails are benefits that already exist in your WLUFA Collective Agreement. WLUFA is committed to protecting and expanding these benefits for our contract academic staff unit.
- Some of the benefits identified in other collective agreements have not been fully explained. One example would be the class-size clauses in the contract faculty collective agreement at Ryerson University. These provisions are grandfathered clauses that now have a very limited scope and a very limited lifetime.
- Compared to other unions in Ontario, WLUFA has lower union dues. We believe our members receive great value for the dues they pay.
- One of the benefits of paying WLUFA union dues is our affiliation with the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Association (OCUFA) and the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT). These groups allow us to work with colleagues across Ontario and Canada to amplify our voices at the provincial and federal level. Certifying with another union will change the relationship our CAS members currently enjoy with these organizations.
- The process of decertification/recertification means that the current collective agreement will be invalidated, and a new agreement must be negotiated from scratch. This means all of the rights and benefits you have under the current agreement will be at risk. Negotiating a brand new agreement in the current fiscal environment gives a huge advantage to the employer, and we may lose many of the hard-won provisions in the current agreement.
Good collective agreements don’t come from union affiliations. They come from solidarity and working together to achieve the language and provisions our members need. We believe that both Contract and Regular faculty are stronger when they stand together.
Your WLUFA Collective Agreement expires at the end of August 2016. Your negotiating team is currently preparing to be at the bargaining table in just a few short months. You are an essential part of developing a plan for bargaining success. You will soon have many opportunities to tell the bargaining team what is important to you and what you want to see in your Agreement. We encourage you to fill out the upcoming member survey and to attend the membership meeting in April.
In a challenging bargaining environment, and in a sector that is increasingly abusing its precarious contract professors, it is more important than ever that we stand together. Unity and strength will win a good collective agreement, not division and discord.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me or another member of the WLUFA team.
Sincerely and in Solidarity,
WLUFA President and CAS member, English and Film Studies