UPDATE: The tentative agreement has been ratified by the DFA and the BoG
Dalhousie University and its faculty association have reached a tentative agreement to avoid a potential faculty strike.
The two sides agreed on the tentative deal after three sessions of conciliation, which were mediated by the province.
“I’m very pleased that we’ve reached a tentative agreement. I’m already doing the work that I can to prepare us for the next round of collective bargaining, and I’m keeping my focus, as I have been for the past year, on trying to ensure that the resources of Dalhousie University are applied to the greatest extent possible to the core mission of the university, which is teaching and research,” said Darren Abramson, president of the Dalhousie Faculty Association (DFA).
Dalhousie was also happy to get a deal done and silence the spectre of a strike.
“It’s a lot of work and it can be quite time consuming, so it’s great to have qualified, confident people who are willing to commit the time because it’s an important item for the university. So I’m very grateful to the members of both teams for their hard work and grateful also for the successful outcome,” said Jasmine Walsh, Assistant Vice-President of Human Resources and Dalhousie’s spokesperson for negotiations with the DFA.
“We feel very positive about where the negotiations ended up,” she added.
Although the two sides have reached a tentative agreement, it’s yet to be officially ratified. First the DFA has to vote on the agreement, which Abramson says was recommended by both the DFA executive and its negotiating team. Then, if that vote passes, the agreement must be ratified by the Dalhousie Board of Governors. Until then, the specific details of the agreement cannot be made public.
“I don’t think it’s appropriate for me to make comments beyond the fact that the executive recommended this tentative agreement to the membership, as did the negotiating team,” said Abramson when asked if he thought the DFA would vote to ratify the agreement. “Dalhousie faculty association is a democratic institution and for that reason it has to go to the membership, and the membership will have the ability to look at the text of the agreement in the members only section of our website prior to casting their vote” he said.
Walsh was willing to comment on some of the very broad details of the agreement.
“We came to agreements on some very helpful things, particularly helpful in relation to academic renewal, which was a primary focus of the faculty association. As well, we reached agreements on some progressive items,” she said.
Abramson was also willing to talk about what it meant for the DFA to have the support of the students, particularly the DSU, who passed a motion to support the faculty.
“We believe that when we advocate for our own membership, we are at the same time advocating for the interests of students. Our goal is to have a well-supported university in terms of the professors, the librarians, the counsellors,” he said. “It’s just so gratifying to see their support.”
Abramson wrote a bulletin on the DFA’s website at the end of August about the way Dalhousie chooses to allocate its resources, highlighting its decline in spending on academics. Once the details of the agreement are released, they can be compared to Abramson’s analysis.