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UNBC Faculty Association ratifies deal with university

UNBC Interim President Dr. Geoff Payne and UNBC Faculty Association President Dr. Paul Siakaluk celebrate the new collective agreement. UNBC photo

A new agreement has been ratified by the members of the University of Northern British Columbia Faculty Association and the University of Northern British Columbia.

The parties reached the agreement outside of the arbitration process, which represents significant progress in their renewed relationship following a bitter strike in 2019. The agreement runs from July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2023, which allows time for some additional required committee work.

“This agreement is historic,” said UNBC-FA President Dr. Paul Siakaluk, in a news release. “It compensates our members fairly and establishes a baseline for productive future relations between UNBC and the UNBC-FA. And we reached it through bargaining, not through an arbitrator’s award. We appreciate the work of UNBC’s leaders who rolled up their sleeves to reach a negotiated settlement with our union.” 

The agreement includes general wage increases of per cent per year, a redesigned compensation framework more in line with other post-secondary institutions, and other improvements meant to foster a productive labour relations environment.

“Upon becoming interim president, one of the first calls I made was to my colleagues in the Faculty Association with a goal to rejuvenate our relationship and move forward under the principles of open communication and respect,” said UNBC Interim President Dr. Geoffrey Payne. “I commend the Faculty Association leadership team and appreciate their willingness to renew our conversation. Over the past year we have developed a very strong foundation together upon which we can collectively build an improved labour relations environment leading into our University’s future.”

The agreement covers nearly 500 faculty, including professors, instructors, lecturers, sessional lecturers, librarians and senior lab instructors, It was reached under the B.C. government’s 2019 Sustainable Services Negotiating Mandate, which supports government’s commitment to improve the services people count on, make life more affordable and invest in sustainable economic growth. The mandate is consistent with B.C.’s commitment to balanced budgets and sound fiscal management. It provides parties with the ability to negotiate conditional and modest funding to drive tangible service improvements for people in B.C.

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