CUPE and Trent reach tentative agreement

After seven months of bargaining, CUPE 3908 and Trent University have reached a tentative settlement on a collective agreement for contract faculty.

The agreement was negotiated on Monday, March 24, just four days before the union would have been in a position to legally strike.

Members voted 92 percent in favour of empowering their bargaining team to call a strike at their March 7 meeting if an agreement is not reached in a timely manner.

The contract was negotiated for Unit 1 of CUPE 3908, which represents “contract” or “part-time” faculty at Trent—about 300 professors in total.

These professors are not tenured and must reapply for each course they want to teach.

They are responsible for teaching 25-30 percent of the courses offered at Trent.

Their previous agreement has been expired since August 30, 2013.

Details of the new tentative agreement will not be released until it is ratified by both parties.

In a press release, CUPE 3908 ensured they “will recommend that the union’s members vote to ratify the agreement in an online ratification vote that closes April 10.”

Results of the vote will be released on April 11.

“We believe that the agreement we reached meets the mandate that our members set for us,” said President of CUPE 3908, Stephen Horner.

Trent’s Board of Governors will also have to ratify it to make it official at their April meeting. Trent’s bargaining teams will be recommending the agreement as well.

The ratification vote is an agenda item on Trent’s April 25 Board of Governors meeting.

In a press release, Horner said, “We need to move towards a model that acknowledges non-tenure contract faculty have become an important part of the way the university fulfills its teaching mission and the university must support them appropriately.

“Universities that do this will see the benefits in terms of a higher quality of education and better student experience.”

But the bargaining table isn’t about to collect dust anytime soon. CUPE 3908 Unit 2—student teaching assistants—will see their contract expire in August.

About Pat Reddick 85 Articles
Pat was co-editor of Volume 49, along with Matt Rappolt. He's primarily interested in arts coverage, often editorializing on arts issues. He graduated from Trent with a Bachelor's degree in English Lit. Pat hosts or co-hosts several programs at Trent Radio, such as Media Are Plural. You can follow him on Twitter, or watch him eat through his kitchen window. In his spare time Pat reads a lot (q.v. English major), plays video games, and writes fiction. He has a blog or something but I couldn't find out too much about that.