Frequently asked questions

From the 2016 negotiations…

How long has MAFA been negotiating with the Employer?

MAFA and the Employer began negotiating on June 15, 2016.

Why has MAFA been negotiating with the Employer?

The Collective Agreements between the full- and part-time faculty and the Employer expired on June 30, 2016. This expiration necessitates a new agreement. Negotiation is the route to reaching a new agreement.

What is MAFA fighting for?

MAFA is fighting for the future of the university as a community devoted to free inquiry and the intellectual development of all its members. MAFA is fighting for a university in which research and teaching take precedence over buildings and landscaping. MAFA is also fighting to uphold the principles and processes that protect academic freedom and collegial governance, to ensure that decisions bearing on the fate of the university are shaped by open and transparent debate, and governed by academic considerations and academic judgments.

What does MAFA want in a new agreement?

MAFA’s proposals address issues that our members have identified as high priority: appropriate measures to address teaching replacement for members on leave; fair and reasonable compensation, including salary, pensions, and benefits; and adequate support for academic programs.  MAFA’s proposals also aim to ensure that key decisions over evaluations, tenure, promotion, and sabbatical leaves are fair, reasonable, and equitable.

Will MAFA provide details of its proposals?

At the start of the negotiation process, the MAFA Negotiating Team and the Employer’s Negotiating Team agreed to a negotiation protocol, which sets out appropriate practices for both parties during negotiations. In this protocol, the parties agreed that proposals would only be presented and discussed at the bargaining table. Of course, the Negotiating Teams must report to and consult with the groups that they represent over the course of negotiations. For MAFA, this is our members; for the Employer, this is the Board of Regents. But these consultations must remain confidential as the parties work their way towards a settlement. The publication of bargaining proposals can make a settlement more difficult to reach: once a position has been taken in public it becomes harder to retreat from that position, and reaching a settlement involves retreating from positions and finding a common ground. Apart from stating its general objectives in these negotiations, MAFA has not committed itself in public to any particular proposal. MAFA is determined to abide by appropriate bargaining practices, and to honour our negotiation protocol.

How would the administration’s current position affect students?

Inadequately resourced programs undermine the integrity and coherence of the education that Mount Allison University aspires to offer. Overworked and over-busy faculty are unable to provide students with the enrichment of independent study courses and honours thesis supervisions. If working conditions at Mount Allison University do not improve, recruitment and retention of faculty and librarians will become a problem. And remember, our working conditions are your learning conditions.

I have heard that MAFA members have voted in favour of a strike. Is there going to be a strike? 

MAFA held a “straw strike vote” on October 14, 2016, and members voted 87% in favour of job action if necessary to support MAFA’s bargaining proposals. A straw strike vote is not a legal strike vote; it does not give the union the right to call a legal strike. The purpose of a straw strike vote is to demonstrate to the Employer that the MAFA Negotiating Team has the full support of our members.

What happens now?

MAFA and the Employer continue to negotiate. We are confident that a negotiated settlement can be reached.

Where can I get more information?

We will update with new information as it becomes available. Follow us on Twitter @MAFA_MTA. Like us on facebook.