Thompson Rivers University faculty ratify collective agreement

KAMLOOPS - Members of the Thompson Rivers University Faculty Association have voted to ratify a three-year agreement.

The deal, recommended by mediator Mark Brown, faced a vote this week by the union members after negotiations with the university’s administration failed.

Faculty association president Thomas Friedman says while the vote passed with 91 per cent in favour of the new collective agreement, it doesn’t necessarily mean the association members are happy with it, but felt they had no other options.

“I think faculty would have been prepared to take major job action if they felt there was any major gain to be had,” Friedman says. “No matter acton we took it wouldn’t result in a better deal. They were resigned to this as the best deal we could get.”

He says the faculty association went into the negotiations with three major issues. One was addressed by the agreement — a better compensation model for faculty. However the issues the university's reliance on contract faculty instead of full-time positions and the role of faculty in academic governance were not addressed.

“I’ve already asked for a meeting with the Provost. I want to sit down with her as soon as possible to start moving forward,” Friedman says. “No matter how widespread the use of contract faculty are across the country we feel at Thompson Rivers we can do better.”

He will also be addressing the strained relations between administration and faculty.

“We need to do some of the work cooperatively to address that,” Friedman says.

TRU vice-president advancement Christopher Sequin says the university’s Board of Governors will be voting on the agreement Monday morning, Feb. 15.

“We’re all pleased at the results coming from the faculty association,” Sequin says.

The faculty association has around 650 members, 459 of which voted.

The agreement ends March 31, 2019.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Brendan Kergin at or call 250-819-6089. To contact an editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

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