Conciliation between Memorial University and the Memorial University Faculty Union (MUNFA), the union representing 800 faculty members, has reached an impasse today.
“The offer on the table represents substantial improvements in terms of salary, increased benefits for term appointments, enhanced parental leave and increased compensation for teaching extra courses,” said Dr. Neil Bose, interim provost and vice-president academic. “We call on MUNFA leadership to take this offer to its membership for consideration before moving forward to strike action that will disrupt the semester for students.”
Highlights of the university’s current offer include:
- Increasing its salary offer to 12 per cent over four years. For example, a faculty member who is today receiving the average tenure-track/tenured salary (assistant, associate and full) would increase from $137,300 to $164,084 (includes applicable step increases) by September 2026, based on current salary data.*
- Providing an additional 20 weeks of supplemented parental leave, which tops up Employment Insurance maternity benefits to full salary for 52 weeks in total.
- Increased compensation for teaching additional courses: rate increases immediately by 24 per cent from $5,144 to $6,360 effective September 2022, going up to $6,749 by September 2025.
Additionally, the increased benefits for those on term appointments include:
- Full $2,000 signing bonus for all term appointments who taught for any period in the 21/22 or 22/23 academic years. Memorial offered this $2,000 bonus to all MUNFA members but the union declined.
- Adding an additional paid month to each term appointment, allowing time to prepare their courses.
- Providing for course remission in recognition of service for teaching appointments.
- Annual professional development and travel expense allowances increase by 125 per cent to $1,800 for teaching term appointments.
MUNFA has not moved on its demand for a salary increase of 14 per cent over four years.
Memorial is proposing changes to health benefits for retirees, that are consistent with the benefits already in effect for all other Memorial employees and public sector employees, and which do not impact current employees. MUNFA would not agree to that proposal.
MUNFA has also noted that collegial governance remains an outstanding issue. The university strongly upholds the collegial governance of our bicameral system (Senate and Board of Regents). MUNFA as an entity is seeking greater input in areas currently in the purview of the Board of Regents. Faculty members are currently involved in all aspects of academic matters including the hiring of all academic staff from their peers to senior leaders. Additionally, the university has requested that faculty representation be added to the Board of Regents when the provincial government updates the Memorial University Act.
“We believe the university’s current offer is fair and balanced and we call on MUNFA to allow its members to review it in detail before moving to a strike. We believe this shows a willingness by the university to reach a middle ground and is reasonable in this current fiscal climate. We are extremely disappointed that we have reached an impasse and call on MUNFA to reconsider its stance,” said Dr. Bose.
“We value our faculty highly, they are the key to success at Memorial. We encourage MUNFA to come back to the negotiating table so that we can minimize disruption for students as much as possible,” said Dr. Bose.
In the event MUNFA does move ahead with strike action on Monday, Jan. 30, the university will provide further updates to students and employees about operational impacts.
For more information about labour relations, visit our website.
*This has been updated as of 6 p.m. on Jan. 29, 2023 to clarify this includes tenured and tenure-track professors.