AUFA Talks break down, Wolfville NS

Conciliation talks between the Acadia University Faculty Association (AUFA) and the Acadia Board of Governors broke down for a second time shortly after 7 p.m. on Friday, January 30th. Conciliator Jarrod Baboushkin has indicated that he will file his report with the Minister of Labour and Advanced Education on Monday, February 2nd, triggering a 14-day waiting period before a strike or lockout could begin.

AUFA President Rachel Brickner reported that the two sides were close to a deal, with AUFA making “significant concessions” in its last offer on the number of tenure-track positions and compensation, asking for increases below the cost of living. Key components of the Board’s offer were contingent on enrolment levels and pension reform. Brickner noted that Acadia’s Pension Plan includes other employee groups, and this would hand control over AUFA’s contract to people not in the Association. “AUFA made every effort to reach a collective agreement,” Brickner said, “but in the end, we could not compromise further without jeopardizing the academic integrity of the university.”

A twelve-hour conciliation session on January 16th failed to produce an agreement, and the AUFA membership voted overwhelmingly on January 22nd to reject that offer from the Board. Brickner says that AUFA’s Negotiating Team remains ready to resume talks if the Board will improve its offer.