Labour unrest over: faculty contract approved by Laurentian University board

Both sides have made gains in Laurentian University's new contract with faculty. The school and the union reached a new 3-year deal late last week. The professors ratified the deal Friday, while the board of governors approve the deal Tuesday.

School's board of governors approved new 3-year contract Tuesday

Laurentian University has renamed its department of earth sciences the Harquail School of Earth Sciences after a $10 million donation from the Harquail family foundation. (Laurentian University / Facebook)

There is peace at Laurentian University.

It's quiet on the campus in Sudbury, Ont., because students are off on reading break, but there is labour peace as well.

After ten days on the picket line, the full-time and sessional professors reached a new agreement with the post-secondary school.

The labour dispute dissolved late last week after the Laurentian University Faculty Association and the university reached a new three year agreement. The professors ratified the deal on Friday.

The board of governors unanimously approved the deal Tuesday.

The two main sticking points were pensions and workload, says Pierre Zundel, Laurentian's interim president. However, they were able to find common ground on both.
Pierre Zundel is the interim president of Laurentian University in Sudbury. (Markus Schwabe/CBC)

"On one hand a commitment by the university to sit down with the professors to talk over equity in workload. That was a big issue for the faculty union. And on their side their willingness to sit down with us and have a conversation about equity in pension contributions."

The wage increases negotiated are comparable to other universities of the same size Zundel says.

"They [are] competitive salaries."

There were a few other smaller adjustments to the agreement, including the workload for master lecturers, and changes to salaries for contract or sessional faculty.

The three-year contract will expire June 30, 2020.

The school will now try to work on relationships to reduce any lingering animosity says Zundel.

"If there are issues, — you know to a person on campus — we're thrilled that people will be back in the classroom, in their offices, in their labs doing their work. Looking forward to seeing them here again, so [animosity is] possible, but I think we've got some good plans in place to help overcome some of that."

Students at Laurentian in Barrie will return to class on Wednesday, while it will be next Monday before students in Sudbury return, due to their scheduled reading break.

Zundel says professors will likely begin trickling back to the Sudbury campus later this week.