For the first time in the University of Victoria’s 50 year history and in the wake of a successful certification drive, professors and librarians will have a chance to form a union.
Jason Price, vice-president of the UVic Faculty Association, said Thursday that more than 45 per cent of its 850 members signed the necessary membership cards.
“I can’t help but think of the historic significance of this,” he said, referring to former unionization attempts made by the association in 1988, 1999 and 2008. “It makes sense that it took 25 years to make a decision because it’s an important one.”
Price said faculty members seeking unionization isn’t about salaries. Currently, as an association, they don’t have the power to grieve issues such as working conditions, tenure and long-term disability during contract negotiations with the university.
The next step in the process is to file an application with the Labour Relations Board, which will verify that the 45 per cent threshold has been met. If so, a union certification vote will be held at UVic, likely in January or February.
“I’m sure the faculty will make the right decision, and the right decision is clear. Certification is the way forward to address issues, and it’s the only way to effectively represent our membership,” Price said. “The vast majority of our colleagues (across Canada) have moved to certification because it gives us a toolbox of legal rights.”
The University of Victoria administration says it hasn’t taken a position either way on certification. Spokesperson Bruce Kilpatrick says, however, said that the existing relationship between the two parties has worked successfully in years past and continues to work well.