FNUniv Sessional Certification Order Issued to URFA. Collective Bargaining Begins in August!

Dear FNUniv Sessional Academic Staff,

Following a very successful certification vote in May, the Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board has now issued a certification order to the University of Regina Faculty Association providing union recognition and collective bargaining rights for sessional academic staff at the First Nations University of Canada.

Happily, efforts are already underway to commence collective agreement negotiations.

A Bargaining Committee consisting of volunteers from the sessional academic staff has been formed, and is supported by URFA staff Colin Tether (Member Services Officer) and Jesse Payne (Organizer) and an Advisory Committee.  Thank you to Juliet Bushi, Bridget Keating, Maxy Ojukwu, Shannon Pettem and Christian Thompson for their service on the Bargaining Committee.

The Bargaining Committee and representatives of the FNUniv administration have together received training in Interest-based Bargaining provided by the Saskatchewan Ministry of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety, which will also be providing facilitation and support throughout our negotiations.

We are pleased to report that the representatives of the union and employer Bargaining Committees have agreed to 13 bargaining dates between August and early October 2016, and are already working cooperatively in order to be prepared for productive discussions when negotiations begin in two weeks.

Finally, a big thank you to everyone who completed the FNUniv Sessional Bargaining Survey a few weeks ago.  Your valuable feedback is being considered carefully by the Bargaining Committee.  There will be many more opportunities to provide feedback, in the form of surveys, union meetings and one-on-one discussions with URFA representatives.  If you have any questions about the process or wish to provide input or find out more, please contact Jesse Payne at Jesse.Payne@uregina.ca.

Everyone involved is excited and optimistic about the process ahead.  We look forward to providing further bargaining updates as these historic negotiations progress.


Call for Volunteers

In anticipation of our certification order from the Labour Board later this week, preparations for the negotiation of a first collective agreement for FNUniv Sessionals have commenced.  URFA is seeking volunteers willing to assist with the collective bargaining process.  Both a Chief Negotiator and bargaining team members are required, and members of the new bargaining unit from all across the province are encouraged to get involved.

Volunteers are also needed to sit on an Advisory Committee (comprised of Sessionals and other URFA members from across First Nations University of Canada and the University and its affiliated colleges). It is anticipated the Negotiating Committee and the Advisory Committee will work closely to prioritize the issues for negotiations.

We would like to advance a list of volunteers for approval to the next URFA Executive Committee meeting scheduled for
May 18, 2016.   If you are interested in participating on either the Bargaining Committee or the Advisory Committee, please respond via e-mail to urfa@uregina.ca no later than 4:30 p.m. on May 17, 2016. Please provide a summary of any relevant negotiating experience when advancing your name for consideration, and indicate whether you wish to serve as Chief Negotiator, as a member of the negotiating committee or as a member of the Advisory Committee to the Negotiating Committee.

If you would like further information on the activities of these Committees or the Chief Negotiator, please contact Bettyann Cox at 306-585-4586.

Thank you.

Bettyann Cox, Executive Director
University of Regina Faculty Association
Room 122 Campion College
Phone: 306.585.4586  Fax: 306.585.5208
Email: Bettyann.Cox@uregina.ca


FNUniv Sessional Instructors Vote to Join URFA

Dear First Nations University of Canada (FNUniv) Sessional Employees;

On behalf of the URFA Executive and all URFA members, I would like to take this opportunity to extend a warm welcome to you as the newest members of our Union.  Union organizer, Jesse Payne, attended at the Labour Relations Board this morning as a union scrutineer for the counting of the ballots.  We are extremely pleased to announce there was a resounding acceptance of URFA as your exclusive bargaining representative.  We take this vote of confidence extremely seriously and will do our utmost to support you as we move ahead to bargain a first collective agreement over the coming weeks and months.  The first step will be sending out a call for volunteers to the advisory and bargaining committees so keep an eye on your emails.

We are extremely pleased to announce there was a resounding acceptance of URFA as your exclusive bargaining representative. We have been advised that the Labour Relations Board should issue the Certification Order next week.

We look forward to getting to know you all personally in the days and weeks ahead.  Please do not hesitate to contact us at any time should you have any questions.  Together we will work to obtain fair and equitable conditions of employment for you, which are long overdue.

With warmest regards

Dennis Fitzpatrick, President
University of Regina Faculty Association (URFA)

Room 325 College West
Regina, SK   S4S 0A2
(306) 585-4378    Fax: (306) 585-5208


On April 18, 2016, the Labour Board provided a ballot to each eligible FNUniv Sessional Instructor through registered mail.  If you receive a ballot, you are eligible to vote, regardless of whether or not you signed a membership application card.  Once you have voted, or if you have not received a ballot by April 22, please confirm with URFA by contacting the organizer at Jesse.Payne@uregina.ca.

Casting your ballot ~

Your vote will be confidential.  Neither URFA nor the employer will know how you vote. Please read the material provided by the Labour Board, follow the instructions provided, and vote without delay. Ballots must be mailed back to the Labour Board, and received no later than May 2, 2016 in order to be counted.  If a majority of those who cast ballots vote in favour of joining URFA, a bargaining unit will be formed, followed by preparations to begin collective bargaining for a first contract.

Fairness and a collective voice ~

The right to join a union and engage in collective bargaining is legally protected by The Saskatchewan Employment Act. Collective bargaining allows employees to negotiate improvements to working conditions such as wages and benefits, fair hiring procedures, and access to teaching resources.  URFA represents faculty and administrative, professional and technical staff at FNUniv.  Sessional Instructors have the same right as their colleagues to representation, and deserve the right to negotiate a fair contract as equal and valued members of the community.

Therefore, URFA is encouraging all eligible Sessional Instructors to participate in the vote, and urging supporters to VOTE ‘YES.’

View the Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board ‘Notice of Vote.’ 

View the Labour Board’s April 15 ‘Direction for Vote.’

View URFA’s VOTE YES info sheet and FAQ.



(April 8, 2016 – Saskatchewan) – The University of Regina Faculty Association (URFA) announced today it has filed a Certification Application with the Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board to seek workplace representation and collective bargaining rights for Sessional Instructors at the First Nations University of Canada (FNUniv).

“URFA is pleased with the significant support that has been received and expressed during this organizing campaign over the last four weeks,” URFA Chair Dennis Fitzpatrick said during a press conference held at the FNUniv Regina campus earlier today.  “We are optimistic that this support will be sustained as these employees exercise their voting rights under the Saskatchewan Employment Act to have URFA as their exclusive representative for collective bargaining with the FNUniv.”

To read the full announcement, click here.



Sessional Instructor Organizing Campaign Begins!

At the request of Sessional Instructors at the First Nations University of Canada (FNUniv), the University of Regina Faculty Association (URFA) is supporting a campaign to attain workplace representation and collective bargaining rights through certification under The Saskatchewan Employment Act.

Currently, Sessional Instructors at FNUniv are among the remaining few communities of academic instructors in the province not represented by a union or professional association. Representation through URFA would allow Sessional Instructors at FNUniv to collectively determine the workplace issues important to them, and to work in community with their employer to negotiate fair and equitable working conditions.

Collective bargaining rights would provide a mechanism to ensure that the contribution Sessional Instructors make to the success of the university is recognized. Improved working conditions for Sessional Instructors will yield benefits for the university, for the students, and for the community.

Read the full text of the announcement here: Campaign Announcement.