Member Support & Assistance
NEED HELP WITH A WORKPLACE ISSUE?
Members are encouraged to contact the Membership Services Office to ask questions about their employment at UVic or to seek assistance with workplace-related concerns. If you do have a workplace-related concern, we encourage you to contact the Membership Services Office as early as possible.
The UVICFA advocates for the interests of our Members through the negotiation and implementation of the Collective Agreement. We also provide direct support to Members by helping with workplace-related concerns and by answering questions about the CA, including (but not limited to):
- Career Progression
- Compensation and Benefits
- Health Benefits
- Teaching Assignments
- Work Environment
- Academic Matters
- Academic Freedom
- Scholarly Integrity
Support from the Membership Services Office can also include:
- Providing general information and advice about the application or interpretation of the Collective Agreement (CA)
- Accompanying you to meetings with your supervisor, Dean, or the University
- Representing you in negotiations with your supervisor, Dean, or the University
- Working with you to identify possible informal and/or formal dispute resolution processes for workplace-related concerns
- Recommending a particular matter be referred to a grievance
- Escalating a grievance to arbitration (when all other means of resolving the matter have been exhausted)
For more information on how to access support for a workplace-related concern, please contact our Membership Services Office.
When trying to address a workplace-related concern, informal means can be pursued as a potential path to resolution. Negotiations can be conducted over a period of time where representatives from the Association and University are present.
If you have a workplace-related concern, the first step is to contact our Membership Services Office. Our Membership Services Advisors will work with you to determine available means of support and to identify formal and informal paths to resolution.
If you use the Membership Services Office for advice as you work towards informal resolution with the Administration, you will retain complete control of the process.
All Members are also able to file informal complaints through UVic’s office of Equity and Human Rights (EQHR). If you choose to file an informal complaint, or one is filed against you, you have the right to Association representation throughout this informal resolution process. (Please note that EQHR is not a general complaints department – rather it assists community members with workplace concerns related to equity, bullying, discrimination and harassment and helps guide them through the range of available resolution options.)
Depending on the outcome of an informal or formal complaint, EQHR may decide to recommend that an environmental assessment of a unit be conducted where a third party assesses the workplace issues at hand and makes recommendations to resolve them.
If an informal resolution deviates from the terms of the Collective Agreement, it may require the consent of the Association. The Association is responsible for making its own decisions regarding participation in such resolutions, and may refuse to consent if doing so could compromise the interests of the membership as a whole.
A grievance is a formal dispute between the Association and the University about the interpretation or application of the Collective Agreement. A grievance initiates a formal resolution process.
A concern being grieved must relate to the interpretation or application of the Collective Agreement. The only parties to a grievance are the Association and the University.
When possible, the Membership Services Office will pursue informal resolution in consultation with you. If we are unable to reach a settlement through informal means, our Advising and Dispute Resolution Committee may find it appropriate and/or necessary to file a grievance. A grievance is usually only filed when efforts towards informal resolution have failed.
If you are interested in representation in the form of a grievance, you can request that the Association file a grievance. The decision on whether or not to grieve will be made by the Advising and Dispute Resolution Committee after receiving information about the case and a recommendation, based on advice from the Membership Services Office.
The ownership of a grievance filed by the Association on behalf of a member lies with the Association.
Within a month of requesting that the Association file a grievance, you will know whether the Association intends to file it or not. If a grievance is filed, in most cases, it will be filed within 60 working days of the Membership Services Office becoming aware of an issue. However, some grievances have shorter timelines specified in the Collective Agreement.
A grievance can last from one week to two years or more. The specific facts underlying a grievance has a significant impact on the time between filing and resolution. If a grievance has a reasonable prospect of informal resolution by way of settlement agreement, it may take weeks or months to finalize. Implementing the terms of the agreement may also take months or years depending on the complexity of the settlement and if there are any disputes over terms of the settlement.
Once a grievance has been filed, there is a mandatory informal resolution period before a grievance may be referred to arbitration. Once that period has expired, the Association or the University may refer the grievance to arbitration at any time, unless the grievance is settled or withdrawn.
Arbitration is a legal proceeding, similar to a trial, where the Association and University each present evidence and arguments to a third party (the arbitrator), who then renders a binding decision about the issue(s) in dispute.
If a grievance gets referred to arbitration, it may take a couple months before arbitration dates are set and then a few months to wait for those dates to happen. Additional time may be required if a longer hearing becomes necessary or the arbitrator takes a long time to render a decision.
Not all grievances lead to arbitration and a grievance may be settled without the need for an arbitrator.
Following the filing of a grievance, there is a mandatory waiting period before a grievance may be referred to arbitration. During this waiting period, there is an opportunity for the Association and the University to explore negotiating a settlement.
If the Association and the University have not reached a settlement when the waiting period has expired, then the formal arbitration process will proceed. Our Executive Committee makes the decision whether or not to proceed to arbitration, based on a recommendation from the Advising and Dispute Resolution Committee.
There are two types of arbitration:
- Regular Arbitration – This is an adjudicative process led by a neutral third party (the Arbitrator). The Arbitrator will hear evidence and arguments from the Association and the University before rendering a binding decision based on the facts applicable to law. Both parties have a say in the selection of the arbitrator. If they cannot agree on an arbitrator, they will follow the procedure in the Collective Agreement.
- Expedited Arbitration – This is faster than a regular arbitration and it is similar to a normal arbitration except with a shorter timeline issued by the government in order to set hearing dates.
The UVICFA has the exclusive authority to administer the terms and conditions of the Collective Agreement on behalf of our members. As such, we have the authority to determine whether to file a grievance and whether to refer a grievance to arbitration.
Members can appeal decisions made by the UVICFA through filing a formal appeal. To do this, please write to the Membership Services Office.
If you have exhausted your appeal processes within the UVICFA and believe the final decision is unfair, you can make a complaint to the Labour Relations Board under sections 12 and 13 of the Labour Relations Code.
For more information on informal resolution, grievances, arbitration, or appeals, please contact our Membership Services Office.