LTAs and the CA

Please note: The exhaustive process of finalizing revisions to the restructured collective agreement is almost concluded and we expect to have the full-text available electronically and in hard copy shortly. Meantime, however, an important operational question relating to new language in the collective agreement has arisen and TUFA’s Chief Negotiator has prepared the following member advisory. (Marcus Harvey, Executive Director)

Dear Colleagues,

In the latest round of bargaining, TUFA negotiated a new clause in the CA (full text below) that outlines a mechanism for considering incumbent LTAs for a subsequent LTA position without undertaking a full job search. The intent behind the new language, as communicated in the ratification documents shared with the membership, was to establish “a fast-track process for departments wishing to renew current LTAs.” At the bargaining table, we were clear with the Employer that we did not want this mechanism to preclude or disqualify members from consideration for any position (hence the last sentence affirming the right of incumbents to apply for posted positions regardless of whether they were recommended by their department for extension of their contract). In the context of the language of the Collective Agreement, TUFA is of the following view:

In order to consider the suitability of an incumbent, where it feels such information is necessary, the personnel committee may ask the incumbent for evidence including, for example, a current CV and evidence of their teaching effectiveness (note: the new CA affirms that student evaluations alone do not constitute an adequate evaluation of teaching performance).

Should there be multiple current LTAs in a department, TUFA and the Employer have agreed that the default will be to advertise the position(s) and conduct an open search. Exceptions to this may arise in the event that there is an exact match between the incumbents and the number and nature of positions to be filled, and the positions are of the same duration. The intent of this new “fast-track” provision was not to circumvent fair process, nor to provide a “right of first refusal” type of mechanism, rather it was to designed to address requests made by Departments to rehire without external searches when a qualified incumbent exists.

When an LTA position has been provided for in the department’s staffing plan, and there exists an incumbent LTA who is interested in the position, the department’s personnel committee must make a recommendation to the Dean that is either (a) a positive recommendation of the incumbent for the position (this recommendation will be accompanied by acknowledgement that the committee turned their mind to the suitability of the incumbent for the position including, for example, reference to supporting evidence) or (b) an indication that the committee prefers an open search. If the personnel committee indicates that they prefer an open search this will not be interpreted as a negative recommendation against an incumbent, and should not be held against the incumbent in any subsequent search to fill the position. In other words, a department must turn their mind to the suitability of an incumbent, but may, without further rationale, decide they prefer to conduct an open search.

Interpreting the language in this way ensures that this mechanism to expedite the renewal of individual LTA members does not restrict departments from holding competitive searches where a personnel committee believes that to be appropriate but at the same time, protects an incumbent’s right to fair consideration in an open search. It is also consistent with the provision elsewhere in the Collective Agreement that: “No limited term appointment shall carry any presumption of an additional appointment.” Put another way, the Department retains broad latitude to not make positive recommendations for subsequent contracts if the personnel committee believes that an open search is warranted. In working with the Employer through Joint Committee to put this language into effect, TUFA signed a Memorandum of Understanding to exempt decisions made under this article from the grievance procedure. This reflects, our common understanding that LTAs do not have an enforceable right to be renewed, as well as our recognition that we must protect the rights of incumbent LTAs to seek re-employment through the application process itself.

Full text from new CA:

Where a Department is authorized to fill a limited term position the Department Personnel Committee shall first consider the suitability for the position of any limited term appointee(s) currently holding an appointment in the Department. The Department Personnel Committee shall make a recommendation to the Dean concerning the suitability of any such incumbent members for the authorized position. If a positive recommendation is made, the Dean shall either extend the incumbent member’s contract to fill the position or direct the Department to begin an open search in which all incumbents are eligible to apply.

We appreciate your patience as we work through the implementation of this new language. If you have any further questions please don’t hesitate to contact TUFA.

In solidarity,

Sue Wurtele
Chief Negotiator