Welcome to the SMUFU Website

The agreement between the Board of Governors of Saint Mary’s University and the Saint Mary’s University Faculty Union on the Appointment of Academic Administrators –  November 25, 2015.  MOU Appointment of Academic Administrators

Saint Mary’s University & SMUFU; Vacation Pay Grievance arbitration decision
Saint Mary’s University & SMUFU

Protest against Bill 100 – Sign the petition in the Union Office

SMUFU Submission to the NS Legislature Law Amendment Committee denoucing Bill 100

LATEST:  Faculty Union Position about the closed presidential search


COLLECTIVE AGREEMENT:  Saint Mary’s University and Saint Mary’s University Faculty Union Collective Agreement for 2015-2018. To view the Collective Agreement in pdf format, Collective Agreement September 1 2015 to August 31 2018 – Final Signed or word format, Collective Agreement September 1 2015 to August 31 2018.

Changes to 2012-2015 Collective Agreement



Guidelines for Pregnancy and Parental Leaves in pdf format or in word format

The HR Fact Sheet on Pregnancy & Parental Leaves can be found on the HR website under “Policies and Procedures”, click here

Did you know…

Did you knows………

February 4, 2016

Important news, “Did you know that electronic voting is not prohibited by the Collective Agreement?”

In response to recent queries, we would like to answer some frequently asked questions about voting procedures in departments.

The relevant article of the CA, Article 7.3.3, states:

“Employees have a right to vote in Department and Faculty meetings except where there is a personal conflict of interest as specified in Article 15.3.30 or elsewhere restricted in this Collective Agreement.” 

This means that all members of a Department are entitled to vote on appointments, tenure, promotion, and renewal files, except where there is a demonstrable conflict of interest, or where they are subject to other restrictions. In the absence of such conditions or restrictions, every member is entitled to vote: they do not have to be present at a meeting to cast their vote.

A few FAQs are:

1)   Who is entitled to vote on hiring?

All members of the department are entitled to vote, except in the exceptional circumstances underlined in the CA.

2)   How do we count the votes?

There are different requirements for voting on hires as against other votes, e.g. promotion, tenure, renewal.

  1. a) For votes relating to new appointments, a majority of all eligible members of the department is required (see Article 10.1.20(h) for eligible member appointments):

 e.g. If your department has a complement of 12 eligible members, 7 ‘Yes’ votes are required for the motion to pass; that is, 50% +1.

  1. b) For other issues, a majority of all members casting their votes is required:

e.g. If your department has a complement of 12 but only 9 members cast their vote, a majority of 5 ‘Yes’ votes is required for the motion to pass.

3)   Am I allowed to vote while on sabbatical or administrative leave?

Yes. The CA does not exclude members on leave from voting. If a department member expresses their intention to vote while on leave, all reasonable efforts should be made to make the relevant files available to them in advance of the vote. Files may be posted to SMUPort for viewing restricted to Department members.

4)   Can a department use ‘anonymous balloting’ for tenure and promotion?

Yes. Departments are not required to have open votes. However, voting is not anonymous in the sense that all votes have to be recorded and tallied against a list of eligible voters. What is required is that the voting system be transparent and accountable, as well as confidential. This means that a record of eligible voting members should be tallied with a record of who has cast a vote while keeping the voter’s choice confidential.

5)   Are departments allowed to organize the vote electronically?

Yes. There is nothing in the CA to preclude a department from using electronic voting. It can be helpful to facilitate members on sabbatical leave, for example. A record must be kept of eligible voters and votes cast, to ensure that only eligible members vote, and that no one votes more than once. Every effort should be made to keep the actual choice of the voter confidential.

6)   Can the Senate or Dean’s Office be used to conduct the vote?

Yes. The CA does not preclude the use of the Senate or Dean’s Office to organize and tally a departmental vote. Again, a record of the vote must be kept.

7)   What happens in the event of a tied vote?

In the event of a tied vote, the motion does not carry.

8)   How do we count abstentions?

There are two kinds of vote, votes for appointments and all departmental other votes (e.g. tenure, promotion, renewal, proposal of a new course, etc.), and the situation with abstentions is different for each.

In the case of votes for appointment, Article 10.1.20 (h) of the Collective Agreement requires ‘majority approval’ of all eligible voting members to carry a motion.

In a department of 12, for example, 7 votes are required for a majority. In this case, were there to be abstentions, you would still need a majority of 7, as the vote is counted based on the number of eligible voting members (12).

E.g. If the vote to appoint a new department member was tallied as 6 (Yes), 5 (No), 1 (Abstention), then the vote would not carry.

The situation is different for other votes (e.g. tenure, promotion, renewal, new course proposal, etc.). In this situation, the above vote would carry, because what is required is a simple majority, and abstentions do not contribute to the tally. If a vote for tenure in a department of 12 members attracts 10 votes, then the result is calculated out of 10 votes. Of these, any abstentions are set aside as neutral in determining the result.

E.g. If a vote for tenure in a department of 12 attracted only 10 votes, and these were distributed 5 (Yes), 4 (No), 1 (Abstention), then the motion carries.

In the case of votes other than those for appointment, abstentions are considered to be votes cast, but they do not count towards the tally. Many people use an abstention as a way to participate in the governance of the department without influencing the result on a particular issue.

SMUFU Executive


March 11, 2015

Important News from the Union – Did you know…

…that Faculty Members’ who hold probationary or tenured appointments and full time Librarians have an allocation of $464 for 2014-2015 to support activities which enhance performance, ability or effectiveness as a teacher, librarian and/or scholar at the University ?

The Professional Development Expenses (Article 16.7) is available annually but must be claimed by March 31st.  You are eligible for reimbursement of expenses up to a maximum of $464 this year. Eligible expenses must have been incurred between April 1st 2014 and March 31st 2015.  This is a benefit for which I’m sure all members have incurred allowable expenditures.  Allowable expenses include, but are not limited to, expenditures for which you have not already been reimbursed such as conference registration fees or travel costs above those covered by other funds, membership fees to professional organizations, books and subscriptions to scholarly journals, or other expenses directly related to enhancing performance, ability or effectiveness as a teacher, librarian and/or scholar at the University (Article 16.7.2). Remember, you must file an expense report through the regular channels before March 31st to be eligible for reimbursement. Also, any unspent amount cannot carry over to the next fiscal year, so spend it all right now if you have not done so yet!!!

If you have any questions about the process or the forms to use, your Dean’s office should be able to provide you with the needed assistance.

SMUFU Executive

October 28, 2014
Important News from the Union – Did you know…

…that the university recently changed the way in which it hires its Presidents?

Previously, faculty and staff were presented an opportunity to meet with, and provide feedback about, the short-listed candidates. On this occasion, we will only be able to meet with the candidate they select.

This is part of a worrying trend towards non-consultation at Saint Mary’s University.

It was because of this lack of consultation around the recent survey and program prioritization measures that the SMUFU executive counselled non-participation: we had no say in the survey’s formulation and we have no idea how it is to be used. It is not that we would do nothing, but that we feel any new policies at SMU to need to be the result of extensive, collegial collaboration and investigation.

Accordingly, at our last Executive meeting, we passed a motion allowing us to set up our own survey of the challenges at SMU. In the coming weeks, a committee will be meeting to design the survey, which we hope will contribute to a more collaborative experience of working with our administrative colleagues as we ‘Go Forward’.

We have opted to conduct our own survey, rather than participate in the one presented to us, for a number of reasons:

1) Over the years, we have had recurrent problems getting reliable data from the administration on key issues, e.g. faculty complement, equity etc.

2) The lack of substantive consultation of faculty on measures such as ‘Go Forward’ was felt to be problematic.

3) We are concerned about the tendency towards under-representation of faculty on such measures as ‘Go Forward’, as well as other key committees and initiatives, such as the Presidential search

4) We would like a chance for faculty to help shape the conversations around ‘program prioritization’ and other such measures. For this to happen, we need to know where we are, what challenges we face, and how we might best meet them.

Do please contact us at the faculty office with any questions, observations or concerns.

SMUFU Executive
October 15, 2014
Important News from the Union – Did you know…

…that new and improved benefits have been added to our Health and Wellness Benefit Plan at no additional cost to you for most benefits starting September 1st, 2014?

Thanks to hard negotiation from the Health and Wellness Benefit Plan trustees, the following benefits will be added to our health and benefit plan.

Very Recent Improvements Without Added Costs:

This proposal provides all members with substantial immediate improvements in their Health/Dental benefits, the most expensive of which is orthodontics, followed by vision care. Members will not pay additional money for Health and Dental premiums in the first year after the changes take effect (until September 1, 2015). These extra costs will be paid from the accumulated surplus of the Trust.

Summary of improvements:

No increase in premiums:

1. Increase coverage for hearing aids; improve coverage for services provided by Chiropractors, Osteopaths, and Podiatrists; added coverage for psychological services. Physiotherapy coverage remains unchanged at a max. of 20 visits/year.
2. Improvements to orthotics, vision care, and orthodontic benefits

With increase in premiums

3. Improvements to Life Insurance with increased rates of insurance

A detailed report about the increased and added coverage of benefits is available on the SMUFU Executive June 2014 Improvement in Benefits. You should also have received by now your new Group Benefit Plan booklet. If not, please request one from the Faculty Union Office.

Finally, the improved benefits at no additional cost to you will remain as is until September 1st 2015. The cost to maintain the additional benefits after September 1st 2015 will have to be absorbed either by an increase in the university’s contribution to our Health Plan at the next round of negotiations (currently at 2.77% of total SMUFU salary mass) or by an increase in member’s premium. Otherwise, the benefits will have to revert back to what it was prior to September 1st 2014.

SMUFU Executive
April 1, 2014
Important News from the Union – Did you know…

…that the Faculty Union donates money every year for charities and/or socially oriented groups and organizations?

The SMUFU Social Benefit Committee, which is chaired this year by Joyce Thomson (Library), has an annual allocation of money which it can use for Social Benefit grants. The Social Benefit Committee is responsible for receiving grant requests and making recommendations to the Faculty Union Executive for approval. SMUFU members can recommend any particular charities and/or socially oriented groups and organizations to the SMUFU Social Benefit Committee. The Social Benefit Committee can also consider in extraordinary circumstances requests to assist with individuals’ specials needs. Normally financial support for a Social Benefits grant will not exceed $1000.00 and donations will not be awarded for the same cause or group for more than two consecutive years.

If you have any questions about the recommendation process for a Social Benefit grant, please contact either Karen Crowell (Union Administrative Officer) or Joyce Thomson

SMUFU Executive
March 25, 2014
Important News from the Union – Did you know…

…that important dates regarding application for renewal, tenure and promotion are coming soon ?

By April 1, Deans are required to advise Departmental Chairpersons and the Vice President, Academic & Research, of the names of faculty members who will be eligible for renewal of appointment and/or regular tenure consideration in the ensuing academic year (Article 11.1.10). If you believe that you should be up for renewal in 2014-2015 (i.e., you are currently in your second year of service at SMU) or for tenure (i.e. you are currently in your fourth year of service at SMU), and you have not received from your Dean a notification that you are up for renewal or tenure, please contact your Dean to clarify your renewal or tenure application status.

Members need to know that applications for promotion, tenure, accelerated promotion or early consideration of tenure, including supporting material as defined in Article 11.1.12, are the responsibility of the Faculty Member. Such applications shall normally be made according to the following schedule:

April 15 Candidates shall inform department chairs of their intention to apply and provide them with their list of potential assessors.

May 15 The Department Chair shall provide the Dean with a list of applicants, together with the applicants’ and Department’s list of potential assessors.

June 15 The Dean shall finalize the list of assessors to be consulted.

June 15 Candidates shall submit the original and three (3) copies of their application file to the Dean and one (1) copy to the Department Chair.
The Department has the responsibility to complete its review and communicate its judgement according to the following schedule:

(a) Renewal of Appointment: no later than October 15 of the Academic Year during which the appointment terminates;

(b) Promotion: no later than February 15 of the Academic Year preceding the possible date of promotion;

(c) Tenure: no later than February 15 of the Academic Year during which the appointment terminates.

Faculty Members who are eligible to apply for tenure and promotion at the same time may submit one application file to be considered for both. Although application for promotion and tenure may be made at the same time, the different criteria laid out in Articles 11.1.21 and 11.1.22 for Promotion and Tenure, respectively, must be followed for each consideration.

If you have any questions about the application process, please consider coming to the Faculty Union Workshop on Renewal, Tenure and Promotion on March 28th, 2014 (1-3 pm). This workshop provides a lot of insights on what constitute a successful application.

SMUFU Executive

March 13, 1014
Important News from the Union – Did you know…

…that additional “Faculty Parking” spaces have been added to the campus parking lot recently?

The Union has been able to negotiate the addition of ten (10) new “Faculty Parking” spaces to the Sobey parking lot located behind the building (on Tower Rd). “Faculty Parking” spaces are available only to SMUFU members (Faculty members and Librarians) that have a “Faculty Parking” parking permit, not the “General Parking” permit.

SMUFU Executive