June 24, 2020

Graduate Students’ Association and University of Calgary ratify 32-month collective agreement

Agreement strengthens relationships and rights of both parties

The University of Calgary’s Board of Governors, Human Resources Governance Committee and the Graduate Students’ Association (GSA) have ratified a new collective agreement, taking effect May 1, 2020 and expiring Dec. 31, 2022.

Bargaining between UCalgary and the GSA began in February 2020, with all parties coming to the table with thoughtful and meaningful discussion. Bargaining moved online to Zoom in March when the campus response to COVID-19 required a pivot to meeting in a physically distant way. An agreement in principle was reached quickly, with the formal ratification process ending recently. 

Prioritizing appointments and funding

A new letter of understanding provides a short-term appointment in the Graduate Assistant (Teaching) and Graduate Assistant (Non-Teaching) ranks. Additionally, under the agreement, some of the funding restrictions on hiring Graduate Assistant (Research) in business and administrative units has been removed, creating new possibilities for employing graduate students across the university

University of Calgary Provost Dru Marshall says, “This agreement reflects the hard work and dedication of both committees. I am proud that we are able to provide certainty and support to our graduate students and thank both parties for reaching an agreement, especially during these unique circumstances.”

GSA pleased with agreement

The GSA represents approximately 6,900 graduate students and administers over 1,600 contracts per semester. Those who participated in the electronic ratification voted 88 per cent in favor of this agreement.

Brit Paris, associate vice-president, labour of the Graduate Students’ Association, says this new agreement includes language that not only clarifies the rights and responsibilities of graduate students, but also makes the agreement easier to navigate.                                                        .

“In addition to language that clarifies the rights and responsibilities of graduate students in matters such as investigating plagiarism, we were also able to structurally simplify the agreement, allowing graduate students to quickly find answers to their questions,” says Paris. 

The new agreement can be viewed here: GSA Collective Agreement.

  • File photo by Riley Brandt, University of Calgary