2012 « WLUFA

Academia in the Age of Austerity

October 25th, 2012

Dear Colleagues:

The theme of OCUFA’s annual conference for January 2013 will be “Academia in the Age of Austerity”.   In light of Ontario government’s “austerity agenda”, including its proposed sweeping anti-labour legislation and agenda for higher education, and in light of other government initiatives across Canada and globally, the OCUFA conference will be addressing issues of pressing critical concern.

The conference will feature speakers from Canada, the US, the UK and Europe, and have keynote address and interviews, panel presentations, and opportunities for informal discussion and audience participation.  The conference will also release OCUFA’s new polling data on public perceptions of austerity and its impact on higher education.  Information about the conference and registration is appended below.

Could you please send the notice below about the “Academia in the Age of Austerity” OCUFA conference to those who might be interested.

Thank you.

Best regards,
Mark
——————————————————–
Mark Rosenfeld, Ph.D
Executive Director
Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations
83 Yonge Street, Suite 300
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5C 1S8
Tel: 416-979-2117 x229
Fax: 416-593-5607
E-mail: mrosenfeld@ocufa.on.ca


Take advantage of early-bird pricing for the 2013 OCUFA Conference “Academia in the Age of Austerity”,  January 10-11, 2013

                                                               
Governments in Canada and elsewhere have embraced “austerity” as a necessary public policy to eliminate budgetary deficits and ensure future prosperity.  How has this “austerity agenda” affected faculty, students, administrators and institutions in Ontario, in Canada, and globally?  Is “austerity” inevitable, or are there alternatives?   And what might universities do now, and in the future, in response to the “austerity agenda” or possible alternatives?

The Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Association’s 2013 Conference –   “Academia in the Age of Austerity” – will seek to answer these questions and more. Join us for two days of insightful presentations and engaging discussion with speakers and participants from universities, research institutes, government, and the private sector in Canada, the United States, and Europe.  The conference will critically explore the idea of “austerity” by unpacking the meaning of the term, its implications and impact on higher education, as well as consider other possible policy directions.  Like previous OCUFA conferences, a diversity of views will be sought in each of the keynote and panel sessions.

The conference will take place on January 10-11, 2013 at the Pantages Hotel in Toronto.

The fee for those registering on or before November 15, 2012, is $375.00, which includes continental breakfasts, lunch, refreshments, an evening reception, and all materials. The regular registration fee after November 15, 2011 is $425.00; and $400.00 for OCUFA members.  The student rate is $150.00. To register, please click here.

The Pantages Hotel also has a special conference hotel rate of $159.00 per night.  Bookings must be made before December 9, 2012.

Conference Agenda

Day 1, Thursday January 10, 2013

8:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
Registration and continental breakfast

9:00 a.m. -9:15 a.m.
Welcome and introduction


9:15 a.m. -10:45 a.m.

         Polling Presentation
        “Public views of austerity: Release and discussion of OCUFA new polling data”

        11:00 a.m. -Noon
        Keynote Discussion
        “Debating austerity: Is public constraint the only way forward?”

        Noon – 2:00 p.m.
        Lunchtime Keynote Address
        “The corporate university ascendant?”

        2:15 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
        Panel Session
        “Austerity in Ontario: From “transformational change” to the rewriting of Ontario labour legislation

        3:45 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
        Panel Session
        “Students and austerity: Ontario, Quebec and beyond”

        5:15 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
        Evening Reception

Day 2, Friday, January 11, 2013                    

        8:30 a.m. -9:00 a.m.
Continental breakfast

        9:00 a.m. -10:15 a.m.
        Keynote Address
Austerity in the United Kingdom: Dramatic impact, uncertain future

        10:30 a.m. – 11:50 a.m.
        Panel session
        Austerity, the professoriate and academic librarians: International perspectives

        11:50 a.m. to noon
        Concluding remarks

——————————————————–
Mark Rosenfeld, Ph.D
Executive Director
Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations
83 Yonge Street, Suite 300
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5C 1S8
Tel: 416-979-2117 x229
Fax: 416-593-5607
E-mail: mrosenfeld@ocufa.on.ca

Pensions Now and Pension Alternatives Webcasts

October 25th, 2012

Dear Colleagues:

The OCUFA Pension webcasts — Pensions Now (held October 16 and 17, 2012) and Pension Alternatives (held October 22 and 23, 2012) —  were recorded and can now be viewed again on the OCUFA website.

The link to the webcasts is:

http://ocufa.on.ca/members-area/pesionwebcasts/

To enter, please use the pass code: ocufaPeNsi0n

Could you please forward this information to those in your association who might be interested.

Best regards,

Mark
——————————————————–
Mark Rosenfeld, Ph.D
Executive Director
Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations
83 Yonge Street, Suite 300
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5C 1S8
Tel: 416-979-2117 x229
Fax: 416-593-5607
E-mail: mrosenfeld@ocufa.on.ca

 

OCUFA’s Education and Mobilization plan

October 18th, 2012

Dear Colleagues:

You will now have heard that this evening (October 15, 2012) Dalton McGuinty resigned as premier and prorogued the Ontario Legislature.  This means that all legislative business comes to a halt and all legislation currently being considered dies on the order paper.  When a new session of the Legislature is eventually convened, it will be a new session of parliament, accompanied by a Throne Speech.  All legislation that was previously being considered will have to be re-introduced, along with any new legislation.

We do not know when the Legislature will meet again.    The Liberals will be preoccupied with a leadership convention, and will likely not want the Legislature to be in session for a significant part of that period.  A prorogued legislature will give the Liberals time to elect a new leader,  present itself as a “new and refreshed” party, and gear up for an election — which could very well take place in the Spring, with a new budget.

In his resignation speech, the Premier also said that during the period that the Legislature is prorogued, the government would like to discuss a negotiated wage freeze with its labour “partners”, and failing that, with the support of at least one of the opposition parties, bring in wage freeze legislation.   As he put it “two tasks lay ahead —  first to negotiate wage freezes with public sectors unions; second, to work with the opposition to form a legislated plan that can pass the minority government.  When the House returns we’re going to either have negotiated agreements in hand or a legislative plan supported by the opposition,”  he said.

We will be seeking more information from our contacts in government, opposition parties and the bureaucracy on what the process may be going forward, and its implications.  What will this mean for the draft “Protecting Public Services Act”, for the higher education initiative, for pension proposals?  We don’t know at this point — but it is likely that a Liberal government with a new leader will still pursue some form of wage restraint (legislated or negotiated), pension reform designed to reduce costs and promoted “efficiencies”, and some higher education “reforms”.  

At the OCUFA Board meeting on October 27, OCUFA’s Education and Mobilization plan will be discussed.  It is now being redrafted to take account of the changes that were announced this evening and will be sent to you by the beginning of next week.  And the October 26 pension workshop will also take into account the implications of the changes announced this evening.

We will keep you informed as more information comes available.

Best regards,
Mark
——————————————————–
Mark Rosenfeld, Ph.D
Executive Director
Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations
83 Yonge Street, Suite 300
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5C 1S8
Tel: 416-979-2117 x229
Fax: 416-593-5607
E-mail: mrosenfeld@ocufa.on.ca

Advocate

October 12th, 2012

Building community through dialogue, discussion and debate

Here is the first in our new series of newsletters which we hope you will find informative and an enjoyable read. Much of this first newsletter will be devoted to addressing issues around the Integrated Planning and Resource Man-agement (IPRM) initiative. Click here to read more…

New framework for university pension plans

October 11th, 2012

Dear Colleagues:

As recent headlines attest, the Ontario government appears to be closing in on a new framework for university pension plans in this province.  In order to develop an informed response to government proposals, faculty members need a full understanding of the potentially dramatic impact these government actions could have on their financial futures.  

To this end, OCUFA has worked with industry experts to develop two educational webcasts and we ask that you actively participate in each of these online sessions. The sessions will be highly informative and interactive webcasts tailored to meet your information needs.
 
Space for these webcasts is limited, so you must sign up in advance.  Select the time that works best for you for each of the webcasts and click on it to register online.

Once registered, you’ll receive an email with the information you need to access the webcast.

Registration for each session will remain open until all available spaces are booked or until 60 minutes before its starting time, whichever comes first.

Please pass this invitation along to your faculty association members.  [And we apologize if you receive this notice more than once].
 

CLICK HERE for the Webcast invitation.

 

Webcast title Content Webcast schedule & online sign-up
1.     Pensions now
 
§  Introduction to key government proposals§  Why now? The shifting pension landscape §  How did we get here? Factors and trends that impact pension funding§  Setting the stage: guiding principles for Ontario university pension plans§  Defined benefit vs. defined contribution (capital accumulation)§  Assets vs. liabilities§  Introduction to alternative pension plan designs October 16, 2012
3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
orOctober 17, 2012
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
2.     Pension alternatives
 
§  A closer look at government proposals, including o   Governance and reportingo   Potential impacts on collective bargainingo   Transitional issues§  Other options, including merging with existing public sector plans§  Our collective government relations strategy
o   Framing our discussiono   Identifying preferred outcomes
October 22, 2012
3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
orOctober 23, 2012
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

 

Best regards,

Mark

——————————————————–
Mark Rosenfeld, Ph.D
Executive Director
Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations
83 Yonge Street, Suite 300
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5C 1S8
Tel: 416-979-2117 x229
Fax: 416-593-5607
E-mail: mrosenfeld@ocufa.on.ca

Ontario government’s draft labour legislation

October 10th, 2012

Dear Colleagues:

A comprehensive summary and analysis of the Ontario government’s draft labour legislation, Protecting Public Services Act 2012 has been prepared for OCUFA by the legal team at Sack, Goldblatt, Mitchell.  It focusses in particular on Schedule 2, titled Respecting Collective Bargaining Act (Public Sector), 2012.

The summary and analysis can be accessed by following this link on the OCUFA website.  For those who have trouble accessing the link, please paste the following address into your browser:
http://ocufa.on.ca/members-area/conference-call-recording-legislation-55/

The passcode to access this section of the website is: ocufalegi55

Additional material in this section of the OCUFA website includes the September 28, 2012 OCUFA conference call briefing on the draft legislation with Steven Barrett from Sack, Goldblatt, Mitchell,  as well as a Question and Answer section which allows you to ask further questions to which we will respond and add to the website.  Please feel free to share this information with your members.

As noted by the legal team at Sack, Goldblatt, Mitchell in its summary and analysis, the legislation as currently drafted “goes far beyond simply implementing a wage freeze for workers in the broader public sector; rather it would give the Government unprecedented control over collective bargaining, the right to strike, interest arbitration (in the case of essential services), and the content of every term and condition of every collective agreement.”  Not to put too fine a point on it, if passed, this legislation will profoundly affect every university faculty association in the province, certified or not.  As the legal analysis concludes, “while purporting to respect collective bargaining (to quote the Orwellian pretense of its title), the Respecting Collective Bargaining Act (Public Sector), 2012 would actually eviscerate it.”

Over the next few weeks you will hear more about the various communication, education and mobilization initiatives OCUFA plans to undertake in response to this unprecedented attack on collective bargaining in the broader public sector.  There will also be a special session of the October 27-28 OCUFA Board meeting to discuss a plan going forward.

If you have any questions about any of the above, please let me know.

Best regards,
Mark
——————————————————–
Mark Rosenfeld, Ph.D
Executive Director
Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations
83 Yonge Street, Suite 300
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5C 1S8
Tel: 416-979-2117 x229
Fax: 416-593-5607
E-mail: mrosenfeld@ocufa.on.ca

WLUFA Passes Motion on the IPRM Process

October 5th, 2012

Motion:

It is WLUFA’s position that Senate is the sole decision-making body regarding academic matters at the University.  Furthermore, in keeping with the principle governing composition of Senate; it is the position of the Association that committees with input into academic decisions must be comprised of a majority of faculty and academic librarians, freely nominated and freely and democratically elected.

The IPRM process, as currently proposed by the Administration, does not satisfy these conditions.

At present the process has no mandate from Senate; and the voting procedures established by the Administration do not provide for free election of a majority of Members on the related committees.

Therefore:

1) WLUFA urges Senators to vote against giving a mandate to the IPRM process as it is presently constituted.

2) WLUFA advises its members not to participate in the process, as long as the committee structures and process remain undemocratic and contrary to the spirit of academic governance.

 

OCUFA’s response to the Ministry of Training

October 3rd, 2012

Dear Colleagues;

This morning, OCUFA released its response to the Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities discussion paper, Strengthening Ontario’s Centres of Creativity, Innovation and Knowledge. Our submission, titled Growing Ontario’s Universities for the Future, will be officially launched at a Queen’s Park press conference this morning alongside responses from the Canadian Federation of Students, The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).

The OCUFA response highlights our concerns with the assumptions that underpin the MTCU discussion paper, and critically evaluates the policy proposals put forward by the government. Overall, OCUFA believes that, taken to their logical end, the ideas, concepts, and proposals contained within the discussion paper would lead to an unprecedented government intrusion into academic decision-making and would seriously impair academic freedom within Ontario’s universities. Such an intrusion would be unacceptable, and would seriously damage the sector. Instead, OCUFA is urging the government to take a step back from the discussion paper. In collaboration with stakeholders, MTCU should reframe the assumptions contained within the existing document and begin a long-term co-operative project to improve quality, enhance student success, and ensure the viability of our institutions for decades to come. While we do not believe that the higher education sector can be re-designed in a few short months, we do believe that a vibrant, well-funded university sector can be grown through careful research, realistic goals, and meaningful partnership.

Please find the response attached: OCUFA Submission – MTCU Consultation 2012 – FINAL WEB It can also be accessed on the OCUFA website. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get it touch,

Many thanks,

Graeme

Graeme Stewart
Communications Manager
Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations
300-83 Yonge St. | Toronto, ON | M5C 1S8
416 979 2117 x232 | gstewart@ocufa.on.ca
www.ocufa.on.ca | @OCUFA | www.facebook.com/OCUFA

CAUT Declares an ALERT for Concordia University College of Alberta

October 2nd, 2012

I am forwarding this message on behalf of the CAUT Executive Committee.

CAUT Declares an ALERT for Concordia University College of Alberta

CAUT has issued an ALERT to draw attention to the serious threat to the collective bargaining rights of the faculty at Concordia University College of Alberta. This is the first time in more than a decade that CAUT has had to take this step.

An ALERT signals a situation in which a university or college board and administration goes beyond hard bargaining to engage in an extreme form of bad faith bargaining and is seriously inhibiting the free collective bargaining process.

In late 2011, the academic staff at Concordia University College of Alberta were given a ‘draft faculty agreement’ that contained an unprecedented assault on job security and other employment rights. In response, the academic staff applied to the Alberta Labour Relations Board for certification, and in late April were certified by the Board after a vigorous effort by the employer to block unionization.

Subsequently, the new union served notice to bargain days after receiving the certificate. The employer immediately began to refuse offered bargaining dates on the grounds that its team would be unavailable. Finally, bargaining began in late summer only to be stopped again by the resignation from the university of the vice-president academic who was the employer’s chief negotiator. The university president then wrote to the university community blaming the presence of the union for VPA’s departure.

Since then the employer:

· has refused to meet regularly and frequently enough to make progress in bargaining possible;

· has refused to follow normal bargaining conventions that allow the parties to identify changes made to its most recent proposals;

· without even considering the union’s opening set of proposals, reintroduced its pre-certification “draft faculty agreement” and insisted the union work from its language;

· engaged in “receding horizon bargaining”, i.e. new counter-proposals move further backward from its previous position;

· has ruled core articles in the sector out of bounds for the bargaining process, including academic freedom, permanence, promotion, performance evaluation and appointments.

This ALERT means that CAUT will be taking all measures necessary to publicize the events which led to the invocation of an ‘ALERT’, and provide all possible support to its member association. As well, CAUT encourages every academic staff association to offer all possible support to the CUCAFA which is facing a threat to its collective bargaining rights.

Should these measures not resolve the situation, CAUT may decide to impose censure through its Council.

Messages of solidarity and support to our colleagues at Concordia University College of Alberta should be sent to Deb Hemmerling, President, Concordia University College of Alberta Faculty Association, debhemmerling@gmail.com.

For more information, contact Angela Regnier, CAUT communications Officer, 613-726-5186, regnier@caut.ca.

Margaret McGovern-Potié

Executive Assistant to the Executive Director / Adjointe exécutive au directeur général

Canadian Association of University Teachers
Association canadienne des professeures et professeurs d’université

2705, promenade Queensview Drive, Ottawa (Ontario) K2B 8K2
Tel \ Tél. (613) 726-5179 | Fax \ Téléc. (613) 820-7244
www.caut.ca

Legislation that will freeze compensation and benefits

September 27th, 2012

Greetings,

Yesterday, the Ontario Government brought forward legislation that will freeze compensation and benefits for all those in the broader public sector, including all staff at universities and colleges, for two years. It also imposes a permanent salary cap for all in the public sector and limits the powers of the labour relations board, arbitrators and even the courts.

In many ways, it parallels the legislation brought in previously that did the same thing for Ontario’s elementary and secondary teachers.

The government’s intervention to block free collective bargaining is harmful in itself, but the new legislation raises an important constitutional question – whether it denies a fundamental Charter right. This is an issue of concern to all our members because if the Ontario Government can get away with this harmful intervention, there are other provincial governments that likely will follow suit.

We are consulting top constitutional and labour law experts in preparation for launching a challenge to yesterday’s legislation in court, as well as intervening in the challenge that four unions are bringing to the earlier bill regarding teachers.

A copy of yesterday’s bill can be found at http://www.fin.gov.on.ca/en/savings/protecting.html.