2016 « WLUFA

Contract Faculty: Please volunteer for some important committees!

November 29th, 2016

[Posted on behalf of Kimberly Ellis-Hale, WLUFA Communications Committee Chair.]

Although a strike is always the last option for a collective agreement negotiation, it’s better to be prepared for the worst than have to do a great deal of work at the last moment.

The following committees each require a Waterloo and a Brantford chair as well as volunteers that are willing to take on one of the committee’s work. Please take a look and let Kimberly Ellis-Hale (via email to kimberly@ellis-hale.com) know if you are interested in volunteering for one (or more) of the committees listed below. In addition, let Kimberly know if you are willing to act as a Chair for any committee, or if you would prefer to remain a volunteer member.

  • Finance Committee: Assists with the incoming and outgoing flow of strike funds;
  • Strike Services Committee: Provides all required services for running the strike, including set-up of strike headquarters & materials for picket lines such as signs, cell phones and refreshments;
  • Communications Committee: Develops communications strategy/manages all aspects of communication during strike, including website, strike newsletters, handouts for the picket lines, and press releases; and
  • Picket Line Committee: Identifies locations of picket lines, appoints picket captains, organizes schedules, arranges training for picket captains & picketers, monitors picket lines to ensure proper discipline, reviews daily incident reports from the picket lines and takes appropriate actions

The stronger and more organized our preparation for job action is, the more successful we will be, whatever happens.

Open letter from WLUFA opposing the library cuts at University of Ottawa

November 28th, 2016
Photo of a portion of the south corner of the Waterloo Campus Laurier Library building taken in August 2012, with a tree.

Laurier Library, August 2012

Posted on behalf of Michele Kramer, WLUFA President.

Mr. Jacques Frémont

President, University of Ottawa
President’s Office
Tabaret Hall
550 Cumberland, room 212
Ottawa, Ontario

November 24, 2016

Dear Mr. Frémont,

I write to you as a concerned citizen of the University of Ottawa community. I am distressed at the news of the proposed cuts of almost $2 million to the collections budget of the library.

While I understand that the University administration faces certain constraints, cutting the library budget sends the wrong message. With rising tuition fees, the expectation is that quality of education would increase. However, these cuts threaten to do the opposite and would result in irreversible damages to the student experience and access to research. Budgets are about priorities, and this message undermines University of Ottawa’s broader mission as an institution dedicated to education and research.

With industry trends heading towards increasing commercialization of research and academic publishing and price gouging on behalf of major publishers, it is time more than ever to invest in building up our libraries, not tearing them down. The proposed cuts affect research and education materials essential to the library. Proceeding with these cuts is telling the University of Ottawa community that the administration is prepared to cut corners to save a few dollars, at the expense of quality of education and access to education.

Over 4000 individuals from the University of Ottawa community have signed on a petition to call upon the Board of Governors to reverse the decision to proceed with these ill-advised cuts which are contrary to the university’s primary mandate. I believe the university can balance its budget without threatening the library, and that reversing the cuts should not be detrimental to faculty, students or support staff.

One of the core missions of the university is to preserve and promote knowledge. Knowledge is the only way to counter ignorance, and cannot be achieved without a strong, diverse and up-to-date library collection, nor without the expertise and support of necessary library staff.

For these reasons I am joining others who have done the same, and call upon the President and the Board of Governors to reverse the decision to cut the library budget.

 

Michele Kramer
President, Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty Association
On behalf of WLUFA Executive

For further discussion on this letter and the general topic, go to the “Opposition to library collections budget cuts” article on the WLUFA Advocate Blog.

A conciliator has been appointed

November 25th, 2016

The Ontario Ministry of Labour has appointed Greg Long as a conciliator to assist your Negotiating Team and the Administration in reaching a settlement. This is a consequence of the Administration filing for conciliation.

Conciliation is scheduled for December 14th, with the possibility of additional dates depending on progress. Negotiations are continuing in the meantime.

The role of the conciliator is to meet with the parties and help them reach a mutually-agreeable collective agreement, but he has no authority to impose a settlement. Conciliation is a service provided by the Ministry at no cost to the parties. The appointment of a conciliator does not signal an unwillingness to negotiate, nor is it a declaration of impasse. In recent years, conciliation has been a normal part of collective bargaining at Laurier.

In Solidarity,

CF Negotiating Team

Want to know what happened at the UFC meeting on the 14th?

November 22nd, 2016
First slide of UFC meeting in November 2016 saying "University Faculty Council, 14 November 2016, 6:30 - 8:00 pm, Senate & Board Chamber & RCW324".

University Faculty Council meeting, 2016-11-14

A faculty member who attended wrote this about the University Faculty Council meeting held on Monday, 11 November, 2016:

Dear Colleagues,

I’m writing with a report on the University Faculty Council meeting held earlier this week. Because fewer than 70 faculty members and librarians attended, we did not make quorum and thus could not advance recommendations to Senate. However, both motions inspired good discussion.

On the motion concerning the cancellation of classes in the event of a strike, the majority of members who spoke expressed support of the motion, mostly for the reasons articulated in the motion itself. Arguments against included that cancelling all classes would “deprive students of the right to decide” whether or not to attend classes, and that FT faculty’s cancellation of classes during a strike may render invisible to the public the distinction between FT and CAS, in effect concealing the exploitation of the latter. A vote was called, and the rough tally was 40 in favour, 10 opposed, and 10 abstentions. (I did not record the numbers.) Because we did not make quorum, the vote was for information only and could be used to advance a recommendation to Senate.

The motion concerning governance review generated much broader support. Several members expressed their frustrations by the fact that the governance review of Senate was foisted upon Senate without Senate’s consultation and approval. Anyway, the final tally was roughly 60 in favour, exactly 0 opposed, and a few abstentions.

One of the points raised with respect to the governance review, and in particular the motion’s attempt to increase the number of faculty members on the BoG and Senate, is that faculty members are already hard-pressed to engage in administrative duties. I suppose the evening’s dismal attendance was evidence of that point.

Best wishes,

Katherine Spring

Garry Potter, who led the both motion discussions, also provided a follow-up to the meeting, from his perspective. We’ve posted this on the WLUFA Advocate Blog under the title he’s provided: The UFC: Cynicism Versus Optimism of the Will.

Thanks, Katherine and Garry!

3rd Annual Labour Cares Event

November 15th, 2016

labour cares 2016

Demand better governance! Stand for students’ academic welfare!

November 11th, 2016

(Posted on behalf of Kimberly Ellis-Hale, Communications Director & CF Liaison.)

University Faculty Council meeting: Monday November 14, 6:30 pm, Senate and Board Chambers. To discuss cancelling all classes if there is a striek, and a collective response to the governance review. All faculty should be there! It's important!University Faculty Council Meeting
November 14, 2016 / 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm
Senate & Board Chamber (Waterloo); By video conference to RCW 324 (Brantford)

The University Faculty Council (UFC) is the ONLY governance body where EVERY faculty member – including Contract Faculty – and librarian has a voice and a vote.

Issues to be discussed at the meeting:

  1. A collective faculty response to the governance review; and
  2. A motion calling for the cancellation of ALL classes in the event of a labour disruption.

It is within the rights of all members to vote in favour of cancelling classes should Contract or Regular Faculty go on strike or be locked out. If a majority vote in favor of this motion, then the UFC can take that mandate to Senate.

Be heard! Convince your colleagues to take the reins Monday, November 14th!

Sociology Students’ Association support Contract Faculty in their letter to the Governance Review Panel

November 9th, 2016

The Laurier Sociology Students’ Association sent a letter to the members of the Governance Review Panel which, among other points, commented on the role of contract faculty in Laurier’s governance.

“The contract faculty are valued equally in comparison to faculty professors to students, and should be valued thusly by the university as well. This means that a stronger presence within the university governance is only the first step. The gap in pay, benefits, and job security need to be drastically improved. The dedication, hard work, and qualifications of CAS need to be recognized by the governing bodies at Laurier. There are world-class educators at this university, all of whom should be treated fairly.”

Read more in their Letter to the Governance Review Panel.

Thanks, Sociology students!

Laurier admin has filed for conciliation and WLUFA’s letter to other associations

November 8th, 2016
Michele Kramer, WLUFA President

Michele Kramer, WLUFA President

(Posted on behalf of Michele Kramer, WLUFA President.)

Dear Colleagues,

The message below has been circulated to faculty associations across the country. It offers an overview of the state of our current Contract Faculty negotiations and the issues that are keeping the Parties apart at the table.

Please note that, since this message was sent out, the Administration has filed for conciliation (What is “conciliation”?). This is a recent event and so, as of today, we do not yet have news re: a conciliator being appointed, nor an idea of when conciliation might take place.

I am keeping in touch with student leaders and with our student newspapers in order to (hopefully) give them a clear idea of what our strike vote, and the move to conciliation, means. You might, however, still be asked questions. Both Parties view strike or lock-out as a last resort. Please assure your students of that and let them know that they are free to direct questions to me if they feel that they need more information — mkramer@wlu.ca

WLUFA is hoping for your continued support of Contract Faculty as they fight for a fair conclusion to these negotiations.

 

Dear All,

I thought I’d take a few minutes of your time to update you on recent developments in WLUFA’s negotiations for a new Collective Agreement for our Contract Faculty.

Bargaining has now slowed almost to a standstill with the Association’s three main priorities for Contract Faculty still left inadequately addressed: Compensation, Job Security, Access to Benefits (please note that I said “access” to benefits — not benefits themselves). In answer, the Association called for a strike mandate vote. Members voted 95% in favour of the Executive initiating job action, if necessary.

The issues are as follows:

On Compensation: Figures published by our own Administration show that, of all employee groups on campus, Contract Faculty have had one of the lowest percentage wage increases since 2008. In comparison with the majority of employee groups, the difference in percentage increase is staggering. WLUFA has proposed an adjustment amount to rectify this inequity. The employer is proposing an increase that is basically equal to the current rate of inflation (that is, essentially a net gain of 0%), which would result in Contract Faculty falling even further behind.

On Job Security: WLUFA has proposed a Continuing Instructor position, improvements to our current Standing Appointments, and year-ahead contracts that would allow Contract Faculty to know what their year at Laurier will look like and be able to plan at least 12 months ahead — both for themselves and their students. The employer has rejected the Continuing Instructor proposal and is insisting that any other discussions re: job security be tied to increasing the number of Agreement-exempt courses offered to PhD students and postdocs. In effect, then, we are being asked to tie our negotiations for job security to a more insecure pool of teaching available to our members. Additionally, the Administration’s proposal must be read as a shifting of responsibility for the funding of some doctoral and post-doctoral work onto the shoulders (and out of the pockets) of our Contract Faculty.

WLUFA has also expressed concerns that Laurier’s push to make doctoral students responsible for the development and teaching of their own courses after only two years in their programs not only jeopardizes students’ ability to complete doctoral degrees within a reasonable amount of time, but also likely guarantees that graduates will be thrust into the world of precarious employment. As we know, teaching responsibilities steal valuable time away from the hours needed for conference work and the preparation of one’s own publications.

On Access to Benefits: Some progress has been made in this discussion, however the employer would like to limit access to only a specific group of our members — those who teach five or more courses. This might make sense if we were asking for employer-funded benefits — but WLUFA is proposing ONLY that more of our members have the ability to buy into university-sponsored plans with money out of their own pockets. The Administration’s unwillingness to move on this is completely unacceptable.

As we move forward, I will try to keep you as up to date as possible.

Thanks all, for your time.

Sincerely,
Michele Kramer
WLUFA President

 

December is the month of parties!

November 4th, 2016
Photo of the end of winter term party 2012, with Santa and children.

Santa’s visit in 2012!

Party for the kids…

All full-time and part-time faculty members and librarians and their children are invited to the WLUFA Seasonal Kids’ Party, held on Saturday, December 3rd at Major Ballachey Public School, at 105 Rawdon Street in Brantford!  From 10:30 AM until 1 PM, there will be snacks and lunch provided, crafts, cookie decorating, and even a visit by Santa!  Note: At least one parent must attend with their child(ren), and don’t forget to RSVP by November 18th (link will be sent out and updated here on November 8th).

(Check out the invitation and the facebook event.)

Party for the adults…

Also, all full-time and part-time faculty members and librarians are invited to the WLUFA End-Of-Fall Term Party (with dinner and dancing) on Thursday, December 8th, at the Turret on the Waterloo Campus (top floor of the Fred Nichols Centre).  Drinks (two drink tickets will be provided) start at 6 PM, dinner (covered for you and a guest) starts at 6:30 PM, and dancing starts after that.  Plus, there will be door prizes (a ticket for you and a guest will also be provided)!  RSVP by December 2nd (link will be sent out and updated here on November 8th).

(Check out the invitation, and the facebook event.)

Contract Faculty vote results: 95% in favour of Exec calling a strike if necessary

November 3rd, 2016

On behalf of Michele Kramer, WLUFA President:I heart contract faculty

Over the last week Contract Faculty have been voting on the following question:

“Are you in favour of authorizing the WLUFA Executive to call a strike if a satisfactory tentative agreement cannot be reached?”

The results are in and the Members have voted 94.9% in favour of authorizing the Executive Committee to call a strike should it become necessary.

This is the strongest strike mandate vote by Contract Faculty at Laurier ever!