Resolution on the Ontario Government’s Wage Restraint Request

August 6th, 2010

WHEREAS the Ontario Government is asking workers in the broader public sector to accept a wage freeze, and WHEREAS the Government of Ontario has said repeatedly that this wage restraint policy can and will in no way interfere with free collective bargaining, and WHEREAS collective bargaining at the faculty association level is the only process currently in place for determining wages, so that any wage proposal must be made through that process, and WHEREAS faculty associations have a proven history of responsible collective bargaining, conducted with a view, not just to terms and conditions of work for academic staff but also to improving the quality of educating in Ontario, addressing the needs of students, and enriching university life, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that faculty associations will conduct contract negotiations in the letter and spirit of free collective bargaining, in the interests of their members and the profession, and in accordance with their tradition of responsible labour relations. BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that faculty associations will strenuously oppose any infringement on free collective bargaining; and BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that Ontario academic staff, through their representative organizations and working with other public sector unions, will take such action as is necessary to preserve free collective bargaining in the Province of Ontario and to protect the interests of public sector workers, the people they serve, and their communities. Toronto, July 30, 2010

Ontario Faculty meet to discuss compensation restraint

August 5th, 2010

TORONTO – On July 30, 2010, representatives of Ontario’s faculty associations met to discuss the Government of Ontario’s request for a voluntary compensation freeze and the upcoming compensation consultations. Also in attendance were the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT), several unions who represent sessional faculty, and the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA), who also organized the meeting. Stephen Barrett, of the law firm Sack Goldblatt Mitchell, made a presentation on the legal implications of the government’s wage restraint initiative. After a productive discussion, the assembled faculty representatives unanimously agreed that protecting quality of education is their primary concern, and that the government’s proposals may compromise the learning experience of Ontario’s students. While we are willing to listen to the government on this issue, faculty will oppose any compensation policy that harms postsecondary education in Ontario and proves inequitable for our members. It was also decided that a delegation will be sent to the upcoming consultations, to be held in Toronto from August 9-22, with a mandate to learn more about the government’s proposed structure for the consultation and their desired outcome. Once the delegation has received this information, they will confer with faculty associations across Ontario to decide whether to continue their participation. The meeting also indicated their desire to see true sector-wide discussions take place during the consultations. At present, several unions that represent contract faculty, post-doctoral students and graduate assistants are not invited to the August 9-22 consultations. While these unions are invited to subsequent consultations, university faculty feel strongly that all university stakeholders be represented at the table. Throughout the consultations, OCUFA will be providing regular updates on the proceedings. These will be emailed to our member associations for distribution to their members. Graeme Stewart Communication and Government Relations Manager Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations 300-83 Yonge St. ~ Toronto, ON ~ M5C 1S8 416 979 2117 x232 (Office) | 647 280 3175 (Mobile) gstewart@ocufa.on.ca | www.ocufa.on.ca | www.twitter.com/ocufa

Update on Bargaining in Ontario

July 27th, 2010

There has been a good deal discussion in the media about a two year wage freeze for Ontario public sector workers, including university academic and general staff. We would like you to be aware of the facts.

On Tuesday, Dwight Duncan, the Minister of Finance, met with stakeholders and said that he was encouraging all those in bargaining to agree to a pause and that all interest arbitrations be put on hold. He also announced that the Government was convening sectoral “consultations” with the university sector scheduled for Aug 9-20 at the Royal York in Toronto.

Apparently, the participants will work around the clock for twelve days to reach a consensus. The objective of the “consultation” is for labour and management in the university sector plus government representatives to come up with solutions and options on how to meet the Government’s policy objectives.

On Thursday, CAUT arranged a conference call of the leaders of all academic staff associations currently in bargaining to share information about what the government had said and to discuss what we, as the associations representing academic staff, wanted to do. It was agreed that there will be a meeting in Toronto next week of the presidents of all academic staff associations in Ontario to discuss whether we will participate in the “consultation”; if so, who our negotiators will be; what mandate they will have from all the academic staff associations in Ontario; and what system of accountability there will be between those at the table and the leadership of associations across the province. The actual agenda will be set by the presidents at the start of next week’s meeting — the date still to be determined. OCUFA is sending out a notice to each president and CAUT and OCUFA will cover the travel costs.

Until then, it is important to know:

1) The government has stated its wish that there be no net compensation increase for the first two years of any agreement signed after the current agreement expires. There has been no legislation that authorizes the government to impose this restriction.

2) The government has indicated its desire that bargaining be paused and that all interest arbitration be placed on hold until after the Aug 9-20 “consultation.”. As with the first item, this is only a request and the government has no legislative authority to impose it. Parties are free to continue bargaining and to negotiate whatever they want. The government has indicated that it will not add additional money in the event of a negotiated increase so each university would have to find the money in its current budget.

3) The government’s hope apparently is that the Aug 9-20 “consultation” will result in the parties agreeing to a sectoral framework consistent with the government’s plan. It seemed to be the consensus of presidents on Thursday’s conference call that the obligation of academic staff associations is to put the interests of its members first, not to act as an agent for the government in its efforts at setting sectoral bargaining restrictions.

We will keep you updated following the meeting of association presidents next week.

Word of the World

June 15th, 2010

15/06/2010

Don’t miss this event:

Word of the World

Date: Wednesday June 16th

Time: 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Where: 1st Floor Auditorium in the Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work Building, 120 Duke St. W., Kitchener

WOWposter_1

Joyce and Doug Lorimer

April 20th, 2010

Below: Joyce and Doug Lorimer

WLUFA and Dr. Max Blouw invite you to join us for a celebration honouring for their contributions to Wilfrid Laurier University

Doug and Joyce have spent the past 37 years in the History Department and almost as long working on union affairs. Joyce organized WLUFA’s certification in 1988, thus saddling Doug with the job of chief-negotiator when he returned from sabbatical. Both have served in administrative positions in the History Department and on WLUFA’s Executive. Their work in collective bargaining has been honoured by CAUT and OCUFA. Doug and Joyce will officially retire in June 2010. We invite you to join us in congratulating them for all their achievements.

Tickets are $35 and can be purchased by cash or cheque in the Academic Events Office (Arts Building 2C1) or by credit card at the following link:
https://onecard.mylaurier.ca/events/mylaurierevents/wluevents.htm?dc=registration&eventId=56&clearRegCmd=true

A Tribute Page has been set up to celebrate Doug and Joyce’s contributions to Wilfrid Laurier University. Click on the link below to read a short biography of the Lorimers and sign the guestbook. You can also make a donation to the Lorimer Equal Chance Award. The award will reflect Doug and Joyce’s commitment to social justice by providing financial assistance to students from low-income backgrounds, many of whom are first-generation immigrants, and by encouraging them to access the benefits of a university education.

https://www.wlu.ca/tribute/tri_home.php?folder=lorimers

Please advise of any dietary restrictions. Seating is limited.

Tel: 519 884-0710 ext. 3139

Email Sharline Doss: sdoss@wlu.ca

Speaking Up in and beyond the Classroom

April 8th, 2010

Below: Lisa Wood, Joyce Lorimer and James Cairns at the Brantford Campus forum, The Politics of Academic Freedom on April 6, 2010.

Academic freedom is both a right and responsibility of faculty members – but it is also a principle that is under attack as universities become increasingly beholden to corporate and political interests. That was the over-riding message of Tuesday’s Brantford Campus forum, The Politics of Academic Freedom. Dr Joyce Lorimer (WLU-W), Dr David McNally (York) and Dr Lisa Wood (WLU-B) spoke to a room of two dozen full- and part-time faculty members. Weaving specific accounts of reprisals for speaking out on issues of civic and social justice into a broader discussion of the principles and politics at play, the speakers emphasized that faculty’s academic freedom is firmly enshrined in university mission statements and collective agreements across Canada – and it is often fear of debate and reprisal from an administration tied to outside interests that leads to faculty self-censorship. Faculty need to be made aware, they also suggested, not only of their rights, but of their responsibilities to the wider community as well. The principle of academic freedom complements the university’s social mission: to engage in affairs of public interest, even – or especially – when difficult and unpopular questions and opinions must be aired. The forum was organized by WLU-B’s Contemporary Studies program and WLUFA.
Sue Ferguson Assistant Professor, Journalism and Contemporary Studies Wilfrid Laurier University – Brantford

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