OCUFA member associations continue to push back against Minister Romano for his role in the attack on Laurentian University. We are seeing the positive impact of these efforts as the issue continues to be covered by media. A highlight of last week was hearing OCUFA’s positions clearly laid out on The Agenda by Past President and Board Chair Gyllian Philips. Gyllian was joined by Nadia Verrelli, Associate Professor in Laurentian’s Department of Political Science (one of the many programs cut) and Sébastien Lalonde, Chair of the Canadian Federation of Students. The panel was hosted by journalist Nam Kiwanuka instead of Steven Paikin, who we learned resigned from his role as chancellor for Laurentian on April 12th. Please be sure to check out and circulate the edition of The Agenda as widely as possible: https://www.tvo.org/video/assessing-laurentian-universitys-deep-cuts.
Below is a digest of key events, media coverage, and political action from the past week regarding the Laurentian CCAA Proceeding.
Please forward some or all of these items to your members, campus coalitions and networks. For an abridged version of events, please see the OCUFA Report later in the week.
OCUFA Continues to Put Pressure on Romano and the Ford Government
OCUFA’s target continues to be on Minister Romano and the Ford government. This last week we saw mounting pressure on the government as a result of its handling of the pandemic. The public confidence in the Ford government is waning – note these numbers are from before Premier Ford’s press conference last Thursday where he was consistently put on the spot by reporters for his lack of support of paid sick days and misguided decisions (which were later revised) of closing playgrounds and increased policing powers.
Now is an important time as ever to continue to call for the resignation of Romano. A number of OCUFA member associations have taken up this call as highlighted below. OCUFA encourages all faculty associations to take leadership on actions and reach out to your Executive and/or staff for support.
OCUFA Faculty Association Political Action Summary of the Last Week
Each week since the CCAA proceeding at LU began, different OCUFA member associations have stepped up to pressure the Ford government to invest immediately in the university to end the insolvency process.
Last Monday was a busy day! The Executives at both the Wilfred Laurier University Faculty Association (WLUFA) and the Ontario College of Art and Design Faculty Association (OCADFA) passed motions calling for the resignation of MCU Minister Ross Romano, LU President Robert Haché and his senior administration team. On the heels of these motions, the Ryerson Faculty Association Executive also passed a similar motion on Tuesday April 20th.
Be sure to check out the WLUFA for LUFA campaign page for more information and ideas on member outreach! In addition, OCADFA has created a number of excellent online art pieces that target Romano and the Ford government that are available for all faculty associations to use in solidarity actions and campaign work: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1Xze8bkDAaPvS-Mgq3_Hl0nvIB9t1cra8.
On Tuesday OCADFA used some of these images to hold a virtual Fire Ross Romano event, in collaboration with the York University Faculty Association and the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario. The event called out Romano on his knowledge of the financial challenges Laurentian was facing at least six months before they became public. People at the virtual protest told Minister Romano – represented by a 3D art piece – why they thought he should not be in charge of Ontario’s colleges and universities anymore. Close to 120 people joined the event – excellent action OCADFA and everyone involved! Videos from the event are available to share from this shared drive: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1aNMZOiykvff1jgnrlX8EWn7XvKcfd8mo?usp=sharing and via OCADFA’s Facebook page: https://fb.watch/56vGrKvq_T/.
In addition, OCADFA President Min Sook Lee wrote an article for Rabble Laurentian University crisis a story of political interference and defunding of education, in which she points out the defunding of education and the need for all levels of government to “invest in our collective futures and purposefully build truly universal, high-quality, accessible education that begins with child care and continues to post-secondary”.
More Senate motions in support of the Laurentian University community have been passed at the University of Ottawa and Saint Paul University. The University of Ottawa Senate passed its motion last Monday. The motion recognizes that the Laurentian community’s bilingual, tricultural mission and survival have been threatened, as well as reiterates the Senate’s commitment to continuing “the fight for the rights of Aboriginal community and Francophone minorities in Ontario and across Canada”. It also requests for Laurentian University’s leadership to examine all options to reduce the negative impact of the situation on students and faculty-researchers, and calls on “the provincial and federal governments to ensure adequate funding of Francophone or bilingual universities in minority settings in order to prevent such a situation from once again threatening postsecondary education in French across Canada”. The link provided includes the proposed motion as well as the motion that was passed. Saint Paul’s Senate motion passed on April 23rd. The motion recognized: the integral nature of a bicameral model of university governance to the health, integrity, and success of academic institutions; and the need for any termination of a program to be assessed on academic grounds and not for reasons of financial exigency. The motion also expressed the Saint Paul Senate’s opposition to the application of the CCAA to public institutions.
On April 21st, the Provost at Nipissing spoke in favour of the motion Nipissing University Faculty Members had brought to the last Senate meeting. All of the administrative representatives voted in favour, resulting in the motion passing unanimously.
LUFA Collective Agreement Summary
Here is a summary of the LUFA Collective Agreement members ratified under duress:
- five-year term expiring on June 30, 2025:
- 116 full-time Faculty positions were declared redundant and thus terminated;
- the terminated Faculty members teaching courses in the Winter 2021 academic term have an effective termination date of May 15, 2021 to allow for marking of final exams, papers, and communicating grades;
- those terminated members not teaching courses in the Winter 2021 academic term have an effective termination date of April 30, 2021;
- any members who elected early retirement would receive certain non-financial incentives over and above those contained in the LUFA CA;
- effective May 1, 2021, each member’s salary will be decreased by 5%:
- ATB to base is 0%/year
- PTR is $0 in years 1-2; PTR is $2,000 in years 3-5.
- Promotion and qualifications: $2,900/year
- each member will take five unpaid furlough days during the 2021-22, 2022- 23, and 2023-24 academic years;
- teaching workload increases from 2 full courses to 2.5 full courses;
- the Retirement Health Benefits Plan and the Supplemental Retirement Plan will be terminated; and
Despite the best efforts of LU and LUFA, certain terms of the existing collective agreement, including on the pension plan, that were to be addressed in the Mediation were not resolved. Binding arbitration with respect to these outstanding issues is to take place before Mr. William Kaplan and will be completed by June 18, 2021.
Watch for updates and sign up for the weekly OCUFA newsletter (OCUFA Report) at www.ocufa.on.ca
Please regularly check our website and www.northernsolidarity.ca as we are adding new resources to our toolkit on a regular basis.
Thank you for your continued support to LUFA and OCUFA.
Jenny J. H. Ahn
Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA)
Office: 416-979-2117 ext. 229
17 Isabella Street
Toronto, ON Canada M4Y 1M7