Update from the October 29 Board meeting

After every Board of Directors meeting, we share the non-confidential highlights of the meeting, and now the president’s report, too.

President’s report 

dan brown, 27 October, 2020 

I love autumn, and on a recent workday afternoon, I took the advice of a friend and skipped out on some writing and went for a hike in a regional forest. I hope you’re all also taking the time to enjoy the outdoors and not just be cooped up in your home.

We say this all the time, but this time may actually be different: I think that Policy 14 (Pregnancy and Parental Leave) will go out for consultation in the next couple of weeks. Many thanks to my predecessor Bryan Tolson, who is a member of the drafting committee. We are learning a ton from this process, about how we have to establish clear mandates for our representatives on policy drafting committees, put in place a reporting process so that they can check in with us about what they’re doing, and give committees clear timelines.

One project moving forward with FAUW support and representation is the Equity Data Advisory Group, which will advise some UW offices on how to keep good statistics about employees and students who are members of a variety of equity-seeking groups (racial minorities, people with disabilities, LGBTQ folk, Indigenous people and others), and what concerns they’ll need to be mindful of so that the resultant data are useful for projects that will hold the university to account. FAUW’s representative on this group is Nancy Worth, from Geography.

At our October 27 Council of Representatives meeting, FAUW Chief Negotiator Bryan Tolson discussed possible goals for the upcoming round of compensation negotiations. The final mandate of the negotiation team will be decided upon by the Board of Directors in November, and the team will begin its formal work in December.

The university’s anti-racism task force seems to be getting underway; the VP Research & International, Charmaine Dean, has met with community members and found some consistent themes on which she wants to focus the group’s work. It’s still unclear how the group will be structured or led, and there have been no announcements of a steering committee. FAUW will bring in an advisor to give us advice on transformations we need to make to our own association to fulfill the commitments on anti-Black racism we made in the summer.

In early October, we announced an agreement with the administration to allow members to exclude any or all of research, service or teaching from their performance evaluations for the year 2020. You will have received the details by email already. I am grateful to Johanna Wandel and Kate Lawson for their work on this project, and also to the UW administration.

As we move into November, I hope you all keep well and in good health.

Other items from October 29 

  1. FAUW finances. We reviewed and approved the 2019-20 financial statements prepared by our auditor. We don’t share these publicly, but you can contact Erin Windibank, FAUW’s executive manager, if you’re interested in seeing them.
  2. Our Academic Freedom & Tenure Committee. Chair Lori Curtis reminded Board members how the Academic Freedom & Tenure Committee (AF&T) works and gave an update on current trends the committee is seeing—workload equity, leaves, reduced workload, and pressure to meet face-to-face with students. Since we know AF&T can be a bit of a mystery to members, here’s the crash course:
    • AF&T is the branch of FAUW that supports individual faculty members with workplace issues. They can help with a very wide range of issues, despite the name, and they always start with the most informal step (a chat with your chair, for example). Unlike in many unions, very few cases proceed to a formal grievance, and cases only move forward as directed by the member.
    • AF&T has a duty to represent all regular faculty; we don’t decide who is right or wrong, but rather ensure that a fair process is followed for everyone.
    • Everything that happens at AF&T is confidential; the FAUW Board only ever hears about general trends (as above) or anonymized information if a case needs approval to escalate to a grievance.
  3. Retiree benefits. We heard from guest Mary Thompson, president of the UW Retirees Association, about current retiree benefits and how those might be improved.
  4. Negotiations. We’ve heard who will be on the administration’s negotiating team and expect that to be public soon. We reviewed feedback from the Council of Representatives on potential negotiating goals. Feel free to ask your rep or a member of the negotiating team for details.

Contact AF&T to find out how they can help you navigate any workplace issue.

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