So far in 2019…

It’s been a while since we’ve provided an update from the Board of Directors. Here’s a run-down of (almost) everything we’ve been working on since January. Our committees have also been very active this year and we’ll report on more of their work soon. Feel free to ask for more details in the comments or by email.

In no particular order:

1. We announced the lecturer salary threshold increase. This was a big win for lecturers. In case you missed it, here’s the gist: When your salary passes each threshold, your merit increase is reduced by a certain amount to slow down your rate of increase once you’re in that higher salary bracket. [Learn more about how this works.] The lecturer thresholds were too low, so lecturers were hitting them earlier in their careers than intended. Last year, we negotiated for a Working Group on Salary Structure to fix that, and they did. The Lecturers Committee held a packed celebration at the Grad House on June 11.

2. We cleared up a vacation issue for lecturers (and other faculty, but mostly lecturers) with a small change to the Memorandum of Agreement (MoA). Any member engaged in classroom teaching in all three terms is now entitled to carry over one week of vacation, for one year. You just have to notify your chair. Carrying forward one week or more of vacation was already (and still is) allowed for all members “in exceptional circumstances.” A formal announcement of the precise change is coming later this month.

3. We approved a change to the MoA that addresses issues with expense deadlines. Namely, we added more clarity on deadlines and Faculty Professional Expense Reimbursement Plan in general and the submission cycle is essentially shifted earlier to provide a reasonable amount of time for processing and approvals. A formal announcement of the precise change is coming later this month.

4. We participated in two separate provincial government consultations about 1) a cap on public sector wage increases and then 2) faculty simultaneously collecting a salary and pension. We are developing another formal response document for the end of the month to an additional government consultation session in late June on the potential for the Minister to write a regulation prohibiting collecting a salary and pension.  We will share in some way with members after it is submitted. Thanks to all members who have engaged with us in providing useful feedback. 

5. We supported faculty who teach Undergraduate Communication Outcomes Initiative (UCOI) courses in pushing back against an announcement about class sizes that contradicted Policy 40 (on the role of chairs). FAUW wanted to see appropriate (and required) levels of consultation and now believes such consultations are occurring. 

Continue reading “So far in 2019…”

News From Your Board: May 3 Meeting Recap

Here’s what went down at the first Board meeting of the spring term.

A member raised a concern about how FAUW dues are calculated at the Spring General Meeting. Currently, our dues are calculated based on the average salary of all members within a given rank. A review of other institutions revealed that we might be unique in this manner: Other universities charge dues based on a member’s actual salary. Our treasurer Dan Brown informed the Board that he is following up on the potential for this dues structure at Waterloo, and is planning to bring a more detailed assessment of the feasibility of this to the Board shortly.

We debriefed the GoFundMe campaign launched by FAUW to demonstrate support for diversity at the University of Waterloo in light of a planned (and then cancelled) event on campus featuring Faith Goldy and Ricardo Duchesne. Though this fundraising has been successful, the Board acknowledged that ongoing efforts are needed to ensure an open and accepting campus community. The Board also heard that, in response to this cancelled event, some faculty members and students were organizing a teach-in, which is now happening on Thursday, May 10.

FAUW’s executive manager Erin Windibank reported on happenings at the CAUT council meeting in April. In particular, CAUT is asking for any faculty who have recently had issues crossing the US border, for example with security or border services asking for access to social media accounts, computer or cellphone passwords, or questions about what one may be reading. If you have experienced these or similar requests, please email borderissues@caut.ca.

The Board voted to contribute to a fundraiser for Amir Kiumarsi, a faculty member and union steward at Ryerson University who was injured during the recent vehicular assault in Toronto. As contract faculty, Kiumarsi has no benefits or leave time, so his recovery will result in significant financial stress for his family. Ryerson contract faculty have set up a GoFundMe campaign to support Kiumarsi and his family.

Lastly, if you live in the Kitchener-Waterloo riding, or just really love political debates, FAUW is supporting an all-candidates meeting at 10:00 am on May 16 at Lazaridis Hall Auditorium (WLU).

—Peter Johnson, director for the Faculty of Environment

News From Your Board – November 9 Meeting

—Peter Johnson, Faculty of Environment representative to the FAUW board

The FAUW Board got back to business on November 9, after an October filled with special events, including the FAUW 60th anniversary celebration. We had a packed meeting room, evidence of a healthy and energized board, and of the strength of our organization and importance of our mandate.

We started off with a report from our independent auditor on the financial health of the organization. In a year that has seen great change at the administration level of the University, FAUW maintains a strong and prudent fiscal position that is neither overburdensome to our members nor compromising of our ability to protect our members and advance collegial governance on campus. Congratulations to Dan Brown, treasurer, and many treasurers before him for maintaining this balance.

Board members discussed ways to support our colleagues at local colleges while they are striking to reduce reliance on precarious employment and to obtain the academic freedom that many university faculty enjoy. FAUW has made a financial donation on behalf of our members to support those on the picket lines, and we are currently investigating other forms of support.

As discussed at our 60th Anniversary event, one of the main benefits of our Memorandum of Agreement with the University is that, compared to traditional union-based bargaining, in which a new collective agreement is negotiated every few years, FAUW is in a process of continual negotiation with the administration over terms of employment. The only thing we negotiate in the upcoming round of bargaining with the University is compensation.

In the last round of bargaining, our negotiating team secured the salary anomaly review, changes to the Faculty Professional Expense Reimbursement (FPER), and annual scale increases to salaries and thresholds. That settlement expires April 30, 2018.

Our lead negotiator for this round, Benoit Charbonneau (Pure Mathematics), attended this Board meeting to brief the group and discuss preliminary strategy. Undoubtedly there will be more to come on this front, as bargaining commences in December. Shelley Hulan (English Language and Literature) and Dave Vert (School of Accounting and Finance) are also on the negotiating team.

The Lecturers Committee raised concerns with apparent discrepancies across campus regarding lecturer eligibility for departmental or school service tasks. FAUW would like to hear from any lecturers who have been prohibited from serving on departmental or school committees, especially Departmental Tenure and Promotion Committees (DTPC) involved in making hiring or promotion decisions about lecturers, and chair/director hiring committees.