March 18 Update from the FAUW Board

President’s report to FAUW board

– dan brown, March 16, 2021 [updated March 22]

This was our last meeting in winter; the equinox on March 20 marked the beginning of spring. I hope you’re appreciating the longer days.

I am very pleased that the President announced his support for Policy 14 at the March Senate meeting. The only remaining step is the policy’s approval at April’s Board of Governors meeting. This policy marks a milestone in moving Waterloo into being a better employer of parents of small children. When combined with the bereavement and compassionate leave improvements announced as part of our salary settlement last month, we will have a proper suite of such benefits for our members. Thank you to the drafting committee for their steadfast work on this project.

Jay Dolmage (chair of FAUW’s Equity Committee), Laura McDonald (FAUW’s Communications Officer) and I met with the team of external reviewers of the Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion office. The review team will be working on this project for the next couple of months, and my expectation is that their eventual report will primarily be advisory to Waterloo’s new president. With equity and inclusion being so much a focus of FAUW’s work right now, we’ll be watching very closely to see what comes from this review.

FAUW elections are going to begin soon! I’m so excited to see who will run and be elected to our board. The Elections Committee hosted a well-attended volunteer recruiting event on March 9. We will also have openings on all of our working groups and committees this spring as well.

This is the first FAUW board meeting in seven years without Bryan Tolson on our board; he’s stepped down as Past President after so many years of service as President, Past President, Vice President, Chief Negotiator, FRC member, and board member. Bryan has led FAUW through a tumultuous time, with humour, grace, and excellent strategy, and I’m going to miss him very much. In particular, I’m grateful for his work on both Policy 14 and as Chief Negotiator, and I wish it had not turned out that both of those issues had come to a peak of work at the same time.

This isn’t really FAUW-related, per se, but I was recently interviewed on Instagram Live by The Glow Centre, Waterloo’s LGBTQ student centre, about what it’s like to be an older (oh, dear) LGBTQ professional. I enjoyed everything about spending time with the students, but it especially reminded me just how much I learn from students whenever I spend time with them. Even with the challenge of this (endless!) pandemic, I hope you’re all getting reminded of just how lovely, and thought provoking, our students all are.

Notes from the Board discussion

  1. Fall term planning. We talked about what we know so far about how each Faculty is approaching the fall and returning to more in-person teaching. We’ll be getting into this more at the next meeting, so now is a good time to talk to a Board member about this! So far, most of the discussions about fall term are happening either in the Faculties or at Dean’s Council, neither of which we participate in. We’ve asked for the committee on timetabling, which we do participate in, to be restarted.

    Some best practices you could consider taking back to your unit that would ease the burden on everyone this fall include not assigning new course preps, and not demanding that instructors with a heavy teaching load teach a mix of in-person and online courses.

    It is our understanding that the usual accommodation process will apply, so if you anticipate needing an accommodation related to teaching in person, we recommend talking to your health-care provider about documentation soon. Accommodations do not have to be limited to having no teaching.  
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Breaking down our 2021 Salary Settlement

To help clarify some of the implications and motivations of items in the new salary settlement, we’ve once again asked our chief negotiator (Bryan Tolson, this time) to provide some commentary. Below is the full text of the agreement with annotations, but first, here’s a quick, plain-language summary of the items in the agreement:

  • 1% scale increases each year for three years.
  • $85 for eye exams (for each person every two years).
  • A new compassionate care and bereavement leave policy that will provide:
    • A salary top-up (to 85%, for up to eight weeks) for members on a Critical Illness Leave or Family Medical Leave (minus Employment Insurance benefits received)
    • Four weeks of fully paid bereavement leave on the death of a spouse/partner, child, or step-child; one week on the death of any other immediate family member, such as a parent or sibling.
  • A deadline to start collecting faculty equity data, including on race and Indigeneity, and an update to the current salary anomaly review to identify and correct race-based anomalies once the data is ready. Corrections will be retroactive to May 1, 2021, and race and Indigeneity will be factors in future salary anomaly reviews.
  • A Memorandum of Agreement update so that faculty teaching all three terms in a year can now carry two weeks of vacation forward each year (up from one); for lecturers, these weeks will not expire until after their next non-teaching term.

Interpreting the agreement

Bill 124 limitations

Bill 124 limits public sector employee compensation increases to a maximum of 1% each year for a three-year period (our period is May 2021 – April 2024). Specifically, our average salary increase is capped at 1%, and our total “compensation entitlements” (total salary plus all benefits), is also capped at a 1% increase. (See the appendix at the end of this post for the language in the bill itself). Note that selective salary increases (merit) are not affected and will continue as usual.

Our bargaining team estimated that after the 1% scale increase, we had over $600 per member remaining for other items over the three-year deal. Our certified forensic accountant, Linda Robinson, led these calculations. Our actuarial costing, led by Mary Hardy from the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science, shows the settlement items have a projected total increase in compensation entitlements of only $160 (items 5 through 8 generate no increase at all). This leaves room for additional benefit enhancements, particularly in the third year of the agreement, in which there is no additional spending as a result of this agreement beyond the scale increase.

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8 things you missed at the 2020 FAUW Fall General Meeting

FAUW holds general meetings twice a year, in December and April. They are open to all regular faculty who have opted in as voting members of the association. Here are some of the highlights from the December 8, 2020, meeting, at which we massively broke previous attendance records with 134 members in attendance!

Some of the members in attendance at the 2020 FAUW Fall General Meeting, as seen using Microsoft Teams' "Together Mode".
Together Mode: It’s almost like being there… except not.
  1. We budgeted for “business as usual” this year and (obviously) things are playing out a little differently. Key changes are that we’re underspending on events (no surprise there) and have added some donations and advocacy related expenses.
  2. The Climate Justice Working Group has proposed that FAUW declare a climate emergency at our next general meeting in April. The Board of Directors and the working group will be looking into what exactly this would look like in the meantime. Doing so would involve applying a lens of climate justice to all of FAUW’s own operations and supporting our members in relevant teaching, research, and service efforts. The CJWG is holding a meeting about this on January 28 that all FAUW members are welcome to attend.
  3. We strongly support the proposed updates to the Pregnancy and Parental Leaves policy. We need your help to keep the pressure on the administration to pass the policy. Email your feedback (both things you like and things we can still improve further) to fauw@uwaterloo.ca and uw.policy@uwaterloo.ca by December 18—and ask your colleagues, chair, and dean to do so as well!
  4. We’re picking up the research professors file again after it was paused in March. We expect a formal vote of current research professors to happen in the new year.
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Highlights from the November 22 Board Meeting

This meeting was a bit of a preview of issues likely to come up at our Fall General Meeting on Tuesday, December 4. What’s a general meeting? Well, to start, it’s a great opportunity for you to speak with the FAUW board about issues that concern you, and for the board to report back to you what we’ve been doing this term. General meetings are also where we vote on association matters like financial statements, budgets, and constitution changes. We hope you’ll be able to join us on Tuesday.

In the meantime, here’s what we discussed at the November 22 meeting, including the lecturer salary working group, holistic benefits review, and breakfast!

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Salary Anomaly Working Group Results Released

By now you will have received notification of the Salary Anomaly Working Group final report. FAUW has posted highlights from the report and a Frequently Asked Questions page on our website, which we will be adding to as more questions come in.

On behalf of the FAUW Board, I would like to thank the Working Group for the extraordinary amount of work they put into this task. It is my understanding from talking to those on the committee that this group represented the very best of processes at UW. While they came from diverse parts of campus and constituencies, they were committed to the twin tasks of both identifying anomalies and designing processes for now and the future and they did so in a very collegial and effective manner.

I would like to thank Lynne Taylor in particular, who co-chaired the group with Jean Andrey. Lynne has continued her work on this project into a well-earned sabbatical. I also thank our other two FAUW representatives, Cecilia Cotton and Benoit Charbonneau. Cecilia in particular continued to respond to questions and address issues despite being on parental leave since May. As well, I thank all other members of the group for their hard work: Jean Andrey (co-chair and Dean of Environment), Christiane Lemieux and Bill Power. The degree of cooperation and goodwill on the Working Group is to be commended. Finally, it is my understanding that staff assistance (Human Resources’ in particular) on this project was always gracious and highly effective, without which this review could not have happened.

My final comment relates to our relationship with the university administration on this issue. These processes don’t always run smoothly at any institution. Most gratifyingly, when the Working Group submitted its report to the University administration and FAUW, the Provost in particular accepted the findings immediately. It was seen by all parties as quite simply the right and necessary thing to do. It is a real pleasure to be able to report this.

—Sally Gunz, FAUW President

Read the report (PDF)
Read the highlights
Read the F.A.Q.