Board meeting report: January 19, 2023

Here’s what the Board talked about at its last meeting:

  • The Policy 76/77 update and panel discussion, and the policy drafting committee’s process so far. You can watch the P76/77 panel on Microsoft Stream here (UW login required) and read the PDC members’ report on this blog.
  • The CAUT Equity Conference is coming up on February 10. Two or three members of the Equity Committee will be attending, and registration is still open.
  • Policy 3 (Sabbatical and other leaves). The Board agreed to proposed changes to Policy 3 that would allow faculty to transition between sabbatical and sick leave in the event of extended illness. This should be approved at Faculty Relations Committee soon and then sent to the Board of Governors. These changes were prompted by recommendations based on past Academic Freedom & Tenure Committee cases.
  • FAUW leadership transition. As we announced earlier this month, Lori Curtis has stepped down and vice president Mary Hardy has now assumed the role of president. The Board voted to have president-elect David Porreca begin his term in May this year, instead of July, and to have David join the board in a non-voting capacity until his term as president begins, to facilitate a smoother transition. David is a past president of FAUW (2012–2015) and will bring experience and institutional memory that will be very useful at this time.
  • Salary Anomaly Working Group. The Board appointed Rashmee Singh, Kate Rybczynski, and Michael Wallace as the FAUW representatives on the working group.
  • The salary negotiation team. Salary negotiations begin late this year, and will be issuing a call for interested team members in the coming weeks. Please send us any recommendations you have! We need a strong leader for the team, and at least one accountant.
  • The University’s mask policy. We’ve heard from several members who do not feel safe in small, crowded classrooms without asking students to mask. FAUW is considering asking for the data on which the University is basing its masking decisions.
  • CUPE sessional unionization. President Mary Hardy met with CUPE representatives and expressed support for their organizing efforts. She notes that there’s no disagreement about who represents whom.
  • Mary also met with the Staff Association to discuss common issues, including snow days and pension & benefits.

Bleak, but… (GM and board meeting reports: December 2022)

The highlight of the fall general meeting on December 7 was definitely Jay Dolmage’s audio glitching and getting stuck in a loop of him saying “bleak, but” as he tried to provide an update on the employee accommodations policy. (Jay later summarized in the chat: “PDC 57 has some reason to be optimistic that we can move this along in the new year.”)

“Bleak, but…” turns out to be a good summary of how members seem to be feeling about the role of faculty in governance at Waterloo. Policy development keeps stalling, faculty feel like senate meetings are rubber stamping sessions, and we don’t really get a say in a lot of university guidelines and academic processes that affect our work.

But there’s cause for hope. The administration agrees that the policy development process isn’t working, and we’ll be talking about how to fix that as soon as we see how the new Policy 76 process works out. There’s some real desire and momentum right now among members to find better ways of doing things, whether that’s a revised Policy 1 (the policy on policies), moving more items into the Memorandum of Agreement, or considering certification. And, most importantly, a whole lot of faculty members are interested and engaged with these issues and offering some great suggestions. Now we just need to make them happen. Some ideas we’ve heard recently—at this meeting or otherwise—include:

  • Regular open discussions about hot issues
  • Mobilizing faculty senators—maybe meeting in advance of senate meetings
  • Better tracking of member suggestions and Board follow up
  • Negotiating a workload policy
  • Solidarity with other employee and student groups at UW
  • Improving APRs (the process for these is governed by the MoA, but standards are currently set by each Faculty and department)
  • A member engagement committee to build networks and identify opportunities for members to work on issues
  • And, of course, the internal governance review that will be starting soon

What do you want to make happen, and how? Let us know in the comments, or contact Mary Hardy, acting president, or David Porreca, president-elect.

2023 negotiation priorities

We asked for ideas for goals in our next round of negotiations, which start in late 2023. Here are the most common suggestions:

Continue reading “Bleak, but… (GM and board meeting reports: December 2022)”

Board meeting report: November 2022

Here’s what the Board of Directors has discussed at recent meetings:

The 2022 Hagey Lecture. The recording of this year’s lecture, delivered by the Stratford Festival’s Antoni Cimolino, is now available.

Council of Representatives: The Board discussed (and supported) suggestions from Council members for FAUW to conduct more surveys and discussions with members. Be sure to ask your representative for more information from the latest Council meeting and FAUW’s new mask posters. We are still looking for representatives from the School of Architecture and the Stratford School.

Meeting tips: FAUW Parliamentarian Katy Fulfer shared a Robert’s Rules tip that unanimous or general consent can be a quick way to dispense of “routine business” or “questions of little importance.” The chair would say something along the lines of “If there is no objection, can be minutes be approved by unanimous consent?” If so, great! No need to deal with Teams lag when looking for virtual hands in getting a seconder. If anyone objects, then the usual process ensues.

Our 2021-22 audit. Our auditor presented the results of the audit for fiscal year 2021-22. The audited financial statements will be presented at the fall general meeting on December 7.

MoA changes. The Board approved minor changes to our Memorandum of Agreement with the University that were necessitated by Tri-Agency funding requirements. The changes still need to be approved by the University President and will be sent to faculty once they’re finalized.

The FAUW governance review. The Board voted to proceed with having Canadian Association of University Teachers lead the governance review. We still need to sort out the details and structure of the review but expect it to get underway soon, so get your input and ideas ready!

Policies 76 and 77. The path forward for resolving these policies was endorsed by lecturers and approved at Senate. We have now exchanged policy drafts with the administration and are determining which items we agree on, and which items the policy drafting committee will work on.

Compensation negotiations. We will soon need to put together a three-person negotiating team to start preparing for our 2023-24 negotiations. We’re also interested in hearing suggestions for negotiating priorities from members—drop them in the comments!

Committee and other appointments. Zelalem Negeri from Statistics and Actuarial Science has joined the FAUW Equity Committee, and Kaishu Wu is now our representative on the OCUFA Contract Faculty Committee, to keep us up-to-date with what’s happening with contract faculty across the province.

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.

Continue reading “Breaking down our 2021 Salary Settlement”

Compensation negotiations proceeding to mediation

Yesterday, after two months of negotiations, the FAUW negotiating team presented a final good faith offer to the UW administration, hoping to reach an agreement on compensation negotiations by the deadline of midnight, February 1. We are disappointed to report that the offer was not accepted. The final offer from the University was also unacceptable. As a result, our negotiations will continue, first going to a mediator and then, if an agreement is still not reached, to arbitration. All these proceedings are set out in section 10 of the Memorandum of Agreement

We know you will be as disappointed as we are. So, let us explain how we got here.

We didn’t enter negotiations to maximize our pay cheques. We wanted—we believed you deserved—fairer benefits and better equity provisions. Bill 124 already restricts us to a 1% scale increase, so we worked instead, for example, to try to make it possible for lecturers teaching all three terms in a year to take their vacation entitlement. We also tried to get agreement on a cost-neutral compassionate care supplemental benefit plan, so that you can take time away from work to provide care or support to a critically ill or injured person or someone needing end-of-life care. We argued for better bereavement benefits. Currently, if your child or partner or parent were to die, the University would offer you one to four days’ paid leave of absence. This seems cruelly inadequate. 

Continue reading “Compensation negotiations proceeding to mediation”

Report from the November 26 Board meeting

Here’s what we discussed:

  1. Salary negotiations. We held a confidential session on our priorities, which include some of the typical items around salary and benefits, a couple of key equity-oriented items, and a few things that we believe will make life easier for our members and your families, particularly during difficult times. The negotiating team is optimistic and assures us they will be “tough and fair” as they head into bargaining next week. We will report back when we have news we can share, probably in the new year. Good luck, team!
  2. Redistribution of unspent professional expense (FPER) funds. Members will receive two-thirds of this money on December 4 and can use it as part of this year’s FPER; the remaining third will be added to the 2021-2022 FPER amount. There is also a new chart from Finance that explains which work-from-home expenses are eligible for FPER, a tax deduction, or both. 
  3. Policy 14 (Pregnancy and Parental Leaves). The Policy 14 consultation website is now live. Please share your feedback, both positive and negative. We’re very excited about the changes in this policy and need your help to make sure it’s approved. 
  4. Our 2020-21 budget. We passed a ‘business as usual’ budget at our April general meeting and business has not proceeded as usual. Some of our committees have submitted proposals to repurpose some of their funds in light of not having in-person events. We also have a couple of new, unexpected expenses, and a lot of event money that isn’t going to be used this year. We’ll have a more detailed update for voting members at our general meeting on December 8. 
  5. framework for teaching statements for 2020 performance reviews. Ian VanderBurgh created a document to help members contextualize and describe what their teaching has looked like over the last year. Teaching statements aren’t required; good ones take substantial time to write, and you can opt out of being evaluated on your teaching for 2020 altogether, but we think this is a useful guide for those who do choose to submit a statement. 
  6. Policy 76 (Faculty Appointments). We discussed candidate key changes that we want to see in this policy with regard to teaching faculty. This is essentially a list of bargaining priorities, so we won’t be sharing it publicly. We also discussed a tentative plan for moving forward with the policy 76 revision process, and we hope to have an announcement about this at the general meeting.  
  7. Winter and spring term dates. We haven’t heard anything about spring term starting late or having a reading week, but for the record, we aren’t in support of any such changes to spring term dates. Among other things, pushing back the end of spring term would limit the time available for faculty teaching in both spring and fall (let along all three terms) to take any time off next year. We have heard that the deadline for submitting your winter term grades is not changing. More on the changes to winter term in Dan’s president’s report below.
Continue reading “Report from the November 26 Board meeting”

November 12 update from the FAUW Board

Here are the non-confidential highlights of the November 12 Board of Directors meeting, and the president’s report.

Items of interest from the meeting

  1. Anti-racism advisor. We’ve hired Kathy Hogarth as an anti-racism advisor to the FAUW Board. Kathy will be attending FAUW Board meetings for the remainder of this year as part of this role. There’s more about Kathy in Dan’s president’s report below.
  2. The status of Policy 76 – Faculty Appointments. As we discussed at the Spring General Meeting, the P76 drafting process has shown us that the way we’ve always drafted and negotiated policy at Waterloo is no longer working. Here’s the latest: The drafting committee submitted a document to the Faculty Relations Committee co-chairs (the FAUW president and the provost) in late summer, which the Secretariat was unable to adapt into a usable policy without more work and guidance from FRC. Policy 76 was initially opened for revision largely to address lecturer titles and spousal appointments. FAUW’s Board and Lecturers Committee are currently working on identifying FAUW’s priorities for P76, specifically on the topic of teaching stream faculty. What happens next, we’re unfortunately still not sure, but we will keep you posted. We know this is frustrating and we appreciate your extreme patience with this.
  3. 1492 Land Back Lane. The OCUFA Board of Directors unanimously voted to support Haudenosaunee land defenders at 1492 Land Back Lane by donating $5,000 to their legal defense fund. The Librarians and Archivists Association at UW has sent a letter in support of the organizers to federal and provincial ministers (and local representatives). The FAUW Board voted to issue a similar statement of support along with our Equity Committee and to donate $1,492 to the legal defense fund. We also discussed other potential avenues of support for the Six Nations of the Grand River and other Indigenous communities that we might pursue in the future (or to pressure the university to implement), such as scholarships or paying taxes to the Indigenous nations whose land we work on. For example, FAUW reps are hoping the University will financially support local Indigenous students (e.g. from Six Nations of the Grand River).
  4. Copyright. There will soon be a new notice appearing once a term on LEARN to remind you about some of the legalities related to uploading content. If you have questions about copyright related to your course material or your own work, email copyright@uwaterloo.ca — that email goes to a team of copyright specialists across campus.
  5. Declaring a climate emergency. The Climate Justice Working Group has prepared a draft climate emergency declaration for FAUW. This will go to the Fall General Meeting for discussion. If you’re a voting member, you’ll receive the draft in your agenda package by December 1.

Keep reading for Dan’s president’s report, including a Policy 14 (Pregnancy and Parental Leave) update and more about Kathy Hogarth.

Continue reading “November 12 update from the FAUW Board”

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.

Continue reading “Update from the October 29 Board meeting”

October 1 Board meeting recap & president’s report

In addition to our usual summary of key Board meeting agenda items, we’re now also sharing the non-confidential parts of dan brown’s president’s report to the Board in these biweekly(ish) updates. 

President’s report to FAUW board 

dan brown, 28 sept 2020 

I hope you have all enjoyed the warmth of the past two weeks. I am distressed to see the recent rise in COVID-19 cases in Waterloo Region, and hope that patio season can be extended as long as possible; it’s going to be a long winter. 

FAUW held a town hall for our members on September 22, both to talk about how people are doing in the pandemic (it’s a mixed bag!), and to talk about possible goals for our negotiating team. Members reported a lack of consultation at many levels of the university administration. 

We received a request for participation in the university’s new Equity Data Advisory Group. We will also be advocating for transparency in this key project. 

Faculty Relations Committee approved an agreement with the administration on how to handle performance reviews for 2020 in light of the pandemic. Members can choose to be evaluated on none, some, or all of the usual service, teaching, and scholarship categories for 2020, and the agreement spells out how scores for unevaluated categories will be calculated. [The details are in an email from Faculty Relations Committee sent by the University October 9]. My thanks to Johanna Wandel and Kate Lawson for serving as FAUW’s negotiators on this item. 

I hope you all have a lovely Thanksgiving holiday and keep safe and well.  

Other things we talked about on October 1 

Continue reading “October 1 Board meeting recap & president’s report”

Updates from the August 6 & September 17 FAUW Board of Directors meetings

The FAUW Board of Directors meets every two weeks (except during July and August). After most meetings, we share a summary of the non-confidential parts of the meetings, to make sure our members know what we’re working on. If you subscribe to our blog, you’ll get these updates by email.

Here are some of the things we talked about at our last two meetings:

  1. Negotiations. We spent the first part of both meetings with our new negotiating team, discussing possible goals and preparing for the town hall meeting on Tuesday, September 22.
  2. Policy 14 – Pregnancy & Parental Leaves (Including Adoption). The Board had a first look at the new Policy 14 draft. Members will have an opportunity to review the proposed new policy soon!
  3. 2020 Performance Reviews. As announced by FAUW and the Provost recently, FAUW is finalizing an agreement to allow members to skip having their performance evaluated in categories they choose in 2020. We are working out details with the administration now.
  4. Policy 33 – Ethical Behaviour. The new draft of this policy is currently being revised based on feedback from stakeholders, including FAUW.
  5. Winter term. It turns out this has kind of been announced, at least in some faculties, so in case you haven’t heard: winter term will look pretty much like fall term.
  6. Masks on campus. We had some concerns about the initial announcement (on July 21) about where and when masks are required on campus, and those concerns were addressed. (The University issued a follow-up statement on July 31 that masks would be required in classrooms and teaching labs in addition to the other common areas previously announced.)