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Summer Update from the Faculty Association
This has been a very busy academic year for the Association, as we continue to deal with the implications of the movement of the Association under the Labour Relations Code as a union. Progress made includes revising the Association by-laws, updating a number of Association internal policies, and continuing to discuss “essential services” with the university administration.
As President of the Association, I serve as the Association’s representative on a number of ongoing UofC committees including: General Faculties Council (GFC); GFC’s Executive Committee; and GFC’s Academic Planning and Priorities Committee. While the work of these ongoing committees keeps me busy, there are two other areas of activity this past year that I wish to highlight:
• I served as the Association’s representative on the President Search Committee, whose efforts concluded with the announcement of the appointment of President Ed McCauley in November 2018. I am encouraged by President McCauley’s eagerness to learn about the concerns of academic staff (he attended a meeting of the Association’s Board in January, and is visiting all Faculty Councils as part of a “listening” tour), and look forward to learning soon how what he has heard impacts his plans for the university.
• I served as a member of GFC’s ad hoc committee on Appointment, Promotion, and Tenure, which concluded its work in April with GFC’s approval of a new “Academic Staff Criteria and Processes Handbook”. This is the culmination of many years of effort to amalgamate the relevant contents of the previous Appointment, Promotion, and Tenure manual and the General Promotion Committee manual into a single document, following the movement of the promotion, tenure, and assessment processes into the collective agreement. I must recognize, and commend, the sterling efforts of Association Associate Executive Director Don Kozak on this file. With this work completed, a working group has been established (by GFC’s Executive Committee) to review the new Handbook, and each Faculty will be revising its unit-level guidelines relating to appointment, promotion, tenure, and assessment.
I know from talking with many of you that you too have had a hectic year, and that your workload continues to grow annually, so please be sure to take time before the fall semester begins to enjoy what remains of summer with family and friends.
In late May all academic staff were sent an email to inform them that the Government of Alberta had sought input from the Association on the Government possibly delaying public sector wage reopener arbitrations (the Association’s written response can be found at: https://www.tucfa.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/GoA_ATBF_Submission_2019-05-27-FOR-WEB.pdf).
Since then, the Government has passed Bill 9, the Public Sector Wage Arbitration Deferral Act, which prohibits any wage reopener arbitrations taking place until after the end of October. This means that the arbitration the Association and the UofC Board of Governors had scheduled for 30th September and 1st October will not now take place. The Association considers Bill 9 to be an unconscionable, and illegal interference in collective bargaining.
After consulting with legal counsel, the Association will be filing a Statement of Claim against the Alberta Government. Note that a number of other unions in Alberta who have been impacted by Bill 9 are also taking legal action. None of these claims will be heard in court until 2020, which will be after we learn what additional actions the Government of Alberta will be taking following the report of the Blue Ribbon Panel on Alberta’s Finances, due in August, that will impact the Government’s budget and how it intends to deal with public sector unions.
The Faculty Association of the University of Calgary, in accordance with its policy concerning the Assessment of Deans (and equivalents), distributed a survey by campus mail to the academic staff members in three Faculties (Arts, Cumming School of Medicine, and Science) for assessing the Deans of these Faculties. The Association’s policy requires us to survey the membership partway through the appointment and again at the possible renewal point in the terms of all Deans. All academic staff members in these Faculties, as well as any academic staff members who have joint appointments involving any of those Faculties were invited to submit their responses. Thank you to all of those academic staff who took the time to fill out the surveys. The results of these surveys are shared with the respective Deans and the Provost and Vice-President (Academic) subject to response thresholds in the policy. In all cases, once the surveys reach a threshold for distribution, all quantitative results are provided to Faculty Association members. The results of these were sent out to the membership by email in April.
Feel free to contact our office if you have any questions or concerns about this process.
The updated University Code of Conduct came into effect on July 1, 2019. There are a number of changes that have implications for Academic Staff members. University HR has assembled a series of frequently asked questions that might help members to better interpret the new rules in the Code. [See: https://www.ucalgary.ca/hr/code_conduct_faqs]
The Faculty Association will monitor how the new rules are enforced and will be available to help members to navigate them. There may be questions that you have for which you want to remain anonymous. As communication with the Faculty Association is confidential, the Association may be able to get clarifying advice from HR or the administration while maintaining your anonymity.
The Faculty Association would like to remind its members about the right to representation under the Collective Agreement. One of the key purposes of the Faculty Association is to protect academic staff interests through its work to resolve conflicts between members and the administration. From time to time academic staff members may contact the Association for confidential advice. Many conflicts can be resolved informally at an early stage by the academic staff member with the advice of the Association and do not require Faculty Association representation. However, when there are situations that escalate which have the potential to lead to discipline, the administration is required to advise you of your right to have a Faculty Association representative attend with you. In other situations, such as resolving conflicts, a Faculty Association advisor may also be useful. We have been concerned that not all Heads, Deans, etc. have been appropriately advising members of your rights for advice/representation.
The Faculty Association administers a Member Emergency Fund to help individual members under emergency circumstances due to a sudden loss or decline in remuneration from the University.
The Member Emergency Fund is not intended to be used in cases where normal remuneration is inadequate for an individual’s expenses. Rather, this fund is available when there is an unexpected drop in remuneration, or when a personal emergency arises. This fund is not intended to replace the normal assistance available from government or other agencies.
In addition to current members, individuals who have held sessional, limited term or contingent term appointments which have recently terminated are eligible to apply. Relief may be provided as a grant, an interest-free loan, or as a combination grant/loan.
For more information on the Member Emergency Fund, please contact Faculty Association Executive Director Sheila Miller, by phone, (403) 220-5722 or by email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
All inquiries will be held in the strictest confidence.
Eight members of the Board of Directors had terms that ended on June 30, 2019. Six of these members responded to the Association’s call for nominations and were acclaimed to return to the Board, five to serve for three-year terms beginning July 1, 2019 [John Baker (Faculty of Arts, Department of Philosophy), Kent Donlevy (Werklund School of Education), Tish Doyle-Baker (Faculty of Kinesiology), Karen Then (Faculty of Nursing), and Mary-Ellen Tyler (School of Architecture, Planning, and Landscape)] and one, Polly Knowlton Cockett to serve a one-year term as the sessional member of the Board.
The Association thanks departing Board members Michael Sideris (Schulich School of Engineering, Department of Geomatics Engineering) and David Stewart (Faculty of Arts, Department of Political Science) for their valued service to the Association.
The Faculty Association’s audited financial statements were approved by the Board of Directors on January 29, 2019. The audit was executed as required by the Association’s bylaws. The auditors found that there was excellent cooperation between management and other personnel, and that the audit numbers support the assurance that the Association is in good financial shape.
The financial statements for the fiscal year 2017-2018 are available here. If you have any questions, please contact the Association office.
A minor change in CAUT dues took effect on July 1, 2019. These dues are calculated by applying a mil rate to the national average salary at each rank. While the mil rate remains unchanged at 1.50, variations in the national average salary result in slight changes to the dues amounts. The monthly amounts are as follows:
CAUT Membership Fees 2019-20 (2018-19)
Professor $18.80 ($18.41)
Associate $15.16 ($14.83)
Assistant $12.26 ($12.00)
Part-time/Sessional $3.84 ($3.81)
The amount paid to the CAUT Defence Fund remains the same for 2018-19 at $5.50 per month.