Bargaining workload

by Faculty Association | Filed under President's Message, September 2012.

– By Paul Rogers, Faculty Association President –

By the time that this President’s Message, my first of the 2012-2013 academic year, reaches you we will be well into the busy Fall Semester, so please accept my somewhat belated best wishes for a productive and satisfying year. While I have no doubt as to magnitude of the workload burden members of the academic staff will be bearing this year, I want to ensure that you are aware of the extreme bargaining workload that the Association will be dealing with over the same period.

The Association will be entering into negotiations on the Collective Agreement (CA) with the Board of Governors this year as the current agreement is set to expire on the 30th June 2013. In addition to this, there are a number of other negotiations ongoing, some of which I mentioned more than a year ago including: (i) incorporating tenure and promotion processes into the CA; (ii) incorporating assessment procedures into the CA; (iii) discussion of issues regarding the assignment of duties article in the CA; and (iv) reviewing the article on sessional instructors in the CA. These negations will consume much of the time of the Association’s officers and staff, especially that of the Association’s Principal Negotiator, Eileen Lohka. You will be hearing more from Eileen as these negotiations progress, so please give her your careful attention, thoughtful feedback, and full support during what is going to be an exceptionally busy time for her.

I want to briefly update you on an important issue that I discussed in my June 2012 article, this being the workload of academic staff in the instructor stream in the Faculty of Arts (see here for the earlier article). There are two active grievances related to this now, the first being the original grievance of the unilateral decision of the Dean of Arts to increase teaching workloads, and the second relating to the conduct of the administration’s review of the Dean’s decision. I recognize that there is a great deal of concern over academic staff workload across the institution, not just in the Faculty of Arts, for example a number of members from the Faculty of Science have brought to my attention that unit’s plan to increase teaching loads.

As the previous paragraph makes clear, your Association and the university administration will not always agree on issues, but I am committed to working with senior administration from a perspective of cooperation and mutual respect. It is with this in mind that I want to commend Provost Dru Marshall and the U of C’s Copyright Committee for reaching the correct decision on the issue of the Access Copyright model licence agreement (as was announced towards the end of August, the U of C will not be signing the model licence agreement).

I received an interesting memo recently from the President of the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) that makes it clear that a number of issues the Faculty Association is facing here are also concerns of other academic staff associations across Canada. The memo from CAUT President Wayne Peters highlighted a number of common concerns across the country, most notably: (i) increased workloads and expectations; (ii) challenges to academic involvement in governance; (iii) casualization of academic staff; and (iv) insufficient funding from government sources.

There is one additional development that I must bring to your attention before I close. Due to renovations in the Education Tower, where the Association’s office is located, the Association will be moving temporarily to another space on campus. This move will be disruptive, so please bear this in mind if Association staff are not able to respond to your requests as quickly as normal.

Finally, as always, I encourage you to contact me to share your thoughts on issues of importance to you and the Association.


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