A commitment to improving Equity in our Collective Agreement

In this round of collective bargaining, the APUO is committed to improving equity at the University of Ottawa. In this bulletin, we will explain the steps and proposals tabled by our collective bargaining team to improve the representation of equity groups as outlined in article 17.1.6.1 of the Collective Agreement (C.A.). Equity groups, as per the C.A. include women, Visible Minorities, Aboriginal peoples and people with disabilities.

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee progress update

As you may recall, the APUO provided a summary of the Equity Diversity and Inclusion Committee (EDIC) progress update for the 2016-2017 academic year in its December bulletin. In that bulletin, we mentioned that the University’s Human Rights Office (HRO) refused to share data as it relates to Visible Minorities, Aboriginal peoples and people with disabilities amongst full-time professors. The EDIC’s report, therefore, focused on gender inequities, specifically the representation of women and men, the gender pay gap, and the gender promotion gap. The EDIC’s analysis provided the APUO with valuable insight on ways to improve gender equity in this round of collective bargaining. It also highlighted the importance to incorporate language in our C.A. around the need for the HRO to share equity data on Visible Minorities, Aboriginal peoples and people with disabilities with the EDIC.

Here is a summary of the APUO’s work around equity issues, and the equity proposals we have tabled during this round of collective bargaining.

Increasing the representation of equity groups

Academic staff who are also members of equity groups are often called upon to take on additional work, such as interpreting documents through an “equity lens”, act as a liaison with various community groups, mentoring and advising, act as media contact, write reports that address equity concerns, and serve on multiple committees.  Unfortunately, this extra work is often not compensated or considered when members of equity groups apply for tenure and promotion.[1]This reality is only compounded by the ongoing under-representation of members of equity groups among our faculty and underscores the importance of increasing the representation of professors and librarians identifying with equity groups.

The APUO tabled changes to Article 17. Where the C.A. references the under-representation of “women or men,” we propose to update the language to the under-representation of “equity groups.” This broadens the scope to include Visible Minorities, Aboriginal peoples and people with disabilities. These changes should have an impact on future appointments and improve the representation of equity groups. Thus far, the Administration seems open to accepting this proposal. However, the APUO feels that this proposal alone doesn’t go far enough.

Recognizing that unconscious biases influence appointments, the APUO feels it is essential to increase the representation of equity groups on various University committees. This is why the APUO is proposing to add language to our C.A. that would ensure the representation of at least one equity group on the Faculty Teaching Personnel Committees (article 14), the Departmental Teaching Personnel Committees (article 15), the Librarians’ Personnel Committees (section 16.1), and the Teaching Personnel Committees of the Institute (section 16.2). Until we can increase the number of full-time professors and librarians who identify with equity groups, we feel this proposal represents a step in the right direction.

Equity data

We know that there is an under-representation of Visible Minorities, Aboriginal people and people with disabilities among APUO members. To address this gap in representation, it is crucial that the data about equity groups be analyzed and that targets be set to improve representation. The APUO has therefore tabled a proposal that would mandate Teaching Personnel Committees to conduct annual equity reviews and set appointment targets to improve the representation of equity groups.

The APUO urges the Central Administration to agree, to mandate the HRO, through our C.A., to share data on equity groups with the EDIC, and to create a data analyst position with the Institutional Research and Planning Office dedicated to equity. As part of the U15, the University of Ottawa committed to enhancing equity and diversity in research, and we are puzzled at the Central Administration’s refusal to accept our proposals surrounding the collection and analysis of equity data.

Childcare 

The APUO firmly believes that childcare is an important service to the members of the university community and represents a necessary step in ensuring family status equity. A lack of access to quality childcare means that certain members of the university community are disproportionately put at a disadvantage and impacts their ability to work and fully participate in academic life. Making childcare a necessity not only takes into consideration the changing demographics at the University but provides much needed social support to members of the university community in child-rearing relationships. Improved access to quality childcare services would allow professors and librarians to be better engaged as members in their respective academic and non-academic communities. The APUO has tabled language to create 100 new child care spaces near campus, 60 of which would be dedicated to APUO members. The Administration has categorically rejected this proposal.

Student questionnaires  

Academic research on the use of student questionnaires to evaluate teaching has demonstrated that these are not only ineffective but involve prejudices that disadvantage members of equity groups. We were very disappointed to see the Central administration table language that would outright remove the APUO’s right to be consulted before the implementation of changes to student questionnaires. The APUO has indicated its willingness to strike a side table with the Provost to explore the possibility of introducing teaching dossiers, making student questionnaires one of several elements that would be included in the dossiers.

Conclusion

As discussed in one of our earlier Collective Bargaining Update, the Central administration has not only rejected most of our equity proposals; it hasn’t presented the APUO with counter-proposals to facilitate discussion and find common ground. We fail to understand why the Central administration isn’t prepared to commit to building a fair and equitable work environment for professors and librarians. At a time when mainstream media is widely discussing equity, we remain optimistic that the University administration will join the APUO in seeking to address systemic issues of sexism, racism, and ableism at our institution.

We wish to reiterate once again our willingness to meet with your academic unit and discuss our proposals, and the collective bargaining process upon invitation. Should you wish to do so, please contact our President, Susan Spronk at apuopres@uottawa.ca.


[1]Canadian Association of University Teachers, Policy statement on the Recognition of Increased Workload of Academic Staff Members in Equity-Seeking Groups in a Minority Context https://www.caut.ca/about-us/caut-policy/lists/caut-policy-statements/recognition-of-increased-workload-of-academic-staff-members-in-equity-seeking-groups-in-a-minority-context

#Respect Campaign

Dear members,

The APUO has been in collective bargaining with the Central Administration of the University since January 30. As we have expressed through our Bargaining Updates over the last few months, the vast majority of the proposals tabled by the APUO have been rejected, making this round of collective bargaining a difficult one.

As we prepare for an intensive bargaining session with the Administration over the weekend and Monday, we are launching a campaign calling on the Central Administration to respect the APUO and the bargaining process. In the coming days, you will receive a pin and a flyer summarizing key proposals tabled by the APUO and the Administration. The back of the flyer is a poster that we encourage you to stick on your office door, as a show of solidarity with your colleagues and the APUO Collective Bargaining Team. We also encourage you to express your support for the APUO Bargaining Team via social media by using the hashtags #Respect and #uOttawa together.

Our Collective Agreement expires on April 30, but we remain hopeful that this weekend’s intensive bargaining session with the Administration can be a productive one.

In solidarity,

The APUO executive

Bargaining update: monetary proposals

Dear members,

Wednesday afternoon, the APUO’s negotiation team tabled the monetary proposals approved by the APUO Board of Directors. Here is a summary of what we presented to the Central Administration. At this time, the APUO has proposed a two-year Collective Agreement.

Salaries:
–    2% annual economic increase
–    2% annual catch-up increases
–    The removal of salary caps for all professorial ranks
–    Changes to article 41.3.2.4 to remove the reduced Progress-through-the-ranks (PTR) for tenured assistant professors (a possibility before 2004)

The proposed economic increase is based on the forecasted inflation rate. The proposed catch-up salary increases are based on the differences between our salaries and the salaries of our colleagues at our comparator universities. Comparator universities used for this analysis were McMaster University, Queen’s University, York University, and Western University which all have higher salaries. Our tabled proposals, therefore, take into account the need to catch up our salaries to those of our comparators, and the forecasted inflation rate (around 2% annually).

Benefits:
–    Increase health coverage from 80% to 100% (as it was previously)
–    Increase dental coverage from 80% to 100%
–    Increase vision coverage from $250 to $400
–    Increase Professional expense reimbursements (PER) from $1,625 (unchanged since 2011) to $2,000 per year

Benefits for retirees
–    Allow pre-2001 retirees access to the Health Care Spending Account (HCSA) for retirees
–    Increase the HCSA for retirees fund to $3,000 per year

As per every bargaining round, the APUO and the Central administration jointly commissioned a study to analyze our benefits and measure them with a comparator group of universities (Carleton, McMaster, Queen’s, Guelph, Waterloo, Western, Windsor, and York).

Here is how the University of Ottawa ranked on health benefits (1 being the most valuable benefits package and 8 being the least valuable):

Health Care Coverage as a whole (preretirement, including vision/hearing and dental) Between 7th & 8th
Dental Coverage on its own Below 8th rank*
Postretirement Health Care Below 8th rank
All Health Care (preretirement and postretirement) Below 8th rank

*“Below 8th rank” means that, while the University of Ottawa compares itself to the comparator group in terms of size and mandate, our benefits where so much below those offered at other universities in the comparator group that they fell out of the 1 to 8 ranking margin established by the study.

The Central Administration’s proposals

Salaries:

  • 1.25% across the board from May 1, 2018 through to May 1, 2020 (this increase accounts for inflation)
  • No catch-up salary increase was tabled

No changes were tabled regarding Health and Dental Benefits.

The Administration is proposing striking article 40.8.1 in its entirety. This Article pertains to access to parking on campus.

The Administration has tabled a Letter of Understanding that would put an end to the Voluntary Retirement Incentive Program at the end of the current collective agreement.

Financial situation of the University

As you may recall, the APUO debunked the myth that the University of Ottawa is facing a difficult financial situation in its December bulletin. According to the University’s Audited Financial Statements, the University has recorded $347 million in cumulative surpluses over the last 9 years and $48.6 million ($12.1 million excluding unrealised gains) for 2016-2017.

For bargaining purposes, tuition fee increases, support staff hiring freeze, workload increases, and cuts across all faculties and at the library, the Central Administration claims that the University of Ottawa is in a difficult financial situation. However, “financial problems” suddenly disappear when it comes to proposing generous salary increases for five senior executives. And this is in addition to the fact that the Administration has been spending unreasonable amounts of money on consultant fees and travel expenses for years. The Central Administration’s main deficit is a credibility deficit.

For all the reasons mentioned in this bulletin, we consider that the Central Administration’s monetary proposals are unreasonable and unacceptable. Even taking into account only the inflation rate (i.e. without any catch-up increases), accepting such proposals would translate into lower purchasing power for APUO members.

Please consult the following link to see the APUO’s salary proposals and the following link for our benefits proposals.
To see the Central Administration’s proposals in their entirety, please consult the following link.

Finally, we invite you to our upcoming Strategic Thinking and Action Forum (STAF) on the University of Ottawa’s financial situation (April 24, from noon to 2 pm, at GSD 307). Please see the following link for more information.

APUO Annual General Meeting – Spring 2018

The APUO Annual General Meeting will take place on 26 April 2018 from 11:30 to 15:00, in Alumni Auditorium – University Centre.

This will be the occasion to elect members of the 2018-2019 APUO Executive Committee, who are responsible for the management of current matters as well as urgent ones. As we are currently in negotiation, this is a critical year and your participation at the annual general meeting is crucial. Sandwiches and coffee will be served.

Here are the documents for the meeting:

The Association of Professors of the University of Ottawa (APUO) strives to make its services accessible to all persons with disabilities. If you require accommodations to access or to fully participate in this event, please contact Michel Desjardins (apuodir@uottawa.ca, 613-230-3659) at the APUO office no later than three (3) working days prior to the meeting/event. Such advance notice is essential for the APUO to make arrangements for any appropriate accommodation requests.