APUO reaction to the Central Administration’s “Comprehensive/Global Offer”

Since our last bargaining update, the APUO and the Central Administration agreed to seek the assistance of a third-party mediator. We have mediation sessions booked with Arbitrator Kaplan on June 8 and 14.

In mid-April, the Central Administration unilaterally decided to deviate from the bargaining process established by over 40 years of past practice by presenting a “Comprehensive/Global Offer” and asking the APUO to respond in kind. The APUO negotiation team declined the offer and informed the Central Administration that it would prefer to continue bargaining as per usual. At that time, the Central Administration reiterated that it would only respond by global offers once the APUO has countered on all active proposals. The Administration also informed the APUO that it would not sign off on proposals on which both parties had reached a mutual agreement. In the view of the APUO, the Central Administration’s new inflexible bargaining approach has seriously impeded progress and reduced efficiencies.

Signed-off proposals

Prior to the Administration’s unilateral change in the bargaining process, the parties had signed off on seven proposals, two tabled by the APUO and five tabled by the Central Administration.

APUO

  • Governance / LOU on “Equity and TPCs”
  • Housekeeping

Administration

  • Direct Peer Review of Teaching (DPRT)
  • Emeritus Professor
  • Librarians
  • Two separate Housekeeping proposals

Agreed-to but unsigned proposals

Subsequent to mid-April, eleven other proposals have been agreed to by both Parties, nine tabled by the APUO and two tabled by the Central Administration.

APUO

  • Governance: Academic Administrative Positions Letter of Understanding
  • Governance: Academic Postings
  • Governance: Chairs
  • Governance: Composition of TPCs
  • Governance: Information
  • Working conditions: Academic leave
  • Working conditions: Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee
  • Working conditions: Faculty Workload Review Committee
  • Working conditions: Retired professors

Administration

  • Grievance process (Mediation)
  • Notice of Intent to apply (related to tenure and promotion applications)
  • Librarians

Withdrawn proposals

Both Parties have withdrawn many of their initial proposals.

APUO

  • Governance: Confidentiality
  • Governance: Management rights
  • Governance: Visiting professors
  • Quality of Education: New course
  • Quality of Education: Ratios and class size
  • Working conditions: Academic Freedom
  • Working conditions: Annual reviews
  • Working conditions: Childcare
  • Working conditions: Complaints and member files
  • Working conditions: Exit interviews
  • Working conditions: Replacement professors
  • Working conditions: Teaching restrictions
  • Language teachers
  • Efficient negotiations: Inter-union solidarity

Administration

  • Delegation
  • Liaison Committee
  • Conflict of Interest
  • Teaching load
  • Basic progress
  • Discipline

Outstanding proposals

Please find below some highlights of the progress that we have made and some of the non-monetary issues that remain outstanding.

Ensure open, transparent and fair governance

  • APUO / Selection of chairs: The APUO wants academic unit colleagues to select their chairs. We also propose to formalise the compensation of two (2) course releases per year for chairs. Central Administration has rejected our proposal on compensation and is proposing a pilot project for the election of chairs in the Faculty of Social Sciences.
  • APUO /Selection of Deans: The APUO has drastically modified our original proposal. The APUO is asking for a ratification vote by members for the renewal of a Dean’s appointment.
  • APUO / Selection of Vice-Deans: The APUO has drastically modified our original proposal. The APUO is asking for a ratification vote by members in the appointment of Vice-Deans.
  • Administration / Exclusions: The Central Administration seeks to double the number of excluded Vice-Deans. The APUO has rejected this proposal.
  • Administration / Student evaluations: The Central Administration seeks to remove their obligation to get APUO’s consent prior to using evaluation data obtained after their unilateral decision to change the student evaluation system. The APUO has proposed doing a joint study on student evaluation questions and the system, and the possible use of teaching dossiers. In return, the APUO is agreeing to provide a temporary (starting May 2018 for the duration of the study) consent to the use of the data in evaluating members’ teaching.
  • Administration / New evaluation tools: The Central Administration seeks to remove our consultation rights and their obligation to get APUO’s consent prior to using any newly development teaching evaluation tool (such as a teaching dossier). The APUO has rejected this proposal.

Workload and improving the quality of education

  • APUO / Complement: The APUO has proposed to add the complement (the minimum number of APUO appointments) language in the Collective Agreement and suggests the University of Ottawa hire 15 new members per year. The Central Administration has rejected renewing the complement agreement and refuses to discuss the issue unless it is directly linked with the monetary proposals. If the complement agreement is not renewed, it will allow the Central Administration to abolish APUO positions when members leave the University, be it for retirement or any other reason. This will not only result in an increased workload for APUO members (who are already overburdened) but also in a considerable impoverishment of teaching, research, and collegiality at the University of Ottawa – not to mention the dramatic impact this decision will have on the academic career prospects of doctoral candidates.
  • APUO / Workload: The APUO has proposed clear guidelines on correcting workloads that are significantly higher than the previously agreed-to workload benchmark of 1992-1994. In 2014-2016, some academic units had a 200% higher student contact hours than in 1992-1994. The Central Administration has rejected our proposal and instead proposed to replace the 1992-1994 benchmark with the 2014-2016 number of student contact hours. This modification would have serious deleterious impacts for academic units experiencing increased workload such as many units in the Faculty of Engineering and the Telfer School of Management.

Create Fair and Equitable Working Conditions

  • APUO / Computers: The APUO is demanding that non-functional computers be replaced with new systems. Central Administration rejects this proposal.
  • APUO / Course releases: The APUO is demanding more flexibility in how it can allocate its course releases. Central Administration rejects this proposal.

Improve Librarians, CSAP and Language Teachers’ working conditions

  • APUO / Librarians: The Parties are discussing changing the hiring processes. The APUO is proposing that members are consulted when their positions are modified. Central Administration rejects this proposal.
  • APUO / CSAP: The APUO has proposed a four-month professional leave per each five-year contract for CSAPs. The Central Administration has proposed a similar leave but using qualifying criteria that excluded ALL existing CSAPs for benefiting of the leave.

Other issues

  • Both Parties: Both Parties are working to establish a joint working group study and correct gender salary gaps.

The Negotiating Team continues to work very hard to seek mutually-agreeable solutions in the context of bargaining. You can show your support for the Negotiating Team by promoting the #Respect Campaign to help us reach a fair deal.

Conciliation vs. Mediation

Dear members,

In our last Bargaining Update, we informed you that Central Administration had filed a request for the appointment of a Conciliation Officer. We also informed you that both parties had agreed to mediation. Here is a short summary of recent developments.

The APUO and the Central Administration have agreed to hire William Kaplan as a mediator. The parties will meet with the mediator on June 8 and 14.

A Conciliation Officer has been appointed by the Province. The Parties have agreed to delay the scheduling of conciliation sessions after mediation in the event that mediation fails.

Although both processes can function in parallel and aim at assisting the parties in reaching an agreement, they are different. Here are some of the main differences between mediation and conciliation.

Quick facts on conciliation

  • The conciliator is appointed by the Minister of Labour.
  • Conciliation is mandatory and will continue as long as both parties find it constructive and helpful.
  • If one or both parties conclude that conciliation is not working, they may request a No-Board report which shall be issued by the Minister. Once the No-Board has been issued, there is a period of 17 working days (during which negotiations are still possible) at the end of which: (1) the members may begin a strike action; (2) the Employer may impose a lock out; or (3) the Employer may unilaterally rewrite the Collective Agreement.
  • Conciliation does not inevitably lead to one of the three previous scenarios, but it would be irresponsible for APUO not to prepare for the prossibility of a stike, if only because a strike could prevent the Central Administration from unilaterally re-writing the Collective Agreement.

Quick facts on mediation 

  • The mediator is chosen by the parties
  • Mediation cannot be imposed by one party on the other party; it requires mutual consent of both parties;
  • There is no deadline to mediation
  • Mediation can proceed independently from conciliation

As many of you may have observed, job security and fair and equitable working conditions have been the target of postsecondary administrators who back austerity policies similar to those implemented by our Central Administration.

  • Last fall, our peers at the Association of Part-Time Professors at the University of Ottawa (APTPUO) had to obtain a strike mandate before reaching an agreement with the Central Administration at the eleventh hour.
  • College Faculty represented by the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) were forced to return to work by way of back-to-work legislation after a 5-week long strike.
  • This winter, the administrative, technical and library staff at Carleton University, represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees 2424 (CUPE 2424), held a 4-week long strike to protect their bargaining rights and retirement pension.
  • More recently, the Carleton University Academic Staff Association (CUASA) got a strike mandate before reaching an agreement earlier this week.
  • Teaching Assistants, Contract Faculty and Graduate Assistants represented by CUPE 3903 at York University are currently in their thirteenth week of strike.
  • Professors at the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR) were locked-out of their workplace from May 2 to May 16 following disagreements at the bargaining table about workload, monetary offers, and their complement agreement. It’s worth noting that several key issues of this labour dispute are similar to the ones the APUO Negotiating Team is most concerned about during this round of collective bargaining.

These are just a few examples of work actions in the last year that highlight the challenging context in which the APUO finds itself, and underscore the importance to be prepared for all possible work-action scenarios.

Until we can report back on the progress of mediation and conciliation, we once again encourage you to participate in our Respect campaign by:

  • wearing the pin that you received a few weeks ago;
  • sticking the poster that you received on your office door;
  • expressing support for your Negotiating Team on social media by using the hashtags #Respect and #uOttawa together;
  • by email at the following address: apuoco@uottawa.ca

At this time, our best asset to ensure that we can negotiate a fair collective agreement is by showing our unity.

In solidarity,

The APUO Executive Committee

Bargaining Update: Conciliation

Dear members,

After an intensive weekend of negotiations, the APUO and the Central Administration’s negotiation teams were unable to reach an agreement. At this stage, both parties will be seeking the assistance of a third-party mediator. The Negotiating Team will recommend this solution to the APUO Executive Committee.

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, including all of APUO’s proposals regarding workload, making this round of collective bargaining a difficult one.

Moreover, many items of the Central Administration’s global offer are unacceptable, most notably, the monetary proposals and the end of the APUO complement agreement.

The Central Administration has informed the APUO that they have filed a request for the appointment of a Conciliation Officer. We will inform you of any developments as they arise.

We once again encourage you to participate in our Respect campaign by:

  • wearing the pin that you will receive in the coming days;
  • sticking the poster that you will receive on your office door; and
  • expressing support for your Negotiating Team on social media by using the hashtags #Respect and #uOttawa together.

At this time, our best asset to ensure that we can negotiate a fair collective agreement is by showing our unity.

In solidarity,

The APUO Negotiating Team