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.
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.
Governance / LOU on “Equity and TPCs”
Direct Peer Review of Teaching (DPRT)
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.
Governance: Academic Administrative Positions Letter of Understanding
Governance: Academic Postings
Governance: Composition of TPCs
Working conditions: Academic leave
Working conditions: Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee
Working conditions: Faculty Workload Review Committee
Working conditions: Retired professors
Grievance process (Mediation)
Notice of Intent to apply (related to tenure and promotion applications)
Both Parties have withdrawn many of their initial proposals.
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
Efficient negotiations: Inter-union solidarity
Conflict of Interest
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.
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.
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;
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 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 126.96.36.199 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.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.
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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.
– 2% annual economic increase
– 2% annual catch-up increases
– The removal of salary caps for all professorial ranks
– Changes to article 188.8.131.52 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).
– 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
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.
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.
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 (email@example.com, 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.
The Association of Professors of the University of Ottawa (APUO) wishes to express its solidarity with the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 2424, the union representing over 800 administrative, technical, and library staff at Carleton University. Members of CUPE 2424 are currently on strike to safeguard their bargaining rights and to protect their pension benefits.
We denounce Carleton University’s attempts to remove pension benefits from the Collective Agreement with CUPE 2424, and the misinformation campaign they have been engaging in about the union and the bargaining process. Eliminating pension benefits from the Collective Agreement would allow Carleton University to unilaterally alter and claw back benefits in the pension plan, without consulting the union or its membership. We are furthermore, extremely concerned with Carleton University’s practice of downloading CUPE 2424 work on our peers represented by Carleton University Academic Staff Association (CUASA). The APUO calls on Carleton University to return to the bargaining table, re-engage in negotiations in good faith, and cease to engage in unfair labour practices.
The APUO wholeheartedly supports CUPE 2424’s efforts to protect their bargaining rights and their members’ pension benefits. Precarious labour is on the rise at postsecondary institutions across the country, and we commend the work of CUPE 2424 in defending the working conditions of administrative, technical and library staff at Carleton University.
Collective bargaining began on January 31, when both parties tabled their normative proposals. They will present their financial proposals at the April 4 meeting. Similarly to the 2015-2016 round of negotiations, the meetings are conducted respectfully. Each party submits written proposals, explains them, and has the opportunity to justify the relevance of proposed additions, withdrawals or amendments. However, as the weeks have progressed, and as demonstrated in the table below (data as of March 9), negotiations appear to have stalled:
Number of proposals
Number and proportion of proposals that have received a response
Number and proportion of negative counter-proposals
Number and proportion of counter-proposals demonstrating a willingness to identify an acceptable solution for both parties
26 of the 27 proposals tabled by the APUO (96%)
1 of the 27 proposals tabled by the APUO (4%)
9 of the 17 proposals tabled by the Administration (53%)
8 of the 17 proposals tabled by the Administration (47%)
So far, as you can see, the Administration’s team has not been negotiating in a spirit of exchange and compromise. They have rejected all but one of the APUO proposals to which they have replied. The tabled changes to the language of Article 17, which aim to replace all references of under-representation of women and men to “equity groups,” is the only APUO proposal being considered by the Administration.
Additionally, the Administration refuses to renew the APUO complement (minimum employment level). In practical terms, if it is not renewed, this will allow the Administration to abolish the positions of full-time faculty and librarians who 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 and research at the University of Ottawa.
Many of us hoped that Jacques Frémont’s arrival as President would have a positive impact on the Administration’s approach at the bargaining table. Regrettably, we note that this is not the case at all. Given this situation, rest assured that the APUO team is calm, methodical and working tirelessly to get the Administration to negotiate. Nevertheless, your support and commitment are essential to the signing of a fair, equitable and accountable agreement for the future of the quality of teaching and research (as a whole) at our University. We will continue to keep you informed of both positive and negative developments at the bargaining table. We also remain available to meet with your academic unit upon your request, in a spirit of accountability, transparency, and collegiality. To do so, please contact our President Susan Spronk at firstname.lastname@example.org.