Monday, September 30, 2013

Highlights: OCUFA 141st Board of Directors Meeting

David Porreca, FAUW President

The OCUFA Board of Directors, with representation from 27 member faculty associations, meets three times a year in September, February, and May. The September meeting includes association presidents, as well as OCUFA directors. FAUW’s OCUFA director, Jasmin Habib, attended the meeting with David Porreca.

This blog post will provide the main headlines from this past weekend’s OCUFA Board meeting, with more ample elaborations to follow later in the week.
  • University of Ottawa has recently concluded their collective bargaining session to obtain a new contract spanning the period from 1 May 2012 to 30 April 2016 with a 2% across-the-board increase in each year of the agreement. In addition, in years three and four, there is a 1.5% catch-up increase. Increases to pension contributions will also occur in years three and four, with a blended increase rate of 0.8%.  New vision exam and care coverage was also negotiated.
  • [Corrected] Our colleagues at St. Jerome’s University are currently in conciliation in relation to their contract negotiations and have filed for a no-board report. The next meeting with the Employer is scheduled for October 18th. The Association hopes to reach a negotiated settlement at that time. Stay tuned!!
  • In related news, two faculty associations currently are negotiating their first contracts with their administrations (Brescia and UOIT Teaching faculty), while 17 other Ontario associations will be negotiating over the course of this academic year. This means there will be lots of recent, local precedent to follow when FAUW enters negotiations in 2014-15.
  • 22 October is Ontario MPP Lobby Day for Ontario Faculty Associations. I will be attending.
  • The Ontario government has established a technical working group to advise on the design, governance and transition issues associated with the implementation of a new pooled asset management entity for Ontario’s broader public-sector pension funds, as recommended in the Morneau report. This group is still only in the preliminary deliberations stage of its activities, which both OCUFA and FAUW will be monitoring with all due care.
  • The “draft discussion paper” of Ontario’s Proposed Differentiation Policy Framework was discussed. More on this soon.
  • A motion was passed at the instigation of the Waterloo delegation to have OCUFA send a message opposing the attempts to curtail the civil liberties of people involved in the broader public sector in Qu├ębec in relation to the freedom of religious expression. Consultation with stakeholders in that province to assess the state of the matter will be done before any formal message is sent.
  • A motion was also passed unanimously to have the OCUFA Executive send a strong message to PM Stephen Harper asking him to secure the release of two Canadian academics arbitrarily arrested in Egypt: Tarek Loubani (Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine, Western University) and John Greyson (Professor, Film Studies, York University). They are on an ongoing hunger strike. There's more information on this at http://tarekandjohn.com. View their latest statement here, or this update on their situation from the Toronto Star.
    [As of this morning Prime Minister Harper has called for the release of Tarek Loubani and John Greyson.]
  • Re: Bill C-377: The principal concern about this private member’s bill is that the financial disclosure provisions contained in it would allow any forensic accountant to deduce the strike fund of any/all collective bargaining units in Canada, a self-evidently punitive union-busting measure that would not serve the Canadian citizenry well.  This bill was sent back to Parliament from Senate with major revisions that would have enabled the transparency the bill seeks while excising its most egregiously harmful portions. OCUFA Directors heard that the Harper government is now sending the bill back to Senate in its original form, without any changes, to be voted upon. Faculty members are encouraged to write to Canadian Senators to urge that they not support this bill.  Even the Conservative government of New Brunswick has expressed its explicit support of unions’ efforts in that province to oppose this piece of legislation.

3 comments :

  1. It's worth noting that with regards to C-377, the bill being sent back in its original form is in fact an automatic procedure associated with a prorogation. The House will pass all bills in the form that they were passed in the first session, and the Senate will be asked to reconsider them. One can only hope that the Senators will not waver from their convictions to alter the bill previously, but the fact that it will be passed again in its original form is not due to any action on the part of the government or any other MP.

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  2. Slight correction to the report on the situation at St. Jerome's. There is no strike deadline. The next meeting with the Employer is October 18th. We are hopeful that we will come to a negotiated settlement.

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    1. Thanks David! I've made the correction above.

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