|PEOPLE||QUFACTS is a service to the
Faculty Association of Queens University to promote exchange of ideas, foster debate
on issues, and inform members about current issues related to the purpose of the
Members are invited to submit letters (approximately 150 words) and news items for publication. Letters will be published unedited. Any modification of articles will be done in consultation with the authors. Items may be sent to the QUFA office, Room 120, Old Medical Building.
Volume 25, Number 2
|This issue was published by Editor: Mark Jones, Layout Editor: Rhonda Clark-George, Advisors: Marvin Baer and Elaine Berman|
|President's Report (Marvin Baer)|
|Background to Salary Negotiations for 2000-01 (Grant Amyot)|
|Grievance Report (Annette Burfoot)|
|Political Action and Communications Committee Report (Frank Burke & Susan Lord)|
|OCUFA calls for government to show fiscall responsibility for Ontario universities (November 30, 1999)|
Since the last QUFACTS was published in July, QUFA committees have been busy implementing the new Collective Agreement and preparing for the next round of salary negotiations, which begin this month. These activities are described in more detail in some of the reports in this QUFACTS. Here I would emphasize three points about the new Collective Agreement and its implementation.
First, implementation of some parts of the new Collective Agreement has taken longer than anticipated, due to the departure of Vice-Principal Cowan and to the inherent complexity of the tasks. For instance, the Collective Agreement embodies major advances in the conditions of employment for adjuncts; among other things, it creates a new category of continuing adjuncts. A side table was created to review the salaries of all adjuncts, to set salary guidelines for initial and future term adjuncts, and to negotiate a merit/career development structure for continuing-track and continuing adjuncts. Even though previous anomaly reviews have found no discernable pattern to adjunct salaries (based on workload as a portion of a full time equivalent (FTE), years of experience or discipline), past attempts to correct anomalies in adjunct salaries have failed. The side table has completed its review of continuing adjuncts, and individual members should receive notice of their workload as a portion of FTE and their new salaries once merit scores have been assigned by the Deans. Now that the side table has completed this task it will turn its attention to the salaries of initial adjuncts.
The work of the anomalies side table has also been delayed, but for part of its task it will be able to rely on the detailed analysis performed by the former Anomalies Review Committee. The question of how to respond to market forces has become more acute and will have to be given serious consideration by both QUFA and the Administration. In some disciplines, starting salaries have escalated to $70,000 or more, and unless adjustments are made for other members of the discipline, career development will be seriously distorted and experienced faculty will be raided by other universities.
Second, the new Collective Agreement makes several changes in the articles on personnel decisions. The changes are designed to correct misunderstandings before recommendations go forward and to obviate the need for corrective action after a decision has been made. More generally, they are meant to reinforce a basic principle of the first Collective Agreement, that the best, most informed decisions be made at the local level. I hope that departmental committees do not become so preoccupied with the technical requirements of the Collective Agreement that they neglect this basic principle.
Third, QUFA and the Administration have continued to settle individual grievances informally without the need for arbitration. In my view this is a remarkable achievement and is largely due to the skill and positive attitude of those involved on both sides. As we anticipated, the new merit system has significantly reduced the number of grievances by members who were categorized as below average in order to fund extra merit for other members.
In addition to implementing the new Collective Agreement, QUFA has been preparing for the next round of negotiations on salary matters. The Chair of the Negotiating Team, Grant Amyot, describes some of the background for these negotiations in this edition. The basic facts are well known. We have had an extensive period of wage restraint. Our salaries have not kept up with inflation and are below the provincial average for some age groups of university professors. The percentage of Queen's operating budget spent on academic salaries has declined significantly and is now the lowest in the province. And our benefits are not as generous as those at several Ontario universities. Meanwhile, the University's finances have improved: the University has reported a significant surplus of revenues over expenditures to Statistics Canada for 1997-98. The large costs of the last early retirement program have been paid, and the university has acquired (or will acquire) new funds through higher tuition, the Ontario Superbuild Growth Fund for Post-Secondary Education, and the 21st Century Chairs for Research Excellence.
As I reported in the last issue of QUFACTS, this is a transition year for QUFA. Several members who were active in QUFA since certification have returned to other academic duties. In the next few months the Executive and Nominating Committee will be recruiting new volunteers. We hope that QUFA continues to benefit from widespread participation and support.
Marvin Baer, President
of the QUFA Negotiating Team 1999-2000
Background to Salary Negotiations for 2000-01:
The current Collective Agreement lasts until 2002 but leaves scale increases for 2000 and 2001 to be negotiated by the parties; if agreement cannot be reached, an arbitrator will select one party's final offer. By agreement, in the coming round of negotiations for the 2000-01 scale increase, benefits and other aspects of the salary scheme will also be negotiable (merit increases and anomalies, however, have already been agreed upon for the three years).
These negotiations are beginning at an auspicious time. The Canadian and Ontario economies are entering their ninth year of growth, and most economic indicators are better than they have been for at least a decade. Furthermore, the market demand for highly educated professionals is improving and salaries are being bid up. There will be few moments so favourable for recovering what we have lost in pay through the Social Contract, the 1992 imposed settlement, and previous government salary restraint legislation.
There are several ways to measure the distance we have to make up. A 1988 study by Hay Management Consultants showed that employees in comparable jobs in the private sector earned 22.9% more than Ontario university professors. This gap has no doubt grown to at least 25% by now. In terms of purchasing power, our salary levels have fallen about 20% since their historic peak in 1975, and about 8% since 1991-92 (the year before the imposed settlement). Meanwhile our productivity, measured by student-faculty ratio, has risen by about 24% since 1988-89, and by about 15% since 1991-92; there is a strong argument that this deserves an increase in compensation. Even among our comparator universities in Ontario, which have suffered along with us from government cutbacks, Social Contract, etc. we have fallen behind. Waterloo's salaries last year were a distant second to Toronto's, but still 5.5% higher than our own. A final point speaks to the University's ability to afford an increase at this time: in 1997-98, the last year for which data are available at present, Queen's devoted a lower percentage of its operating expenditure to faculty salaries than any other Ontario university (29.9% vs. a provincial average of 34.3%). The figure for Queen's is almost 13% below the provincial average.
The bargaining team, acting under the direction of the Council and the Executive, proposes to negotiate for a substantial increase to address the long-standing problem of our inferior salary levels. In addition, it will aim at improvements in benefits: the recent benefits survey had a high response rate and will be invaluable in fashioning our platform. Further discussion of the bargaining platform is scheduled for the Fall General Meeting on 8 December.
Grant Amyot, Chief Negotiator
Report of the Grievance Committee
The QUFA grievance process has changed slightly with the establishment of the new position of Grievance Officer. The terms of reference for the Committee have been modified accordingly. The Grievance Officer, who may or may not be a member of the bargaining unit, sits on the Committee as a non-voting member. The Officer's role is basically to manage the majority of the day-to-day business of handling grievances. The current Grievance Officer is Professor Phil Goldman, formerly Chair of the Committee; the Committee is fortunate to have the benefit of his past experience. Currently, Professor Goldman handles all cases.
The Chair of the Committee coordinates all of its meetings, represents it, produces its reports, and liaises between it and the Executive, the Council, and the University. The Chair also works on policy issues arising from grievances. Lately, this has included gathering data on joined promotion-and-tenure applications, seeking advice on appointments procedures (especially in connection with donated chairs and sponsored professorships), and assisting the Grievance Officer and legal counsel in applying remedies in a complex and longstanding case.
The Grievance Committee is currently handling seven cases that range in type and severity. Its one longstanding case has been through a lengthy arbitration in which the grievor won but there was substantial difficulty in applying the remedies. This case has now moved into direct negotiation of settlement with the University. The Committee's six other cases are concerned with the determination of retirement dates, the appointment process of a sponsored position, and career opportunities within a unit.
Annette Burfoot, Chair
October 20, 1999
Report of the
Political Action and
The QUFA Political Action and Communications Committee (PACC) has begun working closely with OCUFA (The Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations) to monitor and respond to political issues affecting universities and faculty. Under the terms of a new OCUFA policy directions paper, faculty shortages and their implications for teaching and research will be the special focus of an extensive lobbying and communications campaign. In coordination with other Ontario faculty associations' PACCs (which OCUFA has been working to link together as a single network), QUFA's PACC will assist in the development and implementation of this campaign.
The PACC is also encouraging OCUFA to pursue some new strategies in dealing with the current Ontario government. Since the government seems willing to listen only to the business community and not directly to universities, we are suggesting that Ontario faculty associations work with their administrations and boards of trustees to enlist supporters from the business world to put pressure on the government. The "Friends of Ontario Universities," a sizeable group including many people in business, may prove valuable allies in this effort. We are also encouraging OCUFA to develop a roster of university-friendly people in the media who could regularly feature university and faculty work.
The PACC has also begun to create a list of contacts on important university and faculty bodies at Queen's who can keep it informed of emerging issues (such as enrolment, hiring, and academic policy) that could affect the terms and conditions of faculty employment. If you are a member of such a body and feel there is an issue about which PACC (and, ultimately, the QUFA Executive) should be informed, please contact the QUFA office or the PACC co-chairs, Frank Burke (email@example.com) or Susan Lord (firstname.lastname@example.org). If you know of people serving on such bodies who could assist the PACC in this enterprise, please do likewise. And, of course, if there is anything else that you feel the PACC should know about or address, do contact us.
Frank Burke and Susan Lord, Co-Chairs
November 8, 1999
OCUFA calls for government to show fiscal responsibility for Ontario universities (November 30, 1999)
Finance Minister Ernie Eves released the 1999 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review on November 30. OCUFA responded with a same-day media release. "Where is the government's fiscal responsibility for Ontario's university system in this economic outlook?" demanded OCUFA President Deborah Flynn. Flynn found it "astonishing" that the Minister could hail the province's strong economic growth without acknowledging that its university system has the lowest per capita funding in the nation.
She emphasized that starving post-secondary education puts longterm economic performance in peril. "How can Ontario be expected to compete responsibly in the world economy when funding for teaching, research, and infrastructure is at such abysmally low levels?" she asked.
"Ontario's professors and academic librarians are concerned that this government refuses to face the critical issues confronting the postsecondary system as the new millennium approaches," said Flynn. "Where are the government plans to deal with a 40 percent increase in enrolment in the next decade? Where are the government plans to deal with faculty renewal at a time when more professors will be retiring than at any other period in our history? And where are the plans to deal with ongoing structural problems as most of the province's universities age and begin to deteriorate from lack of infrastructure funding?"
Citing the Finance Minister's statement that there is "tremendous improvement in economic growth, job creation, and fiscal accountability," OCUFA challenged the Minister to define "what fiscal accountability this government has shown when it comes to confronting the fundamental underfunding of the province's postsecondary education system."
"Once again," concluded Flynn, "OCUFA calls on this government to bring operating funds for the system up to the national average per capita." Funding to the national average was called for by the government's own advisory committee in 1996 and yet the government continues to ignore this important recommendation.
Rental Available - January 1 to June 30, 2000:
Three blocks west of Queen's on attractive, quiet street close to schools. Four bedrooms, two studies (one with computer), large living room with fireplace and patio doors to deck, separate dining room, eat-in kitchen. Master bedroom with king size bed & en suite. Another 3 piece and a 2 piece bath. Attractive garden. All appliances/fully furnished. Gas heat/water and heat pump.
22 Kensington Avenue, Kingston, ON
Rent: $1,800/mth. utilities included
Contact: Drs. Jim and Mary Pecival Maxwell