Officer Progress 2009-10

President – Arthur Hilliker

I achieved all of the goals of my 2009-2010 Workplan. I performed all of the duties of President and of Chief Fiduciary Officer and represented YUFA on the York Senate. I also played a major role in drafting the bargaining proposals and served as an ex-officio member of the Bargaining Team, which negotiated the renewal Collective Agreement.

VP Internal – Mary Kandiuk

YUFA Executive and Stewards’ Council
Substituted for the President as Acting President for six weeks in October-November of 2009.
Regularly attended Executive and Stewards’ Council meetings and participated in the work of these bodies.
Attended General and Special Membership meetings.

Constitution / By-Laws
Working with YUFA staff and other members of Executive, oversaw the implementation of electronic voting.

Working with other members of the YUFA Executive, oversaw the revision of By-law #7 so that Stewards’ Council representation reflects the creation of the new Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies.

Moved to strike a Subcommittee to review YUFA’s Constitution & By-laws.

Nominations / Outreach to Members
Worked with YUFA staff and other members of Executive to recruit members to fill vacancies on the committees and subcommittees of YUFA.

Under the direction of Jill Flohil, YUFA Executive Associate, new faculty lunches were resumed and held on both the York main and Glendon campuses.

Bargaining
Served as a member of the YUFA Bargaining team (Brenda Spotton Visano, Chair, John Amanatides, Andrea Davis, Richard Leblanc, Jill Flohil, YUFA staff) which bargained throughout June-August.

Regularly attended caucus meetings, meetings with the Employer and reported to the YUFA Executive.

Personnel Committee
Handled Personnel issues as they arose and called meetings of the Staff Relations Committee, as necessary.

Reported to the YUFA Executive Committee under the Personnel Committee Report, as required.

With other members of the YUFA Staff Relations Committee, negotiated a new Collective Agreement with CUPE 1281.

JCOAA
As YUFA Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on the Administration of the Agreement (John Amanatides, Didi Khayatt, Bernie Lightman, Leslie Sanders, Heidi Bishop, YUFA staff) handled issues relating to the administration and implementation of the Collective Agreement and served as a member of Subcommittees of JCOAA.
Regularly attended meetings of the Co-Chairs, the YUFA Caucus and the full committee.
Worked with other members of the YUFA caucus of JCOAA to recruit members and fill vacancies on JCOAA committees and subcommittees.
Major issues before JCOAA and its subcommittee Long Rang Planning (Leslie Sanders, Co-Chair) this past year included issues arising out of the merger of Arts and Atkinson and the White Paper process.

As the YUFA Co-Chair of the Task Force on Inclusivity & Diversity, worked with Barry Miller, Executive Director, Employee Relations, and Rhonda Lenton, Associate Vice-President Academic, to oversee the completion and administration of the Inclusivity & Diversity Survey.

VP External – Livy Visano

Performed the duties of VP External as outlined in the YUFA Constitution and By-laws, including:

As VP External, I continued to build on our past accomplishments and further strengthened proactive advocacy, coalition-building and ongoing consultation with our various constituencies on- and off-campus; enhanced YUFA’s external profile and presence; expanded YUFA’s engagements with community-based groups / organizations; promoted greater inclusivity with respect to Toronto & York Region Labour Council, CAUT and OCUFA; and, facilitated more strategic and operational partnerships among inter- and intra-University unions, i.e., nurtured and expanded the well-developed links with CUPE 3903, YUSA, Graduate Student Association (GSA) and York Federation of Students (YFS) to engage in more active, ongoing, mutual, and progressive consultative processes.

On Campus Activities:
Member of the following committees:
Executive,
Stewards’ Council,
Contract Review,
Campus All Union,
Community Projects, and
YUFA Staff Relations.

Held regular meetings with YFS President, Krisna Saravanamuttu re developing closer ties between YUFA and the YFS;

Brought to the Executive Committee support for existing community projects, conference / workshop participation, and facilitate the development of community-related initiatives and funding requests;

Followed through on correspondence as directed by the Executive;

Communicated to University Safety Audit Committee re YUFA safety issues raised by members, Stewards’ Council, and concerns of members who have submitted communications.

Off-Campus Activities:

I liaised actively with appropriate provincial and national faculty associations as well as non-academic unions in terms of action and lobbying on such matters as labour relations, education, health & safety, retirement, transportation, and housing (e.g., OCUFA, CAUT, OFL, Toronto & York Region Labour Council). I brought various reports and press releases of CAUT, NUCAUT, OCUFA, CLC, OFL, etc. to the Executive’s attention.

Attended:
all CAUT Council Meetings in Ottawa,
all OCUFA meetings at CAUT,
all OCUFA Board of Directors meetings,
OCUFA Staff Relations Committee.

Met with faculty association representatives from the Greater Toronto Area universities.

Met with representatives of local community-based agencies / organizations.

Chief Steward – Bernie Lightman

As one of YUFA’s two Chief Stewards, I worked most often with Monica Mulvihill, whose assistance and advice was invaluable in the process of implementing my Workplan. My main activities were:

Chaired meetings of the YUFA Grievance Committee and worked with the Committee members to prepare a report for the Tenure and Promotion Review Committee;

Participated in the monthly Stewards’ Council meetings and recruited stewards.

Participated in bi-weekly meetings and related activities of the YUFA Executive.

Participated in meetings, caucuses and deliberations of JCOAA;

Provided informal and formal advice to YUFA members in all contractually-related matters, especially on Tenure and Promotion issues;

Represented members in meetings with the Employer;

Represented members in all stages of the grievance process; and

Consulted with YUFA staff and lawyers regarding ongoing and potential grievances.

Chief Steward – Suzie Young

I attended all the meetings of the Executive Committee, Stewards’ Council, Grievance Subcommittee, By-laws and Constitution Subcommittee, Chief Stewards with Academic Employee Relations, New Faculty Lunch on Keele campus, the OCUFA Grievance Committee, meetings with stewards and members as appropriate, as well as arbitration hearings and mediation sessions.

I present my Report in two parts that reflect the predominant demands on my attention and time: (A) for my work as Grievance Officer, and (B) for my work as Chair of Stewards’ Council.

A. Grievance Officer

I provided information and advice to YUFA members regarding provisions in our Collective Agreement – from relatively straightforward queries on T.A. or M.G. support (“teaching assistance”) or sabbatical accrual, to more challenging processes such as collegial participation in determining “full course equivalents” in the workload of faculty members, to complex issues of discrimination based on age, race, religious affiliations, disability, gender, non-conforming behaviour.

I prepared members and represented them in grievances initiated by the Employer (for discipline) or by YUFA (for redress). I worked with YUFA’s lawyers to prepare our members for investigations of alleged misconduct, for arbitration hearings, and for mediation sessions.

I alerted the Grievance Committee to problems that exceeded individual circumstances and that formed a pattern of jeopardy for YUFA members. Members have expressed the need for a password-protected searchable database that reports numerical tallies and presents descriptive data on complaints, grievances, arbitrations, mediations, and outcomes while observing confidentiality as required by law or humanity. A proposal was made to the Grievance Committee for such a database; the committee endorsed it in principle and forwarded it to the Executive Committee, who decided to vet for staff workload implications.

As reported by grievance officers at OCUFA, and from my knowledge of our local grievances, a significant proportion of complaints come from members who are the targets of unwelcome attention, inappropriate communications and/or bullying behaviours from colleagues in their immediate environment. To become better informed and to better serve the membership, I attended:

a workshop on ‘Positive Space at the University,’ sponsored by York’s Centre on Human Rights;

an information seminar on the amendments – pertaining to harassment and/or violence at the workplace – to the Health and Safety Act, sponsored by Sack, Goldblatt, Mitchell (where YUFA seeks legal counsel);

a lecture and workshop, ‘Respectful Workplace,’ sponsored by York’s Centre for Human Rights.

These seminars had a common theme: namely, harassment in its various forms. ‘Mobbing at the workplace’ – a unique form of harassment – refers to the phenomenon of colleagues ganging up on an individual; the pressure exerted by the group is disproportionate to the resources available to the individual to combat this form of harassment. It is important to note that mobbing is not ‘factional conflicts,’ because the group holds all the cards. Group harassment has been the subject of inquiries to me from YUFA members and has been integral to a number of potentially grievable situations which are being investigated.

Members also seek help as they struggle in working conditions where the authority of academic administrators is perceived to be steadily escalating over collegial governance. Department Chairs (who are also members of YUFA) have their own challenges when they are expected to advocate for their unit colleagues on the one hand, and to disseminate decanal authority to their units on the other hand. I have presented these two perspectives to the Grievance Committee and the Executive Committee for consideration.

B. Chair of Stewards’ Council

Stewards brought to the table some critical concerns in their units; patterns emerged, such as new decanal interpretations of the provisions in Article 20 (Sabbatical Leave), in Article 18.08 (Workload of Faculty Members) and in 18.09 (workload alteration; class sizes).

Stewards also engaged in debate over practices that support or undermine the independence of Stewards’ Council [SC] from the Executive Committee [EC]. There was, for example, a difference in opinion on whether SC’s ratification of appointments to subcommittees requires and implies (a) informed consent by a Council in possession of information on the subcommittees’ needs and the candidates’ relevant qualifications, or (b) a pro forma endorsement of the EC’s selections.

Council also debated the principles of representation in the form of stewardships across the campuses. I was one of five members on the subcommittee on By-laws and Constitution that paid special attention to the distribution of stewardships by units or by group sizes. After studying the numerical data of unit sizes, the historical allocations of stewards and the bundling of small units for representation, and through dozens of hours of deliberations, the subcommittee concluded that ‘proportional representation’ may work for large units but it must be complemented by ‘regional representation’ of smaller units so that the voices of ‘minorities’ can also be heard. None of the recommendations in the subcommittee’s Report were accepted by the EC, who made its own recommendations to SC. A lively debate ensued, culminating in a vote at SC to accept the EC’s recommendations (regarding threshold, small-group bundling, and stewardship allocations).

The YUFA Constitution confers to the EC ex-officio membership status on SC; however, the Constitution does not address voting privilege. The EC asserted voting rights at SC including the right to elect the two stewards to represent SC on the EC, and the right to ratify at SC its own recommendations to SC. Lively debates arose here too. Although the Constitution recognizes only elected stewards (and not ex-officio members) in the count for quorum at SC meetings, the EC enjoys a decisive influence at SC meetings, especially in deciding issues over which the council of stewards is divided, since it takes two-thirds of the stewards to prevail in a decision that disagrees with the EC.

As Chief Steward, I am an Executive Officer, and I serve as Stewards’ Council Chair. In both capacities, it has become apparent that the Constitution and By-laws insufficiently delineate the roles of, and the balance between, Stewards’ Council and the Executive Committee. In the result, the opportunity is lost for checks-and-balances between the EC and SC as coordinate organs that serve the sovereignty of the membership.

Communications Officer – Louise Ripley

Performed the duties of Communications Officer as outlined in the YUFA Constitution and By-laws, including:

Wrote for and solicited and edited submissions from the membership for the YUFA Website and YUFA-M distribution.

Served on Executive Committee: I served regularly and faithfully on the Executive Committee, missing few meetings.

Produced a summary of minutes of the YUFA Executive meetings: I produced regular and timely summaries of YUFA Executive meetings, available on the Website.

Attended YUFA General and Annual Membership Meetings and other relevant meetings: I attended almost all YUFA General and Annual Membership Meetings and a number of other meetings relevant to YUFA, and have written reports on these where appropriate.

Made myself as available as possible to YUFA members / Officers / staff and others who want to communicate with / through me.

Equity Officers – Didi Khayatt & Rose Steele

In our ongoing work as Equity Officers, we regularly attended the Executive Committee and Stewards’ Council meetings where we maintained a watching brief on equity issues of the current Collective Agreement and equity issues which arose out of YUFA business. Equity Officers also liaised regularly with equity-seeking constituencies.

Didi Khayatt continued as a member of the Joint Committee on the Administration of the Agreement and regularly attended those meetings. No Contract Review Committee (CRC) has yet been constituted for the 2012 and onward Collective Agreement, therefore the Equity Officers have not yet had an opportunity to bring any suggestions made by the Caucuses to the attention of the CRC.

The Equity Officers continued to investigate the relevant equity clauses from other Canadian universities and CAUT that YUFA may wish to consider for future Collective Agreements. We also monitored the new Collective Agreement (May 2009 – April 2012) for outstanding equity concerns.

Each Equity Officer attended one of the New Faculty Lunch series organized by the Executive and we were available to speak to equity concerns.

We attempted to work with respective constituencies in order to improve the function of equity, especially with regard to the intersectionality of equity issues. Building relations continues to be important, however Equity Officers face ongoing challenges in pursuing their responsibilities.

We had some discussion with the Chair of the Disability Caucus in regards to the effect the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (“AODA”) might have on the Collective Agreement in terms of language around disability and resulting actions. With strong input from the Chair, we compiled a file about language in regards to disability that had been previously proposed for inclusion in the 2009-2012 Collective Agreement. This information was shared with relevant committees that are examining the potential impacts of AODA.

Aboriginal issues in academic settings was the focus of a conference attended by Rose Steele in November 2009 and that report is available on the YUFA Website.

A meeting with the YUFA Race Equity Caucus was requested by the Equity Officers in order to develop a motion and rationale in response to the Caucus’ request for YUFA support to enhance race equity. We asked for ideas directly from Caucus members to best reflect Race Equity Caucus members’ wishes and needs. Discussion was held at Executive and a recommendation was made to the Equity Subcommittee that a proposal be developed for the next round of bargaining to find ways of working with the Employer to gain course release for extra work that contributes to some faculty members’ workload. Compensation for course releases is part of the Collective Agreement and an increase in the number of course releases, e.g., to support the extra work of education and role modeling when a faculty member is in a minority group, would need to be negotiated.

Some discussion has taken place about the possibility of establishing another YUFA recognized equity Caucus in regards to ageism.

Equity Officers examined the YUFA Constitution to redefine the membership of the YUFA Equity Subcommittee in order to promote an active, engaged Subcommittee. We had hoped that with the Equity Subcommittee we would explore the possibility of a University-wide discussion in Spring 2010 that would allow Equity Officers to hear from various interested constituencies regarding concerns that could be taken up in the future. However, changes to the Equity Subcommittee were not in place until 2010 and the first meeting of the Subcommittee occurred on March 18th, 2010; a second meeting is scheduled for May 6th, 2010. Concerns from the Caucus Chairs on the Equity Subcommittee around membership in Caucuses and the relationship between Caucuses and YUFA will be brought forward to the Executive Committee in the near future.

We met with various equity-related offices on campus, e.g., with Norma Sue Fisher-Stitt, Associate Vice-President Academic Learning Initiatives, to preview and discuss a respect and inclusivity awareness tutorial for students that was developed through the offices of the VP Students and the VP Academic and Provost. The tutorial has since been introduced as a pilot and faculty members were invited to encourage students in their classes to complete the tutorial. In addition, Didi Khayatt was invited, as Equity Officer, to speak about queer issues at York during the Inclusion Day event on October 5th, 2009.

Noël Badiou, Director of the Centre for Human Rights, noted that he wants his office to be a resource for faculty, students, and staff, including unions at the University. He is interested in offering avenues for education that should lead to prevention of human rights’ issues and he would like to provide educational opportunities at School/Department and Faculty Councils, as well as at Stewards’ Council.

A CUPE 3903-sponsored seminar in October 2009 with guest Patrick Case, Director of Human Rights and Equity at the University of Guelph, was an opportunity to begin initial discussion with CUPE 3903 around equity issues across campus and to learn about how equity is prioritized at another university. One further meeting was planned with CUPE to discuss the possibility of a pan-university, all union equity committee, however CUPE members brought forward a different point for discussion and there was only brief discussion about the pan-university initiative. Interest remains, so a future meeting is to be scheduled.

We would like to thank Brenda Hart, YUFA Executive Associate, for her support to the equity portfolio.

Treasurer – Ray Rogers

My work as YUFA Treasurer for the 2009-10 year centred on insuring that the Association was fiscally responsible, and that proper procedures were followed in the allocation of YUFA funds. As a member of the YUFA Executive, I focused on casualization issues in the last round of collective bargaining. In conjunction with my role as Co-Chair of the YUFA Community Projects Committee, I continued to expand the social justice agenda of the Association and have played a lead role in implementing the new Transition Year Program.