Hello OCADFA members –

This post addresses three specific points: (1) some follow-up on last month’s “Town Hall”; (2) workload complaints; and (3) avoiding abusive meetings.

Follow-up on Sara Diamond’s January Town Hall

All budgets are zero-sum scenarios: more money spent on item A means less money available for item B. This is the significance of OCADFA vice-president Frederick Burbach’s questions at the January town hall regarding the mushrooming cost of administration: as the cost of administration grows, less money is available for the student and faculty activities that represent the university’s core values. 

In this way, the cost of management affects bargaining: more money spent on administration means less money available for teaching. So, since we’re now in bargaining, we should consider two statements by Sara Diamond in response to Frederick’s points—specifically that, in 2007 (the first year during Sara’s presidency for which stats are available), the Sunshine list showed 10 non-teaching positions with combined remuneration of $1.4 million (excluding taxable benefits). By 2014 (the most recent year for which stats are available), the Sunshine list shows 35 non-teaching positions with total remuneration of $5.1 million (again, excluding taxable benefits). I’m including the links to the relevant salary disclosures not because I think you’ll want to go through these documents line by line, but because I encourage you glance at the proliferation. It’s quite startling.

Now, to address Sara’s response to these points. First, she stated that her salary has been frozen since 2008. However, while her salary has remained $257,500 since 2008, her current contract is more than $320,000 richer than the contract she had then. One key contributor to this increase is a change in the language about administrative leave. University administrators often have paid leave after each term, and Sara is no different. However, in her first contract, her pay while on leave was 80% of her regular salary (just like tenured faculty on sabbatical). But, when she was renewed for the first time, her pay while on leave increased from 80% of her salary to 100%, a rise worth $51,500. More egregiously, her current contract adds a five-year president emerita stipend of $50,000 per year once her time as president ends. Leaving aside that it isn’t the board’s place to decide if Sara deserves emerita status, this handshake adds a quarter of a million dollars to her contract—and that’s on top of the full professorship that she’s already guaranteed (which itself increased by nearly $10,000 in her new contract).

So: when is a raise not a raise? The lack of clarity here recalls the confusion around why, in 2012, her salary jumped to $386,250.10. It turned out that she took a one-time payout for unused administrative leave. But who approved this payout? Sara twice told the Senate that the Board of Governors approved it, but Ian Tudhope (the board chair at the time) twice stated that he alone approved it.  The ambiguity remains, and has much to do with why the Senate passed a motion of non-confidence in Mr. Tudhope as chair of Sara’s review committee.

What is clear—turning to the other point I want to address—is the priorities of this administration and the board of governors. At the town hall, Sara justified the growing size and cost of administration by saying that our university has the same reporting requirements as larger universities, and therefore needs an administrative structure that “mirrors” administrations at those bigger institutions. But why, given the continuing ridiculousness of the situations of studio faculty in general and studio TIS and sessionals in particular, should our administrative jobs mirror those at other universities while our faculty positions don’t? 

So here’s the direct link to bargaining. That difference I mentioned above—the increase on the Sunshine list from $1.4 million to $5.1 million worth of administration—would easily pay for the major items that concern us. With that nearly $4 million difference, you could give studio faculty parity with liberal studies faculty across the board, triple everyone’s PD funding (while expanding it to all faculty and techs) and permanently expand the studio hours, as the student union has been demanding—with money left over. The administration knows this, yet consistently goes the other way. This financial recklessness has everything to do with why OCADFA organized a discussion of the MOA’s layoff provisions last month, and why you’ll be hearing from us shortly about further events related to our bargaining environment.

A brief postscript: I brought up these statistics with Reza Moridi, the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, at an event last weekend, and his response was telling. He spoke about his dismay that, throughout the provincial leadership sector (colleges, universities, hospitals), a culture of entitlement has displaced the culture of service. His comments struck me and many others in the room as summarizing the situation well. 

Workload Complaints

Workload complaints have increased dramatically, but I suspect there could be far more, so here’s the key point: no one works for free. If you have a 100% position, then you should be working 35-40 hours per week, on average. If you have a 50% position, then you should be working half that. And so on. Put another way, if you have a 50% position, for example, and (because of class size, new courses, etc.) your teaching takes up your entire 20-hour allotment, the Employer does not get your service for free. Rather, they get no service. The MoA and the Employment Standards Act are clear on this point.

The service situation for sessionals and TIS faculty is particularly confusing, so let me clarify. First, sessionals: your only obligation is teaching. Anything else is work for free, in violation of the MoA and the Employment Standards Act. One solution is for sessionals to refuse all work outside of teaching, but this is suboptimal since sessionals have much to offer in these situations (and since committee experience enhances a resume). So a better solution is for sessionals to be paid for this additional work. We’ve had some limited success with this, but tenured faculty need to get involved: if you’re on a committee that includes sessionals, you should demand that they be paid for their participation (and you can talk to us about how to do that). 

The confusion around TIS arises from the fact that many of these positions are 70%. So, when the contract says that the position is 70%, and then it says that your workload is 70% teaching and 30% service, it can sound like you’re only being paid for teaching but still expected to do service. So, to clarify: the 70/30 split applies to all TIS positions regardless of whether they’re 100%, 70% or 50%. In the case of the 70% position, it means that your total commitment is roughly 28 hours per week, of which 20 hours per week (i.e. 70% of 28 hours) should be teaching, and 8 hours per week (i.e. 30% of 28 hours) should be service.

It’s easy to feel confused and alone in all of this, and that’s why we’re here. If you feel confused, then please get in touch with us so we can help clarify things. 

Avoiding Abusive Meetings

The MoA and the Ontario Labour Relations Act guarantee your right to have OCADFA with you in meetings regarding such things as your job profile and work performance. So, if you are asked to attend a meeting that you believe will be disciplinary, you should have us with you. Similarly, if you find yourself in a meeting that turns hostile (for example, a meeting about “curriculum planning” turns into a couple of deans attacking your teaching), you should demand that the meeting be adjourned until OCADFA representation can attend, and then you should leave the meeting and contact us. 

This may sound depressing, but it amounts to what I said above: if something feels wrong, it likely is. Don’t assume that your dean knows the MoA or the relevant legislation. Ask us, and we’ll give you the right information, or direct you to someone who can.

That’s it in terms of OCADFA news. We had our third bargaining meeting with the Employer this morning, so that’s in process and we’ll pass along updates as needed, And we’ll have news in the near future about some actions we’re pursuing around pay equity. Also, if you’re interested in the broader context, you should be aware of an upcoming talk sponsored by the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT): Sandra Grey is president of the Tertiary Education Union of New Zealand. New Zealand has the dubious distinction of being home to some of the most vicious forms of neo-liberal education reform, and Dr. Grey will be discussing the effects of these changes Tuesday March 1, 5-7 pm, at the William Doo Auditorium of New College at the University of Toronto (45 Willcocks Street).