First, I would like to thank the TRU community for your condolences and heartfelt wishes over the last two months. My family and Cindy’s are so grateful for your support as we continue to come to terms with our grief. I especially want to thank Star Mahara for stepping in as acting TRUFA President and seamlessly continuing the important work on behalf of all members.
Here are some activities and issues with which I’ve been involved since returning to full-time work in mid-January:
After notifying the employer on December 3, 2018, that we were prepared to begin negotiations on a new Collective Agreement, the TRUFA bargaining team and the TRU administrative team have met to work on a protocol, which determines the rules by which bargaining is governed. A smaller subset of the two teams has also met to discuss “housekeeping”—minor changes to the Agreement, including clarifying language and determining which Letters of Understanding are to be retained or eliminated. This housekeeping work is now concluded with some of the initial proposals being converted to “substantive” status. The TRUFA bargaining team is in the final stages of the union’s substantive proposal package. The package will go to the TRUFA Executive for endorsement and then we will hold a general faculty meeting to review the package and seek an endorsement from the membership before tabling it with the employer.
TRUFA Table Officers
The TRUFA Vice Presidents and I meet weekly and have been focused on the following:
Nomination of University Appeals Committee (UAC) Chair
Because Kathy Gaynor has been appointed as University Librarian, she had to relinquish her position as the UAC chair; this committee hears appeals in tenure and promotion cases. The UAC chair is jointly appointed by TRUFA and the TRU Senate. We are currently awaiting a decision by Senate on the TRUFA nominee. I’d like to thank Kathy for her service on this committee.
Review of Appointments Committee Training
TRUFA and TRU Human Resources (HR) have agreed to review the training offered to all members of departmental appointments committees. To prepare to engage in the review, I asked Andrea Sullivan (Nursing) and Marten Lettinga (Chemistry) to provide their input from the perspective of departmental and appointments committee chairs. A meeting with HR will occur in the near future.
Pension Plan Contribution Rates
If you have any questions about the new contribution rates for the College Pension Plan to take effect on April 1, 2019, please ask me. I sent out a notification with some explanations in a February 8th e-mail.
Other issues discussed or assigned to TRUFA Executive, TRUFA standing committees or FPSE:
* Tri-Council childcare reimbursement rules vs. TRU policy
* Exploring accommodation for natural ageing of faculty members
* Sabbatical leave issues
The Executive met on Friday, February 8, 2019 and decided the following:
* The date of the TRUFA AGM. Due to availability issues, the original date suggested has been changed to Wednesday, April 24th and will be held in the Mountain Room with lunch beginning at 11:30 am and the meeting commencing at 12:15 pm.
* Donations to “Coldest Night of the Year” of $250 and to the Williams Lake Pow-wow of $100.
* Lloyd Bennett will join me at monthly Kamloops & District Labour Council meetings as TRUFA delegates. If any other faculty member (you don’t have to be on the TRUFA Executive) is interested in attending KDLC meetings, please let me know. Two political action goals of the KDLC will be a universal Pharmacare plan federally and the adoption of a living wage policy by Kamloops City Council.
* A recommendation from Mahtab Nazemi, TRUFA Treasurer, about moving TRUFA’s financial business to an all-unionized financial institution—Community Savings—will be discussed at our March 1st meeting.
FPSE Presidents’ Council
Melissa Svendsen, TRUFA VP Williams Lake & Regions, filled in for me at the meetings of the FPSE Presidents’ Council on February 21st and 22nd. Some highlights from her report:
* Preparation for the 2019 FPSE Annual General Meeting to be held in Kelowna from May 13th to 16th, including a review of the process of bringing resolutions forward;
* Lobbying of the provincial government on achieving the elimination of secondary salary scales;
* Continuing work on seeking a government funding formula review for post-secondary education;
* Presidents have approved funding for an FPSE history project, which would focus on the history of faculty association unionization and bargaining, and the formation of the predecessors of FPSE in the 1970s through 2005, when the federation adopted its current name.
Harry Crowe Foundation Conference
Sponsored by CAUT, the Harry Crowe Foundation is a charitable organization devoted to promoting and defending academic freedom in Canadian universities. It is named for Harry Crowe, a history professor at United College (forerunner of the University of Winnipeg), who was terminated for criticizing his administration, a termination that initiated the first CAUT investigation of academic freedom violation in 1958, which was led by future Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, Bora Laskin.
I attended the Harry Crowe Foundation conference entitled “Free Speech on Campus” on February 22nd to 24th in Toronto. Many of the conference presenters focused on the relationship between academic freedom and freedom of expression, and the potential impact of the Doug Ford directive to Ontario colleges and universities to adopt free speech policies modelled after the so-called Chicago Principles, based on that university’s 2014 “Report of the Committee on Freedom of Expression.” I will be sending out a report to all TRU faculty later this week with highlights from the speakers and panelists, who examined the legal principles involved (including how normal considerations of private and public “spaces” do not fit the campus situation and why universities cannot be viewed as ordinary workplaces), the limitations of the Chicago Principles in terms of both less powerful, marginalized groups on campus and in terms of intramural and extramural speech rights), and the ways in which dissent and protest can be protected as part of “freedom of expression.”
It’s not TRUFA without “U”: It’s your union. Get involved.
You may have seen this appeal on the TRUFA.ca website and elsewhere around campus. We have our TRUFA Annual General Meeting in April, with Table Officer and Executive positions up for election (some to be voted on by Faculties and Schools prior to the AGM). In addition, a number of TRUFA standing committee positions will be vacant. I urge you to consider putting your name forward and providing important service to the university through TRUFA.
Submitted in solidarity,