After multiple failed attemps over many years, the FAUW Board signed onto a new “path forward” with the University administration for finally updating policies 76 (Faculty Appointments) and 77 (Tenure and Promotion of Faculty Members).
Before committing to this path forward, the FAUW Board presented it to the membership at a general meeting and held a vote of lecturers. The path forward was adopted and a new Policy Drafting Committee struck at Senate on October 17, 2022.
Vote results: 64% of lecturers participated in the online poll. Of those lecturers, 89% voted in favour of proceeding with the path forward (57% of all lecturers), 3% voted against, and 8% abstained. With abstentions excluded (as per Roberts Rules), that is a final vote of 97% in favour of proceeding.
Why we need to update these policies
While Waterloo has had lecturers since the 1960s, the number of lecturers has increased significantly in the last decade. Now, almost one in five regular UW faculty members (that is, FAUW members) are lecturers. Teaching-focused faculty are now both common and essential to the University's work, but they’re still largely overlooked in many University policies, leaving lecturers severely disadvantaged when it comes to things like career progression and job security.
For example, Policy 76 (Faculty Appointments) states that the appointment of continuing lectures should be "unusual." This is now very out of date as lecturers make up a significant proportion of the faculty, making vital contributions to the work of the university. Their roles need to be recognised and regularised to avoid unfair treatment, ensure equitable terms and conditions of employment, and to create an appropriate career path. These negotiations will create a parallel hiring and promotion process for teaching-intensive faculty as we currently have for professorial faculty.
The title "lecturer" is obsolescent in the Canadian post-secondary education sector and contributes to lecturers commonly being undervalued and underpaid. The more appropriate job titles are Assistant/Associate/Full Professor, Teaching Stream, and that is one of the issues we are negotiating.
The new path forward
After many failed attempts at revising this policy more collaboratively, it’s clear that, for an effective negotiation to work— to achieve the gains that lecturers need—we must commit to a process that includes mediation and arbitration. Advice from the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT), Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA), and an employment lawyer all made clear that mediation without arbitration would not improve the situation over previous attempts.
FRC's proposed path
Faculty Relations Committee has agreed to the following four-step path:
- The administration and FAUW will exchange policy drafts at FRC beginning October 20, 2022.
- A Policy Drafting Committee (PDC) will be convened for one month, co-chaired by representatives from the administration and FAUW.
- If there are outstanding matters that cannot be expeditiously addressed at FRC, an external mediator will assist in reaching an agreement at the PDC.
- Any matters still without agreement will be sent to interest arbitration with the mediator.
While the “steps”—policy drafting committee meetings, mediation, arbitration—are numbered, note that these are not actually separate—or separable—parts of the process. The path forward is all one process that automatically proceeds to each stage, triggered by the failure of the previous stage. We understand that some members would like to have input on whether to proceed between the mediation and arbitration stages, but if we have an option to back out at that point and take what we have so far, so will the University, and there will be no incentive on either side to negotiate earnestly. This path forward only works if we both commit to the whole process now.
Questions you might have
Q&A: The path forward
Who came up with this plan?
The plan was a collaborative effort at Faculty Relations Committee, largely driven on FAUW's part by Board discussions and input from past drafting committee members and labour experts.
In fall 2021, the FAUW representatives on the last policy drafting committee (Su-Yin Tan and Kate Lawson) recommended three solutions to fix policy drafting at UW:
- Asking for a mediator for the P76/77 negotiation process.
- Restructuring our process for updating terms and conditions of employment.
- Modernizing our negotiating relationship with the administration.
Those recommendations have driven the Board’s actions since, and we hope that this path forward will be a step toward modernizing our negotiating relationship with the administration.
Why is the FAUW Board so confident about mediation and arbitration?
Getting the administration to agree to M&A on a policy is a major win for us; it stops the administration from dragging this out for another seven years. FAUW's experience with a mediator during salary negotiations was very positive and significantly moved the negotiations along.
In this case, we won't be entering into so-called 'see-saw' arbitration where the arbitrator has to choose one side or the other – they can mix and match items from each side's submissions. Because UW is behind Toronto and McMaster (our key comparators) for teaching stream faculty, it is unlikely an arbitrator would worsen terms and conditions here. Generally, an arbitrator will attempt to craft an award that would mirror the outcome if the parties had negotiated a settlement on their own.
To be clear: We won't get everything we want—you rarely do in any negotiation—but we think we'll get the major things, and what we don't get, we will continue to work on in the future.
Are four PDC meetings enough to get this done? How firm is the timeline?
The four meetings are the full PDC. Most of the work will happen outside the formal meetings. There will be many, many hours of discussion and preparation on both sides.
Timelines have been consistently missed in the past, which is one reason we are seeking a more formal process with consequences for not reaching an agreement at given milestones. We are committed to ending the process speedily. The timeline will be impacted by the availability of PDC members, and the availability of a mediator/arbitrator, but we do not expect the drift to be more than a few weeks.
What is the starting point for these negotiations? FAUW's original goals, or the December 23 agreement?
We are starting from the December agreement, which includes title changes and creates the status of "permanence" as the teaching stream version of tenure, (and which must be codified to be identical to tenure). The December document does not mention sabbaticals. The December agreement failed because the Administration pulled back on the PPD term (1-in-6) arrangements, so we expect that to be a sticking point.
Can FRC override the outcome of the PDC?
The proposed path forward does not allow the FRC to change the outcome of the PDC in this case. The policies drafted by the PDC (after mediation and arbitration if necessary) will be submitted to Senate and the Board of Governors as drafted, without revision at FRC or elsewhere. The President of the University is bound by the proposed path forward to recommend acceptance of the PDC drafts to both senate and the Board of Governors. In other words, the policy changes presented at Senate and the BoG will be those drafted by the PDC (with or without a mediator), or will be the arbitrated final drafts, if it comes to that.
How is the mediator/arbitrator chosen?
The system is the same as for our salary negotiations. Both sides agree a short list. We can review the public records of decisions made by arbitrators in the past, and we can also ask advice from CAUT and OCUFA. We consider availability as well as track record. The choice of who to ask from the short list, and in what order if we need to ask more than one, is random.
Who will write the arbitration brief? Will it be shared with members?
Arbitration will follow immediately from mediation, and the mediator will also be the arbitrator. The PDC representatives will be responsible for the brief. If necessary, we will seek legal advice. The need for legal advice, and the potential cost of mediation and arbitration have been included in the FAUW budget.
No decision has been made about sharing it with members, but there is some negotiating benefit to not making all strategies and fallback positions public in the middle of negotiations.
How long could arbitration last?
The process is designed to be similar to the salary negotiations process, where the arbitrator has three weeks to make a determination. We would expect arbitration to be faster than this, though, as the arbitrator is also the mediator, and will therefore already have much of the necessary information in advance.
Will the arbitrator’s decision and rationale be made public?
The final decision will be made public, and posted for a period of at least 30 days, prior to being voted on at Senate.
Q&A: FAUW's representatives and goals
Who will FAUW’s representatives be?
The FAUW representatives for the policy drafting committee will be Su-Yin Tan, Paul Wehr, and Mary Hardy.
Su-Yin Tan was on the last PDC and has been chair of the Lecturers Committee since 2019. Paul Wehr was chair of the Lecturers Committee from 2017 to 2019, served on the FAUW board from 2015 to 2019, and is the current FAUW treasurer, having started another term on the board this year. Both are continuing lecturers. Mary Hardy is FAUW’s Vice President and was a member of FAUW’s negotiating team in our last round of compensation negotiations.
Who decided what FAUW should aim for in these negotiations?
The FAUW Board of Directors set FAUW's objectives for these policies, based on recommendations from the Lecturers Committee and its chair, and on research done by the FAUW PDC reps about teaching streams at other universities. Lecturers currently make up one third of the voting members of the Board.
Most lecturer input comes to the Board via the Lecturers Committee. The Lecturers Committee was created specifically to gather information and advise the Board about priorities for Policy 76 related to teaching-intensive faculty. Since 2015, the Committee has conducted two extensive surveys, held a half-dozen town hall meetings and a number of informal events with lecturers, and submitted multiple reports to the Board and to policy drafting committees over the years. The FAUW representatives on the last policy drafting committee (Su-Yin Tan and Kate Lawson), with the Committee, also held consultations with lecturers in each Faculty.
FAUW’s P76/77 goals have been driven by these Lecturers Committee reports and proposals, and by direction from the Committee chair, based on these surveys and meetings with lecturers.
The first draft submitted by FAUW will likely be based on the work completed last year by Su-Yin Tan, chair of the Lecturers Committee, and Kate Lawson.
What is the role of the Lecturers Committee?
The chair of the Lecturers Committee will once again represent FAUW on the Policy Drafting Committee. And, again, FAUW's objectives for these policies are driven predominantly by the Lecturers Committee and its chair based on their extensive consultation with lecturers. The Board continues to request and receive advice from the Committee in accordance with their constitutional mandate.
How often will members get updates?
There are often strong confidentiality measures that make transparent reporting difficult and that we have been fighting against for years. We have specifically included in the path forward the right to report progress back to members; this was to avoid being constrained by the normal confidentiality rules of PDC and FRC discussions. We cannot speak for the other side, but we will report back at least at the end of each stage as promised in the path forward proposal (see the slides above).
Q&A: Voting on the path forward
Why are only lecturers voting?
While how FAUW spends its resources affects all members, and we do hope to have the support of all members on this issue, lecturers simply have the most at stake in Policy 76/77 negotiations. The motion passed at the general meeting in August was for the path forward to be discussed at a general meeting, followed by a vote of lecturers.
What will lecturers be voting on exactly?
The options that lecturer members will be invited to vote on are:
- To proceed with the proposed path forward, as presented at the general meeting and sent to members by email.
- To end negotiations on policies 76 and 77 and continue using the current policies.
These are the only two options we have.
The path forward will result in updates to Policies 76 and 77 because the University will be bound by the agreement. Voting in favour of the path forward will help us show the university that we have the support of members to push hard during negotiations.
When will the vote be?
The vote will be open from October 12 to 16 (11:59 p.m.).
Will the vote be binding?
As discussed at the general meeting in August, the vote cannot be binding, as the FAUW Constitution does not allow for official votes by only a portion of FAUW members. The Constitution specifies that questions are “decided by a majority of the votes of the members present” at a general meeting and that all voting members of FAUW are entitled to a vote.
The Constitution is also clear that a binding vote would be restricted to faculty who have opted in as voting members of FAUW, but a non-binding vote allows us to hear from all lecturers on this issue.