President’s update: June 2023

Here’s what UWSA staff and representatives are working on this month, what’s happening with the board of directors, and more:

Career advising for employees

The guest at the June Area Representatives meeting was Sue Fraser, Employee Career Advisor at Waterloo. Sue can support you in your career growth, from identifying your career values to planning your long-term career goals and everything in between.

The chat was full of endorsements for Sue. You can learn more about how she can help or go ahead and schedule a career check-in or other appointment with Sue now (click on Appointments in the main menu after logging in).

To attend one of Sue’s workshops, visit the OHD calendar of workshops to see what’s coming up.

Update on Bill 124

After several meetings with our lawyer, meetings with the PACSC subcommittee and consultation with FAUW, we sent UW our response to their proposal. Since then, I have been meeting with the VP admin and finance as well as the chief human resources officer (Michelle Hollis) to further discuss our options and more importantly, voice the concerns of our staff members and the detrimental effects that this bill has had on all of us. 

The final decision to our settlement will be voted on at PACSC. Because we are still in the negotiating stage, we don’t know when this will go to PACSC, but we are moving as quickly as we can while at the same time, taking our time to properly become informed and consult with our lawyer. 

Pay frequency

We were recently asked for an update about the pay frequency issue. We polled members about this and brought it forward some time ago to Provost's Advisory Committee on Staff Compensation (PACSC) and we have asked HR to look into the operational side of this: Who would need to be consulted/involved, what would this process/change look like, and so on. It will be lengthy, but we expect to see a first report at a meeting late this month. 

Board news

We have been working hard on our strategic plan and it was approved at our last Board of Directors meeting. We are looking forward to taking the steps to put our plan into action and sharing it with members soon.

The board’s Governance and Nominating Committee has also been working on reviewing all our internal policies through an anti-oppression lens. We know that this work will take a while to complete, but we are excited to be moving in the right direction. 

Operations team news

Presidential election

It’s hard to believe, but we already need to begin thinking about a new year and the fact that we will be looking for someone to run for the president-elect role. The president’s term ends at the end of October, so if you or someone you know would be interested, please don’t hesitate to reach out! I would be more than happy to meet and discuss this opportunity with you. 

A surprise guest at Dave McDougall’s retirement party

Two (human) arms hold a yellow-feathered gosling that appears to be looking directly into the camera.The UWSA bid adieu and good luck to past president Dave McDougall with a retirement party on May 23. Dave was first elected as a UWSA director in 2018 and served two years before he put his name in for president-elect. He served as president-elect 2020–21 and president from 2021–22, and has been past president since November 2022. During his time as president, the UWSA passed the new Memorandum of Agreement, which had been in the works for six years. Thank you to everyone who came by to say farewell, and to Dave for all he did to improve working conditions for staff.

An unexpected guest arrived early on by tumbling from the roof onto the patio! With no family in sight, the (uninjured!) gosling hung around for the rest of the event and we later found it a home with a wildlife rehabilitation centre.

UWSA digs into campus tree planting

On May 31, the Sustainability Office and Plant Ops grounds crew recruited staff to plant trees and wildflowers on campus to add more native species and help prevent erosion. The UWSA staff team and directors Kathy Becker and Jane Arnem joined me for what turned out to be a scorching morning digging, planting, and hauling water on North Campus. Despite the heat, we had a lot of fun—and perfected our digging skills!