President’s update: May 2023

The UWSA president gives an update on the current activities of the Association every month at the Area Reps meeting, which is open to all staff at UW. These updates cover the work of UWSA representatives on committees such as Staff Relations Committee and the Provost's Advisory Committee on Staff Compensation (PACSC), as well as what’s happening with the board of directors and the operations team (which includes the president, president-elect, past president, and UWSA staff).

Here's what president Agata Jagielska shared at the May 11 Area Reps meeting:

Bill 124 was struck down—what does that mean for our salaries?

Bill 124 limited compensation increases to 1% annually across the Ontario public sector, including our three-year agreement that started in 2021 and is effective until 2024. Bill 124 was struck down in November 2022 after a court challenge by a coalition of unions, and we have received a proposal from the University regarding a salary adjustment in light of this. The offer is confidential for now, but we are working on getting a strong, research-backed response to the administration by the end of the month.

It’s important for us to formulate this response with the help of our legal team who are well versed in employment law and labour relations. This is a priority right now and we are doing everything that we can to ensure that staff are fairly compensated. 

Policy development

The Ethical Behaviour policy (33) is still under review. We have approved a new section on sexual misconduct toward students in the current policy in the meantime, because there was a legislative deadline of July 1, 2023 (Ontario Bill 26). This section will be reviewed as we continue to suggest changes to the policy. 

We are also reviewing the new Accommodations policy (57) and providing feedback to the drafting committee alongside the Faculty Association (FAUW). 

Retirement party for Dave McDougall

Our past president, Dave McDougall, is retiring on June 1. We are throwing a retirement celebration for him on May 23. Today is the last day to register to attend and you can do that on our website.

Board and committee changes

Our board membership has experienced some recent changes. As of May 1, Agata Antkiewicz has stepped down from her role as chair and Bill Baer has stepped into that role. The board has a newly appointed vice chair, Tracelyn Cornelius. Tracelyn has been on the board for over a year now and we are very grateful that she has stepped into this role to support Bill. We are also incredibly grateful for all the work that Agata has contributed to the UWSA over the past few years—thank you Agata!

As we experience these changes and transitions at the board level, this also means that some of our committee memberships will be changing and, in turn, we will be looking for two new members at large to join our Staff Compensation Strategy Committee. This committee supports the UWSA PACSC members by ensuring they have adequate information and insights to effectively enter staff salary conversations, which are set to begin this fall for the next three-year salary agreement. We will issue a call for members for this committee soon.

Fitness programs for staff

Someone asked in the previous Area Reps meeting about staff-only time at the PAC. There are currently two fitness programs for staff, supported by the Staff Excellence Fund (SEF):

  • Ways to Play for Staff, offered by UW Athletics, is a daily schedule of free fitness programming just for staff.
  • UW Fitness offers Small Group Training sessions and Specialized Fitness Programs for University of Waterloo faculty and staff (SEF covers half the price for staff).

Athletics is unable to provide staff-only access or programming without SEF support, but you’re welcome to work with Athletics to submit an SEF proposal to add to the existing programs!

Working from home during closures and sick days

Thank you to everyone who participated in our latest WFH survey. We will share a summary of the survey results soon. This information has been very helpful for us as we continue to have discussions around guidelines and policies and as we try to ensure that we put an equity lens on these.

Annual salary increases

The guest presenter at this Area Reps meeting was Chantal Moore from HR, who explained how annual salary increases work. You can download the presentation slides from the HR website (PDF). The conversation broadened into questions about how the salary structure works in general and we’ll have another blog post on that topic soon once we’ve gathered a bit more information about salary pools! [Read that post now: Q&A on Staff salary structure and increases.]