President’s update: November 2023

It’s the start of a new year for the Staff Association, with our directors and presidents turning over at the end of October. I want to extend a warm thank you to outgoing president Agata Jagielska for her work and welcome Lisa Habel as our new president-elect. At the board level we welcome Tracelyn as vice chair, as well as two new directors: Gitanjali Shanbhag and Alana Guevara. And finally, yours truly, the new president for this next year!

Salary updates

Thank you to everyone who voiced their thoughts on the salary adjustment. If you have a question that hasn’t been answered in either the Provost’s FAQ or our FAQ, please bring it forward to me or any member of my team.

Our next big-ticket item is salary discussions; though we are at a preliminary stage, we already have a list of non-monetary items to bring forward. We still want to hear from you about the things you value or would like to see achieved in this next round of discussions. We are doing our best to strive for staff to be adequately compensated and valued at UW.

We have an open line of communication with our counterparts at FAUW and we are working in tandem to achieve our goals for each employee group respectively.

Here are some of the suggestions we’ve heard from members that we could bring forward in salary discussions, in no particular order:

  • Strong work-from-home options
  • Private offices vs. open-plan spaces
  • Four-day work week
  • Flextime
  • A “shut down” every term
  • Meeting-free days
  • Ending at noon before long weekends
  • More paid time off/vacation/staff appreciation days
  • Free PAC membership or “active” fund/allowance
  • Employee discount at W Store
  • Volunteer/service day
  • Concerts for staff
  • Removing parking charges
  • Staff picnic
  • Transit pass
  • Choice of bi-weekly or monthly pay

Equity Census

We heard from staff in IAP about the Equity Census at the November Area Representatives meeting, and want to reiterate a few things here:

  1. It’s not a survey this time; it’s a census, so they’re looking to get responses from everyone, and all new employees will fill it out upon hiring. You have the option to select “prefer not to answer” for all questions.
  2. The data is treated the same as other highly confidential information stored in Workday, like social insurance numbers. Workday is highly secure; Jason Testart, director of information security services for UW says: “From a privacy perspective, the decision was made to host UW data in Dublin because Ireland’s privacy laws are among the strongest in the world. From a security perspective, Workday’s cybersecurity capabilities exceed those that of UW. Workday hosts employee data for large private enterprises that have very strict security and compliance requirements.”
  3. Your manager can’t see your Workday data. Only a few essential people in HR and IST could ever have access to it. Analysts in IAP can’t see your whole record; that is, they’ll have the responses, but not linked to individuals.

Please note that at this time, we don't know exactly when this data will be presented. We are happy to note any concerns and pass them along; don't hesitate to reach out!

Employee Engagement Survey

We also heard from HR representatives about the Employee Engagement Survey that started this week and runs until December 1. Look for an email from Korn Ferry, the firm conducting the survey, sent on Monday. The survey will explore 16 dimensions, including wellness, confidence in leadership, pay and benefits, training, and collaboration. It should take you about 20 minutes to complete. HR is planning to use the results to identify strengths and areas of concern and to improve employee retention and development. We know you all have thoughts on these topics, so please be loud!

The survey is anonymous and confidential, and Korn Ferry will provide aggregate results to UW. Results will be broken down by group only when there 10 or more responses in a given group. The University will receive the results in February and they’re still talking about how they’ll share the results (but they will be shared!).

See the Engagement Survey slides (PDF) from the Area Representatives meeting.

Upcoming events

Winterfest – we’re still looking for volunteers for this family-friendly event December 10

The Annual Craft Sale is November 23 and 24 in the Davis Centre – everything is handmade by UWSA staff and retirees. And the UWSA Operations Team will be serving up Mexican hot chocolate on November 23! It is first come, first served starting at 11:00 a.m.

Representing staff across UW 

Last but not least, I had the opportunity to meet with Vivek, UW’s president, and express our staff concerns. I am happy to report that he seems genuinely invested in staff and our working conditions and we will have regular communication with him as an association. It was a very productive meeting and I’m feeling optimistic about our future here as staff. 

Yessenia Guerrero, Vivek Goel, and Agata Jagielska posing together for a photo.

On a lighter note, we had the chance to participate in the president’s annual year-end video. We were happy to represent staff in this project and I think it also is a testament to the work UWSA has been doing for the association and staff to be more visible at UW; to be acknowledged in this way means that progress is being made. Plus, we had a lot of fun at the shoot! 

The UWSA Operations Team all wearing red and black, standing in front of a bright yellow photography backdrop.A wide shot showing the full filming set up.