How’s your summer going? I hope you are able to carve out some time to leave the office both physically and mentally and enjoy some fun activities and down time – without feeling guilty indulging in a well-deserved break.

My happy place is in northern Ontario. There, I live completely off grid, which forces me to disconnect from deadlines and other work pressures and allows me to shift my mindset mentally and emotionally. When I return to work, I bring more energy and enthusiasm about the important work here, and maybe a few fish stories.  

Of course, a couple of days away from work is not going to keep me the happy-go-lucky guy that I am. This term, I have set a personal goal of learning how to sail during my spare time. When I started sailing at Conestogo Lake recently, I was sure I was going to die every time I went out on that water. I am happy to report that I am now sure we almost died out there on that water. That’s some good progress!  This summer, I will tackle sailing on Georgian Bay. Wish me luck!  What are you doing to recharge your batteries?

In the meantime, work here at UWSA continues on behalf of all members, and I am very pleased to report we’ve had some big wins this year! Here’s just a few of them:

  • As of July 1, 2022 newly-hired staff are given access their earned holidays within the first year of employment, rather than accruing vacation days year over year.  Although UWaterloo announced this change using the subject line, “Minor revisions to Policy 6, Vacation – Staff” earlier this month, I appreciate our member who reached out to say, This is not “minor”! That revision to the first year is a biggie! Congrats to PACSC and our UWSA on this!"
  • Have you noticed the shuttle service is back in Parking Lot X? We advocated strongly to get that service up and running again for Spring term after a Covid absence.
  • We strongly opposed a proposed parking rate increase of $12 (or more) this year. There will be no parking increases until at least September 2023.
  • Working with the Staff Relations Committee, we were instrumental in policy changes around the pandemic, including masking mandates, vaccination procedures, and updating work from home guidelines. Hoping for smooth sailing now, but work is ongoing as we prepare for whatever this pandemic is still going to throw at us, and how to best advocate for member interests.
  • The Performance Evaluation (PA) process has been improved but there is still more to be done. Previously, members had no opportunity to share input about their personal working conditions, but now your voice is included in the updated PA forms. We encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity.
  • Your UWSA continues to work on your behalf on several UWaterloo policies: 12, 14, 18, 33 and 57 and we are extremely grateful for the important work done by these policy review committee members.  
  • Finally, we are looking to you for support on our most recent accomplishment, an updated Memorandum of Agreement. Following several MOA consultations with about 500 members, voting polls are open from now until August 2. Your voice starts here!   

I love hearing from members. If you have any stories to share, concerns or questions about your Association, please reach out to me any time. I may be off-line for a bit, but will chat when I get back to shore. Enjoy the rest of your summer!