UTFA Members – Invitation to the AGM – This Wednesday!

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Update from Librarians’ UTFA Council Representatives

**This is from an email sent to librarians, members of UTFA by your Council Reps

“Hello all,

This morning’s Globe and Mail featured this article:  The Globe and Mail, April 20, 2014: “U of T faculty consider option to unionize,” by Caroline Alphonso:  http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/toronto/u-of-t-faculty-consider-option-to-unionize/article18073270/

Below you will find a letter explaining the current situation to UTFA members and a letter to UTFA and the President of the University, Meric Gertler, from Roger Martin [this email has been currently circulating widely in the community and was sent to the media on the weekend] that initiated this response from UTFA Council members representing their constituencies.

If you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact your council representative or UTFA (contact information is provided in this email. The AGM, UTFA’s Annual General Meeting is this Wednesday at 3 pm. Please attend and let your voice be heard.  We will be mailing out details concerning the AGM shortly — don’t miss it!
Hello Members of UTFA Constituency #801 – Librarians

We thought it might be useful, to clarify what is happening in the University of Toronto Faculty Association (UTFA), since we expect some of you might be worried about an impending certification drive. First, UTFA is NOT attempting to certify as a union (or at least not yet). Further, a certification process is not a snap process. Before UTFA can submit an application for certification to the Ontario Labor Relation Board, it must have more than 40% of ALL faculty and librarians at UofT sign a card that says they want to certify. That is in excess of 1,200 cards. A card drive would take months, not days, and UTFA has not taken any step to start one.

What has triggered Rotman’s petition is a document issued by a committee of three UTFA councilors, reporting on options for UTFA to pursue in case the ongoing Special Joint Advisory Committee (SJAC) process ends unsatisfactorily for UTFA. (The SJAC is a process created by the Administration and UTFA to address issues including (i) possible changes to appointments policies for both faculty streams; (ii) the role of faculty and librarians in academic planning; and (iii) review of the strengths, weaknesses and options for modernization of the Memorandum of Agreement prescribing UTFA’s role.) The report identifies union certification as the most effective way to pursue UTFA’s stated objectives.

This is not yet a decision to start a certification drive, for two reasons. First, the SJAC process is ongoing and progressing. Many of you will have received an email last Tuesday with a joint Provost-UTFA communication release stating:

“…Based on the discussion on April 12, the facilitator, the Honourable Frank Iacobucci, has recommended that the SJAC facilitation process should continue. This recommendation is based on his assessment that there is sufficient potential for UTFA and the University administration to reach agreement on SJAC issues….”

The Honourable Frank Iacobucci, who is acting as a facilitator between the parties, is optimistic about the possibility of a fruitful conclusion of the SJAC process and, very sensibly, is asking for the process to be given more time to succeed.

Second, UTFA Council would have to agree with the committee’s opinion and vote to start a certification drive. It is not obvious that this would happen (though it is certainly a possibility) even if the SJAC process derails.

Despite the animosity around the SJAC process, significant progress has been made on many issues. It would be a shame, in our opinion, if a premature confrontation on whether or not UTFA should certify were to have a negative effect on how the SJAC process unfolds.  We hope you will find this email helpful, and we would be happy to discuss further.

from your UTFA Council Representatives:  Sarah Fedko   sfedko@utsc.utoronto.ca / Shelley Hawrychuk  shelley.hawrychuk@utoronto.ca / Victoria Skelton   victoria.skelton@utoronto.ca

Contact UTFA at:  faculty@utfa.org OR 416-978-3351416-978-3351
Dear President Gertler:
I am writing to express in the strongest possible terms how outraged I am by UTFA’s decision to attempt certification.  UTFA does not represent anything related to me, nor, I suspect, does it represent the faculty of the Rotman School.

The notion of unionization of employees who make six figure salaries and have job security and protection of the sort enjoyed by professors is ridiculous on its face. It is really an insult to all real laborers who fought for the right to unionize and collectively bargain.  Those workers coped with subsistence wages, unsafe and inhumane work environments, and absolutely zero job security.  They didn’t have intellectually rewarding jobs in completely safe environments with lifetime job security. Collective bargaining was put in place to protect basic human rights, not to enable highly paid employees to argue for richer dental plans.

It is simply outrageous that that the ideologues who purport to represent us even raise the notion. They should be embarrassed. Sure they can say that it happens at other Universities in Canada. But when ever was that robust logic for doing something incredibly stupid and destructive?

We simply can’t let University of Toronto be ruled and ruined by ideologues.  This is a fight for the future of a great institution. UTFA, when not run by ideologues, works perfectly well and creates a positive dialogue with university administration and a pleasant work environment for the faculty.

My fond hope is that this gambit is defeated by the weight of faculty members across the University. Failing that, I believe that my colleagues at the Rotman School will disassociate themselves from the bargaining unit and refuse to be represented by a completely foreign force.  But in the end, if that can’t happen, it will be a sad day for me.  I can’t insult every brave union activist in history who fought for human rights for workers by accepting becoming a member of one of the cushiest unions on the planet. That is not the way to live a principled life.

Roger Martin
Premier’s Chair in Competitiveness and Productivity
Rotman School of Management
University of Toronto


Posted in Academic freedom, Academic governance, Academic Librarianship, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, University of Toronto Libraries, UTFA, UTFA Council Reports, UTFA Librarian Committee Members, UTFA Librarian Council Reps | Leave a comment

SJAC Process Update for UT Librarians

As UTFA members know, the SJAC process is currently underway to negotiate and modernize our Memorandum of Agreement. The University of Toronto Faculty Association is not certified like most other Canadian Faculty Associations (more than 90% are certified, giving their faculty associations legal authority within provincial labour laws). UTFA is not certified. But, we do have a MoA (written in 1978) which addresses some of the usual collective agreement items. But, it needs to be updated.

For librarians, this is crucial. We need to have a process in the MoA by which we can negotiate updates to our appointments and promotion policies with Administration (but not spend years on it, so we need a process that facilitates reaching an agreement). We are currently discussing this in the SJAC process. Remember, UTFA was told by members in a past survey on the subject that retaining the ‘status quo’ was not acceptable. We have a clear mandate to modernize the MoA and obtain up-to-date policies.

On April 12, at our last scheduled date for meeting with Frank Iacobucci, QC, facilitator for both teams, it was suggested that it would be in our interest to give the talks a little more time. We had Iacobucci’s guidance for three days, in which more progress was made than meeting with representatives of Administration for two years. At our next UTFA Council meeting (Wed. April 23, just before the AGM), UTFA Council will be asked if they are in agreement to extend our talks with Administration. This topic will be discussed at the AGM. We (all librarians) need to attend and show strong support for change at the AGM. Remember we began to work on modernizing the Policy for Librarians in the mid-2000 when Rea Devakos, with others and CAUT, began the work. There has been progress and, most importantly, we have the full support of faculty and UTFA Council. Let’s show we care and turn up for the AGM! A reception follows at the faculty club.

As you know the following jointly approved news release was sent out to the community:

” April 15, 2014

On Saturday, April 12, representatives of the University of Toronto Faculty Association (UTFA) and the University administration met for the third of three scheduled days of facilitation in the Special Joint Advisory Committee process. The SJAC was created to address numerous issues, including (i) possible changes to appointments policies for both faculty streams; (ii) the role of faculty and librarians in academic planning; and (iii) review of the strengths, weaknesses and options for modernization of the Memorandum of Agreement prescribing UTFA’s role.

Based on the discussion on April 12, the facilitator, the Honourable Frank Iacobucci, has recommended that the SJAC facilitation process should continue. This recommendation is based on his assessment that there is sufficient potential for UTFA and the University administration to reach agreement on SJAC issues. The parties will respond formally to the facilitator’s recommendation within two weeks.

The parties would like to thank Mr. Iacobucci for his assistance to date.”


Posted in Academic Librarianship, Academic libraries, MoA - UofT Memorandum of Agreement with Administration, Policies - UofT Librarians, University of Toronto, University of Toronto Libraries, University of Toronto Mississauga, University of Toronto Scarborough, UofT | Leave a comment

UTFA AGM – April 23, 2014

The Annual General Meeting of the University of Toronto Faculty Association (UTFA) will take place on Wednesday, April 23, 2014, from 3:30 pm to 6:00 pm. The meeting will be held in room 108 of the Koffler House (KP), 569 Spadina Avenue.

This year, we have  speakers are Neil Guppy, Professor of Sociology at the University of British Columbia, and Sheila Slaughter, Louise McBee Professor of Higher Education at the University of Georgia.

  1. Neil Guppy: The Long Reach of Government in Steering the University

The reach of government into the affairs of the university, and especially into university research, has recently accelerated.  Political intrusions to steer the directions of the academy may have benefitted some fields and hampered others.  The direct and indirect impacts of the Canada Foundation for Innovation on the re-engineering of the university are traced as an illustration of how politics increasingly shapes the careers of academic scholars.

  1. Sheila Slaughter: How US Boards of Trustees Shape Research within US Universities and the Government.

Members of boards of trustees in US private universities (26 private Association of American Universities) are usually CEOs of Fortune 500/1000 corporations, on boards of directors of other corporations, very active in foundations (which, of course, is what US private universities are–501 C-3s), and in government.  In many ways, this is a C. Wright Mills story about the power elite, writ large.  This presentation focuses on the consequences that trustees sitting as CEOs or on boards of directors of large corporations have for research universities: universities’ corporate science fields created through trustee relations, universities’ exchanges with their trustees’ corporations, and universities’ trustees activities in shaping federal research policy.

“The AGM will also feature dedicated time to discuss progress (or lack thereof) and implications of the Special Joint Advisory Committee (SJAC) process that has been at the centre of UTFA’s work for much of the past two years. As you know, the SJAC process involving UTFA and the University Administration provides a unique opportunity to review how UTFA represents you and to negotiate how that form of representation may be modernized. One of the aims of UTFA in the SJAC process is to secure a negotiated policy (not a guideline!) that might finally make explicit what collegiality means in the context of significant academic restructuring initiatives. I am sure you agree, it is high time we had that! The third and critical day of SJAC facilitation is scheduled for April 12 2014. That makes the AGM timely for an update to the membership.” (Scott Prudham, President, UTFA)

We encourage you to attend and to bring colleagues with you. Please RSVP us at faculty@utfa.org or by calling at 416-978-4976416-978-4976.  Reception to follow at the Faculty Club.

Posted in University of Toronto, UTFA AGM, UTFA Bargaining | Leave a comment

Ukrainian Library Association Statement on the International Conference “Crimea 2014″


Ukrainian Library Association Statement on the International Conference “Crimea 2014″

Ukrainian Library Association declares protest against the decision to hold an International Conference “Crimea 2014″ in Sudak, Crimea. For twenty years librarians from Russia, Ukraine and other countries have gathered together to discuss the current problems of the development of library science and information delivery. For many years, the Ukrainian Library Association has been one of the co-organizers of this conference; members of the Ukrainian Library Association actively worked in the organizing committee, supervisory board, the program committee of the conference, and participated in its work. However, in light of recent events – the illegal “referendum” on the status of Crimea, illegal annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation, and non-recognition by Ukraine and the international community of these illegal acts – the Ukrainian Library Association considers it unacceptable to hold this international conference in Crimea.

In light of the foregoing, the Ukrainian Library Association CALLS:

Chief organizer of the “Crimea” conference, Russian National Public Library for Science and Technology, to cancel the decision to hold the conference in the Crimean Autonomic Republic and to move it into the territory of the Russian Federation.

Ukrainian and Russian colleagues, professionals and managers of libraries, publishers, booksellers and bookselling organizations, museums, archives, information centers, universities, colleges, computer and Internet companies, business, law, institutions of science, culture and education, as well as experts from other countries not to take part in the conference, if it is held on the territory of Crimea.

IFLA to not support the international conference “Crimea-2014″ on the territory of Crimea — illegally annexed by the Russian Federation, and not to hold an IFLA Forum during the Crimean conference.
March 24, 2014

Тетяна Ярошенко, директор наукової Бібліотеки Національного університету «Києво-Могилянська академія»
Tetiana Yaroshenko, PhD, University Librarian, National University of Kyiv Mohyla Аcademy

2 Skovorody Str., Kyiv, 04070, Ukraine; Tel.: +38-(044)425-6055+38-(044)425-6055 of., +38(050)335-1465+38(050)335-1465 cell; +38-(044)463-6783+38-(044)463-6783 fax; yaroshenko@ukma.kiev.ua  «Києво-Могилянській академії 396 років. Шануємо минуле, творимо майбутнє».


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Pressure from the community has had an impact. A new Code of Conduct has been issued by Library and Archives Canada. For a comparison, here is the old version LAC Code of Conduct Jan 2013   versus the new version issued in December 2013  2013-Dec LAC Code of Conduct a pdf version of the current posting on the government website.

Comment from Rose Barker, on CAUT librarians list notes (March 24, 2014):

“This new code represents a significant improvement. Employees are still encouraged to report on their colleagues for any failure to comply with the code, a shameful policy that contributes to an unhealthy workplace. However, restrictions on employees’ professional development activities have been substantially reduced and references to discipline for personal opinions expressed in limited access forums have been removed.

At a time when Canadian culture institutions are being decimated, it is easy to become overwhelmed and forget to celebrate our victories, however small. The changes to the LAC code of conduct were only made because we spoke out collectively, an example of how we can make a difference. Our current government may be attempting to rewrite the past, but together we are in control of the future.”


Posted in Academic freedom, Academic governance, Academic Librarianship, Archives, Archivists, Code of Conduct, LAC, Library and Achives Canada | Leave a comment

Policies for Librarians – In the same Policy with Faculty or Not? What is the Trend?

As a librarian working in the University of Toronto Library System, have you ever wondered why we have a separate Policy for Librarians, never mind the numerous other guidelines and agreements? Or how does this compares to other institutions in Canada?  Our Policy for Librarians was written in 1977-1978 before most universities in Canada had a certified faculty associations and negotiated Collective Agreements. 37 years have passed without any changes to this 1970’s policy. Do you remember the 1970s? Were you even born then? It was a very different time. Today, most faculty associations in Canada are certified unions and negotiate, together with their respective administrations, a full range of academic and compensation issues that comprise the terms of academic employment. This has resulted in librarians and faculty, as academic staff, being in the same collective agreement (for a full list see below).  As we can see in the numerous collective agreements there are ways of addressing these differences within one, unified policy that includes faculty, academic librarians and archivists.  Most recently, the collective agreement negotiated for St. Michael’s University College, includes librarians, archivists and faculty.  So, why is the Administration at the University of Toronto insisting on separate policies for  librarians in the University of Toronto Library System? We know it is not because of the differences. Could they argue that it is because of tradition? After 37 years with no change in policies, can neglect, in good conscience, really be called a tradition?  We don’t think so. Is it because it is easier? Is it because uniting policies for faculty and librarians might involve too much work, too much time? Or is the reason really related to the classical strategy of “Divida et Impera”? What we do know is that our profession has changed. More than ever, we need to reinforce the essential principles of academic freedom, professional autonomy and our status as academics, which our colleagues back in the 1970’s fought so hard to ensure when the Governing Council recognized and approved librarians as members of the University of Toronto Faculty Association in 1978.

Currently the following universities and post-secondary institutes have one policy (collective agreement) which includes both faculty and librarians:

Acadia University, NS
Atlantic School of Theology, NS
Brandon University, MB
Brock University, ON
Cape Breton University, NS
Carleton University, ON
Concordia University, ON
Dalhousie University, NS
Guelph University, ON
Lakehead University, ON
Laurentian University, ON
Lethbridge University, AB
Memorial University of Newfoundland, NL
Mount Allison University, NB
Mount Saint Vincent University, NS
Nipissing University, ON
Northern Ontario School of Medicine Faculty and Staff Association, ON
Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, NS
Queen’s University, ON
Royal Roads University, BC
Simon Fraser University, BC
St. Francis Xavier University, NS
St. Mary’s University College, AB
St. Mary’s University, NS
St. Michael’s University College, University of Toronto, ON
St. Thomas More College, SK
Trent University, ON
University of Calgary, AB
University of Manitoba, MB
University of New Brunswick, NB
University of Northern British Columbia, BC
University of Ontario Institute of Technology, ON
University of Ottawa, ON
University of Prince Edward Island, PE
University of Regina, SK
University of Saskachewan, SK
University of Victoria, BC
University of Winnipeg, MB
Wilfrid Laurier University, ON
Windsor University, ON
York University, ON

Posted in Academic exploitation, Academic freedom, Academic governance, Academic Librarianship, Academic libraries, Librarians, Library Trends, Politics, Uncategorized, University of Toronto, University of Toronto Libraries | Leave a comment