Historical Bits and Bytes – Memorandum of Agreement and UT Librarians

Not to be overlooked when reviewing librarian policies at the University of Toronto is the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) which governs our relationship with UT administration and has determined what we have been able to negotiate over the years with regards to our grievances, salaries and benefits, appointments, promotion and research leaves and basic academic rights.

The writing of the MOA in 1977 was the result of several factors spear-headed by UTFA’s failure to achieve arbitration and mediation in previous negotiations with UT administration and a realization that the current situation could not continue. It was agreed that either UTFA certify or some other sort of contractual relationship be established between UTFA and the UT administration.

Under the leadership of Prof. Jean Smith, a political scientist, a draft of the MOA was completed in 1976. The draft MOA “laid out formal and binding grievance procedures, salary and benefit negotiations, working conditions, workloads, leave policy, and a range of ‘civil rights’ for faculty members and librarians, including academic freedom, freedom from discrimination, and the right of access to personnel files. It incorporated the Haist Rules guaranteeing faculty tenure. It clearly defined the academic status of librarians and extended tenure to them. It provided for child-care and adoption leave, and for a major improvement in maternity leave benefits.” (Nelson, 106)

So what happened? Negotiations commenced to accept this draft agreement in December 1976 and continued through until March 1978. On March 7, a new, revised draft was presented by UT administration, much to the surprise of UTFA, as many of the original clauses had been either eliminated or altered to be of no real substance.

The negotiations, as understood by UTFA, were deemed by UT administration to be merely discussions and not valid. UT administration said the ultimate decision was theirs and not to be negotiated. Negotiations broke off. Jean Smith approached UTFA Council and the community to gain support to re-open the talks with administration. Informal discussion led to a new revised draft agreement.

With these talks arose what we call today “ the frozen policies” clauses that cannot be changed unless both parties, UTFA and UT administration agree to the changes. These clauses pertain to “the Haist Rules on academic appointments, tenure and promotion, part-time appointment policy, procedures in appointing academic administrators, existing policy on supplemental income, policies regarding retirement age and short-term, long-term and compassionate leaves.” (Nelson, 109)

We urge you to become familiar with the MOA, albeit dated by today’s standards, it is an important document that governs your work environment. See attached document: Memorandum of Agreement (UTFA and UT Adminstration)

Next time, a brief history of our librarian policy and how it evolved in relation to the MOA.

See William H. Nelson, The Search for Faculty Power (Toronto, Canada: The University of Toronto Faculty Association, The Canadian Scholars’ Press, 1993), p. 93-112.

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