Historical Bits and Bytes: Origins of the Current Policy for Librarians at the University of Toronto

UofT librarians began to join the University of Toronto Faculty Association (UTFA) in 1974-1975. In 1976, under the leadership of the UTFA President, Jean Edward Smith,  the UofT librarians voted for UTFA to be their exclusive bargaining representative.  In turn, this was recognized by Administration when they refused to negotiate salaries with the earlier, Librarians Association of the University of Toronto (LAUT).

Shortly, there after, our current Policy for Librarians was written by a working group initiated by the President of UofT, John Evans, due to the Reference Revolution of 1974 which resulted in internal and external reviews of the library system. The librarians’ threat to stop work, effective a given date and time, resulted in the President of the University, John Evans, opening the door directly to librarians. The new forum gave librarians an opportunity to express their concerns directly to the President and by-passed the administrative hierarchy in the library.

In 1978 UTFA and the Academic Affairs Board approved the Policy for Librarians. After this approval, without consultation with either UTFA or the Academic Affairs Board, in June 1978, the Executive Committee of Governing Council inserted the clause on ‘Financial Exigency Clause’. The unilateral action by the Executive Committee caused a crisis from a number of different perspectives. UTFA’s authority and role in the process was undermined, as well as, the role of the Academic Affairs Board in acknowledging the academic rights of librarians.

This resulted in UTFA refusing to sign the policy, and hence, it has remained the librarians’ “unsigned policy” since.  This is where we currently are at – by default, by practice, the policy never approved by UTFA has become the policy. Since then only ONE clause pertaining to research days, negotiated on Article VI of the Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) has been modified. All other clauses in the Policy for Librarians date to 1977-1978.

This glimpse at past events may not be known by those new to the institution, but the memory of these events remain within the community. Since then, we have built one of North America’s top research libraries. We deserve better. At least equal to our colleagues at other Canadian universities.

This entry was posted in Academic Librarianship, Academic libraries, Historical Bits and Bytes, Policies - UofT Librarians, UofT, UTFA. Bookmark the permalink.

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