Upholding academic freedom and excellenceMaking sure our voices are heard

The University of Toronto Faculty Association is the official representative of faculty and librarians on employment matters which include salary, pension, benefit negotiations, and workplace grievances. 

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Update on July 1, 2020 PTR and Update on Current Round of SBPW Negotiations

UTFA is continuing to receive a large and increasing number of inquiries from faculty members and librarians who are concerned about the status of the PTR payment that members expected to receive on July 1, 2020. This PTR increase was earned during the 2019-2020 academic year and reflects the outcome of last year’s (June 30, 2020) PTR process.

The Administration is asserting that it is not obliged to implement 2019-2020 PTR increases because Salary, Benefits, Pensions, and Workload (SBPW) negotiations for 2020-2021 are ongoing. This is both inconsistent with what UTFA previously negotiated and a clear departure from the practice that has been consistently followed for at least a decade. For example, despite the fact that SBPW negotiations were ongoing on each of the following dates, PTR payments were made on July 1, 2011, July 1, 2014, and July 1, 2017. Notably, the withholding of your July 1, 2020 PTR is neither necessary nor inevitable. Rather, it is a choice that is being made by the University’s Senior Administration.

To be sure, the Administration has all that it requires to grant PTR increases to UTFA members in fulfillment of the PTR process ending June 30, 2020. The Administration’s failure to make the July 1, 2020 PTR payment violates the April 25, 2018 Memorandum of Settlement between the parties, which clearly states that “PTR breakpoints and increments will move [….] by 2% for the June 30, 2020 PTR exercise”.

Since at least April 2020, UTFA has been pressing the Administration to adhere to past practice and honour our agreement. In the face of the Administration’s ongoing refusal to do so, UTFA sought to bring the dispute before Arbitrator William Kaplan for an expedited hearing before June 30, 2020 with the hope that he would be able to assist the parties in quickly resolving the issue. Unfortunately, and despite UTFA’s best efforts, we have not yet been able to argue the substantive merits of our case before Mr. Kaplan. However, UTFA continues to make every effort to reach the earliest possible resolution and has recently secured a hearing date of December 17, 2020. In the event Arbitrator Kaplan is unable to resolve the matter, an UTFA Association grievance will provide another forum to challenge the Administration’s ongoing refusal to pay our members their July 1, 2020 PTR.

Finally, it bears emphasizing that not all faculty and librarians at U of T are being denied last year’s PTR increases. Notably, despite the fact that their bargaining process was (and still is) ongoing, our colleagues working within a certified bargaining unit at St. Michael’s College received their 2019-2020 PTR increases on July 1, 2020. U of T Senior Administration has taken the position that UTFA does not enjoy the same rights and protections under the Ontario Labour Relations Act as do our St. Mike’s colleagues.

It is our strong belief that the Administration’s ongoing refusal to pay last year’s PTR to our membership is both wrong and deeply disrespectful, and we will continue to do everything in our power to resolve this issue.

Read the full update here

 

U of T’s Reopening Plan is NOT Safe Enough. We Need to Take Fall 2020 Online

The University of Toronto’s reopening plan does not guarantee a safe return to in-person work. Until the safety of students and workers can be guaranteed, in-person learning, teaching, librarianship, and other academic work should be paused.

Update on Health and Safety from UTFA President Terezia Zorić

WATCH: Not Safe Enough — Listening to the Science on the Reopening of U of T Panel Discussion

Below you will find articles on some the latest scientific developments affecting in-person teaching, some of the key challenges facing schools, case studies of schools as they attempt to go back, as well as UTFA media coverage around this issue. It will be updated daily so please check back for the latest developments. As well, please sign and share our petition.

Detailed Report of SBPW Negotiations, July 1, 2018 - June 30, 2020

In this long and complex round of bargaining UTFA brought forward a number of monetary proposals (for salary and benefits) as well as policy proposals to remedy long-standing concerns related to the Workload Policy and Procedures (WLPP) and the PTR process. It has long been UTFA’s view that workload and PTR policies, in their current form, are inadequate to ensure fair, reasonable, and equitable distributions of workload for faculty and librarians at U of T.

A settlement of UTFA's financial proposals, in which UTFA made modest gains consistent with sectoral norms, was achieved on April 25, 2018. However, a discussion continued with the assistance of Mr. William Kaplan on UTFA's proposals to amend the WLPP and aspects of the Academic Administrative Procedures Manual relating to the PTR process.

Read the full report

 

Letter from U of T School of Public Health Faculty to U of T Administration Regarding Work and Health Inequities under COVID-19

Dalla Lana School of Public Health

Dear President Gertler, Vice-President & Provost Regehr, and Vice-President, Human Resources & Equity Hannah-Moffat:

As faculty members at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, we write to express our concerns regarding the University of Toronto’s measures to protect the health and safety of all workers, essential and non-essential, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Urgent action is needed to: (1) ensure adequate workplace health and safety measures by consulting with relevant groups prior to the University’s reopening process; (2) provide employment security to workers currently facing precarity, including highly racialized and feminized low-wage workers; and (3) provide gender-equitable work-at-home policies related to childcare and elder care. The U of T is a world leader in public health with extensive expertise among its faculty. Moreover, the Dalla Lana School of Public Health has one of three Canadian graduate training programs in Occupational Hygiene, and the only one in Ontario. This faculty expertise is contributing to national and international responses to COVID-19, yet it has only scantly been consulted to shape internal U of T COVID-19-related policies. The U of T still has the opportunity to model a justice-informed COVID-19 response, marshaling this expertise, to ensure the health and well-being of U ofT workers.

Many U of T workers, and their unions, have expressed concern that the University has to date not adequately informed, let alone consulted with, the 50 joint health and safety committees (JHSCs) about health and safety protections for on-siteworkers. There is a lack of clarity on how the (shifting) public health recommendations are being implemented on campus, what personal protective equipment is needed and will be provided, and how physical distancing will be enforced, nor has there been a clear message on which positions are eligible to work on-site versus at home. Since the JHSCs were not informed about or involved in these decision making processes, worker representatives were unable to communicate with, or share the concerns of, their members. This is a missed opportunity on the part of University administration to engage those who are most familiar with workplace conditions and the day-to-day operations of the University.

Read the full letter including the list of signatories

 

UTFA Statement on Anti-Black Racism

The University of Toronto Faculty Association strongly condemns anti-Black racism in all of its guises. Like many in the community in which we live and teach, we are outraged by the growing number of violent deaths of Black citizens in both Canada and the United States. COVID and racialized violence are the double tragedy that has wrought untold anguish in families across North America and well beyond. We at UTFA wish to express our solidarity with those in the Black community who have suffered and also our sorrow. For those members who might need help navigating resources at this very painful moment, please reach out to UTFA at advice@utfa.org.

UTFA will hold special meetings of its Executive Committee and Council to discuss and reflect on the cultural shift that is a result of the heinous killing of George Floyd in the United States. Why was the catalyst for Canadian academics an American death at the hands of police—when the Black and Indigenous and Asian communities in Canada have been identifying systemic racism for years? What is UTFA’s role in confronting systemic racism in our community and in our university? What can UTFA do as a labour organization committed to equity both to confront our own lack of diversity and to address practices that are undergirded by racism? How can UTFA use its meeting spaces and its online spaces to give voice to these issues?

The University of Toronto Faculty Association

 

The List statement on anti-Blackness at the University of Toronto

In the wake of the latest episodes of lethal anti-Black police violence - the killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Regis Korchinski-Paquet and D’Andre Campbell - The List stands in solidarity with Black faculty, librarians, staff and students, and communities in this city and across Turtle Island. We also mourn the killing of Chantel Moore, and condemn this and other episodes of brutal and systemic colonial state violence.

This is a moment of reckoning – though one that is long overdue. Even as we call for this reckoning today, we ask ourselves why we were not calling more loudly for it every single day before now. Many statements condemning anti-Black and colonial violence are circulating, and we add our voices to this growing chorus. But if these calls are to amount to more than the usual lip service, if they seek to go beyond self- congratulatory performance and the obligatory ‘check in’, and if they will honor and not simply absorb Black people’s long term labour for change, then this needs to be a moment of fulsome structural change in all of our departments and programs, in all our faculties and on all campuses across the University of Toronto.

We must stand beside and behind Black staff, faculty, librarians and students who have been dealing with racism at this institution every single day. As a group of primarily progressive faculty and librarians, we call on our administration to meet the demands and desires of our colleagues in the Black Faculty Group who have been working tirelessly, day in and day out, for change. We call on the U of T administration to commit to rigorous and systemic address of anti-Black racism and white supremacy on campus and beyond. And we demand a major investment of resources to support the flourishing of Black life and Black excellence at every scale of institutional life.

Read the full statement including the list of signatories