Report of the Chair of the Librarians Committee, 2020–2021

July 10, 2021
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Since the beginning of the pandemic, the majority of the University librarians across our three campuses have been working from home, meeting and teaching online. We have had an active year and our workload has increased substantially. During this period, the Librarians Committee met virtually several times: May 6, June 17, July 15, September 4, and November 26 in 2020 and on January 11, 2021. We have also organized constituency meetings for librarians, held in March and April 2021, that were widely attended.

Michelle Spence joined UTFA Council to temporarily replace Vicki Skelton, who is currently on a research leave and who is one of the three librarian representatives for Council Constituency 801.

During the past year, we have addressed concerns raised by librarian members regarding the extended acting position of the Academic Administrator at Gerstein and the Engineering and Computer Science Library as well as the striking of a single search committee for two different positions in the central system.

Despite experiencing challenges created by the pandemic, we are grateful to members of UTFA’s Executive Committee and Council for their continued support for the ongoing negotiations to modernize the 40-year-old Policies for Librarians.

Harriet Sonne de Torrens
Chair, Librarians Committee

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Report on Negotiations for the Policies for Librarians

UTFA and the Administration continue to negotiate regularly at the table to modernize the Policies for Librarians. We are pleased to have reached three agreements at this table since June 2020:  

These agreements were made possible due to the hard work of both sides.    

On February 9, 2021 our negotiation team and the Librarians Committee engaged librarians in consultations to discuss their priorities and questions, as well as provide an update on the current Policies for Librarians negotiations. 

January marks our third year in negotiations; thus, UTFA and the U of T Administration have agreed to pivot into mediation. Arbitrator Brian Etherington has agreed to serve as mediator. We look forward to his involvement so that UTFA and the Administration can settle the remaining issues in dispute and strengthen policies for librarians that reflect our current needs.  

I am grateful to Ken MacDonald, Dan D’Agostino, Whitney Kemble, and Harriet Sonne de Torrens for their significant contributions as the UTFA negotiation team members at this table.  Additionally, Emma Phillips, Counsel and Partner at Goldblatt Partners, has provided essential support, as have the UTFA staff, Executive Committee, and Council.  

Kathleen Scheaffer
Chief Negotiator