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University of Waterloo -- Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
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Wednesday, April 9, 1997

Faculty discuss salary position

A confidential session to set a "negotiating position" in 1997 salary talks with the UW administration will be on the agenda as the UW faculty association holds its annual general meeting this afternoon. The meeting starts at 2:30 in Davis Centre room 1350.

"It is critical to reverse the erosion of faculty salaries which has occurred over the past five years," says Ian Macdonald, who ends his term as faculty association president today. Writing in the March issue of the association's Forum, he says that negotiations for a 1997 salary settlement, due May 1, "have barely started". He also announces that Fred McCourt, who takes over from him as association president, is leaving the post of chief negotiator. Taking over in that role will be Frank Reynolds of the statistics and actuarial science department.

The faculty association negotiates salaries and working conditions for UW faculty members under a Memorandum of Agreement between the association and the board of governors.

Also on the agenda for this afternoon's meeting:

The printed agenda includes a report from the committee on academic freedom and tenure, which is being headed by John Vanderkooy of the physics department while its regular chair, Ray McLenaghan of applied math, is on sabbatical. The report mentions a dispute not previously made known:
Professor Y is attempting to reverse his/her acceptance of the SERP package on the grounds that the decision was not voluntary due to extenuating circumstances. In the Fall of 1996 Professor Y had a hearing before an adjudicator to determine if this appeal to rescind acceptance of the SERP program should proceed. As of March 12, 1997, no decision had been reached by the adjudicator.

Province sets summer job program

The Ontario government yesterday announced a program to create jobs for 34,000 young people this summer, at a cost of $37.5 million.

"Finding a first job is a major step in the life of a young person," said education minister John Snobelen. "Summer jobs give young people the confidence to develop their skills and to apply knowledge learned in the classroom. . . . This year Ontario Summer Jobs not only increases support to the Student Venture program, it also introduces a new program -- Summer Jobs Service -- which will help young people learn how to effectively find and keep a job."

Jobs will be supported for as long as 16 weeks. The 34,000 goal is 4,000 more than the number of jobs supported by the Ontario government last summer.

And one summer job at UW

The Visitors Centre has a job for a student during the spring term:
Undergraduate or graduate student from University of Waterloo. The primary duties would be the operation of the Visitors Centre, assisting with recruitment and publications, booking visits for Secondary School Liaison, giving tours, and other duties as assigned. Demonstrated ability and experience in dealing with parents and students, excellent communication abilities, strong public speaking and writing ability. Ability to work independently and as a team member. Knowledge of WordPerfect, FileMakerPro and Power Point would be an asset. This position could lead into other employment. Please bring your resume to Gail Ruetz, Visitors Centre, SCH by April 21, 1997. Interviews will be held on April 24, 1997.

Graduate student council meets

The new Graduate Student Council, created to represent all UW graduate students, will hold its first meeting tonight (6 p.m., Needles Hall room 3004). "All interested graduate students" are invited.

The old structure of the Graduate Student Association, with a large board of directors, was replaced with a new two-body system as the GSA overhauled its constitution at its annual general meeting March 26.

Says Daniel Piche, vice-president (communications) of the GSA: "The new system consists of two main bodies: the Board of Directors, consisting of 10 members and the Graduate Student Council, consisting of one representative from each department with a graduate program, 20 at-large seats to allow other members to join, and the directors." The plan is that the board will deal exclusively with "the corporate aspect of the GSA", he said. "The Council will be the social and political body of the GSA and be its voice on such matters."

Also at the annual meeting, members of the GSA board of directors were appointed, including Piche himself and Burton Empey, who is serving a second year as GSA president. At-large members of the board are Steve Astels, Gunudula Baehre, Pam Bryden, Jack Callaghan, Duane Cronin and Peter Wood, who will serve as corporate secretary. Two remaining seats on the board are reserved for the vice-president (internal) and VP (operations), both positions being currently vacant. "One of the objectives of the first Council meeting will be to appoint members to these positions," Piche said. "All interested members are invited to present themselves for either position."

Talks break off at York

No end is in sight to the strike by professors and librarians at York University, which has been going three weeks now. Says a statement issued by the administration yesterday:
Mediator Kevin Burkett broke off talks late Monday, April 7 and there are no further meetings scheduled. The University administration deeply regrets the failure to achieve a settlement of the dispute with YUFA.

The strike continues because YUFA insists on salary increases and the maintenance of costly retirement provisions that are not affordable. Over the course of more than a year of negotiations, four attempts at mediation have been unsuccessful.

During collective bargaining in 1996/97, the administration asked each of our employee groups to acknowledge the financial circumstances caused by the severe cutbacks in provincial government operating grants. . . .

We understand that this is a trying time for everyone. All of us recognize the damage this strike will cause, particularly at this time of year. We appreciate the stress that a strike can cause for all employees. The greatest impact is being felt by our students, who are concerned about completing their classes, preparing for exams, planning for graduation, starting summer jobs and applying for summer school.

The York University Faculty Association doesn't see it quite the same way:
YUFA is shocked and surprised by the breakdown of talks and by the administration's claim that the university's demand for a retirement package caused the negotiating failure. YUFA had asked that the retirement package and its implications for a salary progression scheme be referred to a third party arbitrator. The administration continued to refuse a third party arbitrator, . . . presumably because they don't have any confidence in their own case.

[YUFA chair David Clipsham] said the administration made no offers of compromise during the two day talks, which finished [Monday] night. "The administration strategy is as it has been all along -- to secure a settlement on its terms by misleading our members and the media, circumventing the process of collective bargaining," said Clipsham. "After such a hopeful start this week, the administration has decided to shut down talks and abandon York students."

Clipsham said the administration's statement about retirement is misleading and part of an ongoing attempt to divide and conquer York faculty. Clipsham also said that the administration's claim that YUFA members are asking for an 8% salary increase is a distortion.

On Paul Robeson's 99th birthday

The drama department winds up its production of three one-act plays with a performance tonight at 8 (in Studio 180 in the Humanities building).

An exhibition of work by UW fine arts students is under way at the Eldon Gallery at 14 King Street North in downtown Waterloo.

Term loan books from UW's libraries taken out during the fall and winter terms are due today.

Ontario education minister John Snobelen is to be the guest today on CBC radio's "Radio Noon", talking chiefly about the proposed "Fewer School Boards Act".


April 9, 1996: St. Jerome's College breaks ground for its new "community centre".

Editor of the Daily Bulletin: Chris Redmond
Information and Public Affairs, University of Waterloo
credmond@watserv1.uwaterloo.ca -- (519) 888-4567 ext. 3004
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