YusApuY Annual General Meeting 2nd VP Report
YUSA Brothers and Sisters,
Once again, I was caught off guard by the onslaught of students; the shorter days; and the scheduling of the YUSA Annual General Meeting!! All of these events signal the passing of time and the fact that my first year in the YUSA office is almost over!!
I officially took office as the YUSA 2nd, Vice-President in January of this year. It has been my absolute pleasure to represent the membership in this capacity! I am deeply committed to unionism, fairness, equality and treating everyone with dignity and respect. I feel my daily interactions and involvement with the membership is a true reflection of my commitment and dedication.
I would like to extend heaps of gratitude to the other full-time officers: President Sandy Bell and 1st Vice-President Michael Belanger! Your unwavering commitment and guidance these last 9 months has been invaluable. The days we spend in the office are long, the workload is arduous and never ending, but I couldn’t be happier to be part of the team!
Many many thanks to the YUSA Executive Board, YUSA stewards, volunteers and former YUSA President Giulio Malfatti for your continued support and guidance this past year. “Thank you” to the best administrative staff on the planet: CUPE 1281 members, Fil Weatherill, Kerrianne Brown, and Elizabeth Sankar. We would honestly be lost without the 3 of you!
The full-time officers are committed to providing training and sharing resources with our stewards and members. As such, we recently participated in a two-day Mental Health First Aid training (MHFA) program. The MHFA Canada program aims to improve mental health literacy, and provide the skills and knowledge to help people better manage potential or developing mental health problems in themselves, a family member, a friend or a colleague. This course was extremely well received by everyone in attendance. We learned some skills and strategies that we will continue to use in our daily interactions.
On June 3-5, YUSA President Sandy Bell, and I were invited to a conference sponsored by the newly created Confederation of Ontario Post-Secondary Workers (COPW) —formerly known as COUSA – Confederation of Ontario University Staff Associations and Unions, at the Holiday Inn in Toronto. YUSA was once affiliated with COUSA but decided to leave in the 90’s over disagreements around the “Rae Days”. We will be seeking input from the membership about the possibility of rejoining COPW. More information to follow.
In late June, we held our annual Staff Appreciation BBCL “Thank You” to Bruno Ritacca for coordinating another hugely successful event. 2016 saw record attendance with over 1100 members participating at both the Keefe and Glendon campuses.
We will continue to hold monthly Lunch and Learn sessions on various topics. The sessions on JobE were very well attended and reinforced the need for JobE education and guidance. Please contact the YUSA office if you need help with your significant change and/or questionnaire. We will put you in touch with a Job rater for guidance and support through the process. Also, let us know if your suggestions for future Lunch and Learn topics. We are always looking for ideas!
Very recently I attended the Executive Board meeting of the Confederation of Canadian Unions (CCU) as the YUSA delegate. The CCU is comprised of other independent union members from across Canada. We come together at these meetings for union education and to share and learn from our experiences in the workplace — may it be recent grievance settlements, successful arbitration language, member engagement strategies, labour training, etc. Although we come from varied personal and professional perspectives, we all share a common bond: The belief in the need for strength and unity among Canadian Unionized workers.
There continues to be a lot of day to day activity in the YUSA office. Specifically, we’ve been dealing with the YUSA II contract negotiations — fingers crossed the YUSA II contract will be ratified by the new year. In addition to numerous grievances, a series of 7.07 meetings and 11.01 discipline meetings, terminations, job closures and/or a reduction of full-time hours. It seems there is a trend to replace high paying “specialist” type jobs and with more generalist, contract positions. When jobs are vacated (for whatever reason), management is choosing not to fill them. Thus creating undue stress on the rest of the members with an unmanageable workload; forcing morale to an all time low, which in turn can contribute to health related issues such as: repetitive strain injuries, exhaustion and general malais.
I anticipate the challenges of 2017 to be equally concerning the introduction of the activity based SHARP budget model (Shared Accountability & Resource Planning) is meant to enhance accountability by allowing faculties/departments more opportunities to keep the money they “earn” or save for the institution. I see this as another way for the employer to justify the elimination of YUSA jobs under the guise of “cost-saving measures” – we’ve seen this in the past! Time will tell how this new budget model will play out, but I’m not holding out a lot of hope that things will improve.
In these trying times, I want to remind everyone to take your 15 minute breaks, full lunch hours, and vacation time. Walk away from your work area to rehydrate and refuel, both physically, and mentally. Use your paramedical health benefits and book a massage or chiropractic appointment. Consider joining the YUSA lunch time fitness classes! More importantly, we need to take care and be understanding of one another. Our daily lives are filled with so much chaos, we need to help and support each other in the workplace. Consider reaching out to your fellow YUSA members and connect on a more personal level.
Yours in Solidarity,
Dawn Burns YusApuY 2nd VP