Even though we are about a week away from the official beginning of Summer, the warm weather that we are currently experiencing is certainly declaring that Summer has finally arrived. It is also very difficult to believe that we are almost half way through 2017.
If you were not aware, York will observe Canada Day on Monday July 3rd.
In the past few weeks the provincial government has announced that they intend to make, what they refer to as, major labour reforms (the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act 2017) by January 1st, 2018. Some of these reforms include, increases to the minimum wage and a ban on employers from asking employees for sick notes if the employee takes ten or fewer sick days a year. Once the proposed legislation is passed into law we will update the membership as to how it will affect them and when.
For the first quarter of 2017 the York Pension Plan had a 3.3% net return. As well, on May 19th the Ontario Ministry of Finance issued a press release containing changes to the Registered Pension Plan funding framework. All of the details around the changes have not been announced yet. Still, what has been announced appears to be very positive for our pension plan. I will keep you updated as more information becomes available.
One final note regarding the pension plan. The pension plan has a “portability” option (Section 7.05) that allows retiring members to elect to transfer out their pension amount to another registered option (i.e. RRSP) in a lump sum amount as an alternative to receiving a retirement pension from York. In 2012 changes were made to the Pension Benefits Act which in 2014 York began to interpret as a prohibition against such transfers out of the pension plan for those over the age of 65. In the 2017 provincial budget, the Ontario government amended the Pension Benefits Act to make clear that transfers out of a pension plan for those over the age of 65 were allowed.
To date in 2017 Yusa has filed a total of 31 grievances. The majority of these grievances are job posting grievances. On the other side of the ledger, since the beginning of the year 47 grievances have been resolved.
We have made great strides in clearing up the Job Evaluation Appeal backlog. A great deal of the credit for this needs to go to Wanda Hollingshead, the Chair of Job Evaluation, Janet Brewer and Jane Grant. Having Wanda in the office concentrating solely on the Job Evaluation Appeals and assisting with the work of reviewing the Job Evaluation benchmarks has been a tremendous positive for Yusa. Wanda’s secondment in the Yusa office will end as of June 30th. Still, before then she will issue a status report on Job Evaluation.
Our one day per week drop-in-office in Room 430 Student Centre has been met with a great deal of support from the membership. Having a place to meet closer to the members workplaces has been a very positive experience.
In my April President’s Perspective I wrote about a number of members who expressed concerns that the Budget Office – Furniture (line 56 of the Budget Report) actuals in the 2016 Budget Report had surpassed the projections by a total of 54.8% and that I was asked to investigate how this had occurred. As an update I can inform the membership that I concluded my investigation in early May. On May 5th I sent an email to the 2016 full time officers (Sandy Bell, Michael Belanger and Dawn Burns) outlining my findings and asked them for their comments. I believed that it was appropriate for Sandy, Mike and Dawn to bring their perspective to the investigation. As of early June I had not heard from Sandy, Mike or Dawn in regards to this matter.
The membership is entitled to a conclusion to this investigation in a timely manner. Therefore I wrote to Sandy, Mike and Dawn on June 6th and set a June 19th deadline for their comments. I realize that we are all very busy, still 6 weeks in total should be a sufficient amount of time to respond if they had intentions to respond.
If I do not receive a response by June 19th I will proceed to conclude the investigation and will rely solely on the information that I currently have available to me.
York University Staff Association/Association Du Personnel De l’Universite York