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In this issue:

Looking ahead to the 2016-17 school year

As students return to campuses and classes get underway, OCUFA will be working on a variety of initiatives important to professors and academic librarians
 

Important victory for Windsor faculty in arbitration decision

The Windsor University Faculty Association (WUFA) has successfully challenged the neutrality of their pension plan’s actuary in a significant arbitration decision.

Looking ahead to the 2016-17 school year

As students return to campuses and classes get underway, OCUFA will be working on a variety of initiatives important to professors and academic librarians. Here’s what to look out for in 2016-17:
  • The Government of Ontario’s reform of the university funding model. For the past year and a half, the government has been examining ways to modernize the university funding formula. We expect final recommendations from this process to go forward this Fall. OCUFA is actively engaged in the consultation around this process, arguing for a student-centred funding model supported by a robust provincial higher education data system. For more information on the process, you can start with OCUFA’s Funding Formula Handbook and for a summary of the latest phase of the project.
  • Improving the working conditions of contract faculty. OCUFA will be continuing its work on precarious academic work throughout the 2016-17 year. Led by our Contract Faculty and Faculty Complement Committee, the focus is on increasing public awareness on the issue and organizing sessionals on our member campuses. Look for on-campus events during Fair Employment Week, and in the meantime, take a few moments to show support by signing OCUFA’s Fairness for Contract Faculty pledge.   
  • University pension plans. OCUFA is continuing to develop pension solutions for all of its members. One of these initiatives is the creation of a voluntary, multi-employer jointly sponsored pension plan (JSPP) for interested faculty associations. There will be lots of news from this project over the coming months, but you can learn more right now at ocufapensionreview.ca.
Other government initiatives to look out for are the implementation of the new OSAP regime (where tuition fees will be effectively free for low-income students), the announcement of a new tuition fee framework, and possibly the announcement of a new internationalization strategy for colleges and universities in Ontario.
 
As always, you can get the latest news and analysis on the OCUFA website, in OCUFA Report, and on our Twitter and Facebook feeds. 

Important victory for Windsor faculty in arbitration decision

The Windsor University Faculty Association (WUFA) has successfully challenged the neutrality of their pension plan’s actuary in a significant arbitration decision. The following is a message from WUFA President Jeff Noonan concerning this result:
 
Colleagues,
 
On August 24th Arbitrator Pamela Picher issued her ruling in our policy grievance against the administration in the matter of the independence of the Pension Plan’s actuary, Mercer.  WUFA maintained that private consultations asked for by the administration and provided by Mercer during the 2011 round of collective bargaining constituted a breach of the neutrality provision in the Pension Plan. The ruling makes it clear that WUFA’s concerns with Mercer’s independence are founded and substantial.  Arbitrator Piche thus ordered that Mercer be removed “forthwith” as the Plan’s actuary.
 
In her judgement, Arbitrator Piche writes that she “accepts the submission of WUFA that the bond of trust that WUFA should have been able to rely on from Mercer Canada was broken. The Arbitrator accepts that it was broken irretrievably.” 
 
This is a significant win in both process and result.  It is, first, a complete vindication of our arguments in the case.  Second, it is a strong condemnation of the backroom tactics that the administration employed with regard to Pension issues in 2011.  Third, it proves that WUFA will vigorously and effectively protect our members’ interests when it comes to fair and democratic collective bargaining practices.
 
Congratulations are due to everyone on the Grievance and Executive Committees from 2011 to the present, our legal representative, WUFA’s staff, and all of you (especially those 170-plus members who wrote to the Board to demand that mercer be removed) who have supported our position through this long grievance.
 
Click here to read the full text of the arbitrator's decision.
 
Sincerely,
Jeff Noonan
WUFA President


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