The number of inquiries and formal grievances handled by the QUFA office now exceeds 500 annually, some requiring a quick response and others requiring varying degrees of follow up all the way to arbitration. Most frequently raised are issues involving the Renewal Tenure and Promotion (RTP) process, followed by issues of compensation and benefits, leaves, and workload.
As already and often reported, including during bargaining, there has been a markedly corporate response to resolving both individual and systemic problems in the last few years. There is no sign it will change, which means that conflict resolution is increasingly based on the Administration’s perception and promotion of fiscal restraint and hierarchical authority, rather than on a willingness to think first of root causes and how the problem could be creatively and humanely resolved for the long term. One sign of this is the fact that since July 2009, QUFA has filed five times for arbitration on both individual and systemic issues. This is an extraordinary change from the past where since certification QUFA filed only twice for arbitration.
Another large number of cases deal with conflict within the work environment, whether amongst members, or between members and students or the administration. During this time of fiscal restraint and increased workload, where faculty are more and more seen as expenses rather than as the definition of a university, we expect these sorts of conflicts to increase.
Ramneek Pooni can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
This Grievance Corner was taken from the December, 2011 edition of QUFA Voices.