CUFA Librarians Assembly
December 2012-December 2013
By Vince Graziano
Chair of the Assembly
CUFA Librarians Assembly
The Assembly was proposed, discussed and created on December 5, 2012. The Steering Committee – composed of the Chair, the Secretary and the Member-at-Large – was elected at the meeting of January 9, 2013. V. Graziano was acclaimed as Chair, P. Carson was acclaimed as Secretary, and O. Charbonneau and D. Macaulay will share the duties of the Member-at-Large – all for two-year terms ending on May 31, 2015.
Terms of Reference
Drafted by V. Graziano, the Terms of Reference were presented to the Assembly at the meeting of December 5, 2012. With a few minor adjustments, and the proviso that the Terms would be reviewed prior to January 1, 2014, the Terms of Reference and amendments carried unanimously. The Terms were revised by V. Graziano and they were approved, with some amendments, at the meeting of November 6, 2013. The Terms will be reviewed annually.
Letter to the Minister of Canadian Heritage Regarding Cuts at Library and Archives Canada (LAC)
G. Little presented the draft letter to the Minister of Canadian Heritage regarding LAC, written by G. Little, A. Murray, K. Huhn, M. Lake and J. Duy, at the Assembly meeting of December 5, 2012. The Letter carried unanimously. Members unanimously expressed their appreciation to the authors of the letter for their initiative, for drafting the letter, and for introducing this as an item for consideration by the Assembly. The Minister of Canadian Heritage, Mr. James Moore, replied in a letter dated February 25, 2013, which V. Graziano shared with all members of the Assembly.
Job Title: “Assistant Librarian”
The 3 new tenure-track librarians, hired in January 2013, were given the title “assistant librarian,” differing from past practice. It was unanimously agreed that the new job title “assistant librarian” is inappropriate because it diminishes the profession, it sounds like a rank, and does not sufficiently inform colleagues and patrons of the responsibilities of the librarian. The job descriptions did not include specific duties and responsibilities; rather, they pointed to Article 17 of the CUFA Collective Agreement.
CUFA librarians believed that the lack of duties and responsibilities violated Article 17.03, which stated that the “job description, provided to the member at the time of hire, shall indicate the duties and responsibilities that are to be performed by the member.” They also believed that the lack of duties and responsibilities, as well as the job title “Assistant Librarian” violated Article 15.01 c) ii), which stated: “examples reflective of the librarian member’s role in the Library as described in the job description.”
CUFA librarians objected to the Conditions of Work section of the job descriptions, specifically the sentence: “Courtesy and tact is employed to maintain a respectful workplace and a positive image of Concordia University.” This violates Article 3.02 in the sense that it creates working conditions contrary to the provisions of the Collective Agreement, specifically Article 6.01 Academic Freedom: “Freedom of speech and freedom of enquiry guarantees the open investigation and interpretation of ideas and the right to raise probing questions and challenges to the beliefs of society at large.” The society at large includes Concordia University. Furthermore, the right of all members to exercise their academic freedom was not respected.
V. Graziano and C. Bober met with David Thirlwall and Benoit Goyette on January 28, 2013 to discuss the job descriptions and position titles of the three newly hired tenure-track librarians. The Administration agreed to remove the Conditions of Work, but kept the job title and did not re-instate the duties and responsibilities.
V. Graziano requested a meeting with G. Beaudry, newly appointed Interim University Librarian, which was held on June 27, 2013. G. Beaudry stated that she would discuss the issue with the Library Administration Team. At the meeting with V. Graziano on July 11, G. Beaudry announced that the Library will revise the 3 job descriptions to include titles and duties and responsibilities that are in accordance to past practice. The 3 revised job descriptions were issued in August 2013.
CUFA Librarians Assembly Website
The website (https://cufalibrarians.net/) was created by O. Charbonneau on January 9, 2013 and co-administered by O. Charbonneau and D. Macaulay. The Letter to the Minister of Canadian Heritage about cuts to Library and Archives Canada (LAC), the CAUT Librarians Conference Report by V. Graziano, the Terms of Reference, and the minutes of meetings were posted on the website. The minutes were password protected. At the meeting of November 6, 2013, it was decided that the minutes would remain password protected, but that the agendas would be posted openly on the website.
A task force composed of O. Charbonneau, V. Graziano, K. Jensen and M. Massicotte drafted the Research Guidelines. After several versions and much discussion, the Guidelines were approved by the Assembly at the meeting of June 5, 2013. The vote was 19 in favour, 1 opposed and 1 abstention. They were subsequently posted on the website.
Working from Home and Flexible hours
There are conflicting messages and a lack of consistency between departments and units in terms of working from home, resulting in an inherent unfairness. Also, the question of taking time off to care for dependents was raised, specifically if taking time off or working from home to care for a sick child/dependent would count as a sick day or a vacation day for librarians. Another issue discussed was the purpose of filling out the orange forms for absences.
An e-mail sent to G. Robichaud by L. Vileno on December 10, 2012 remains unanswered. Rather than having rules on this topic in writing, it could be possible to address it through tacit agreement among CUFA librarians. No resolution on this topic was reached. It was suggested that the Assembly revisit it at a later time.
A draft text regarding the Library Committee written by S. Poulin was tabled for discussion. Some thought that a Senate seat was more important than changing the mandate and membership of the Library Committee. There was general consensus that a document on governance as a whole was needed. There was a suggestion to form a group on governance issues. The group was formed with these members: R. Coughlan, V. Graziano, K. Jensen and G. Little. The group will begin meeting in 2014. The Group will be examining the options to pursue; among them a seat on Senate, a seat on the Board of Governors, a library council and reform of the Library Committee.
Composition of CUFA Committees
With the former Collective Agreement (2007-2012), it was proposed that the Library Elections Committee (LEC) should ensure the following division-specific composition for the Library Personnel Committee (LPC) and Library Personnel Review Committee (LPRC):
• LPC: 5 available tenured librarians (3 from User Services and 2 from Collection Services/Systems)
• LPRC: 6 available tenured librarians (4 from User Services and 2 from Collection Services)
The 2012-2015 Collective Agreement states in Article 11.09 c) that “The LEC shall endeavor to ensure balanced representation of professional librarian activities in the membership of committees governed by this Agreement.” It was decided that we would continue with the status quo.
• A Teaching Discussion Group was formed and met once.
• A group was formed to draft the Checklist for Advisory Search Committees, which will be presented to the Assembly in 2014.
• V. Graziano conducted a dossier workshop on April 19, 2013.
• The composition of the University Librarian Search Committee was discussed, specifically the lack of representation by full-time faculty. The issue will be discussed at another meeting.