On the Radar Volume 3 Number 3

On the Radar is an electronic news bulletin for members of the Association of Administrative and Professional Staff at UBC. It is published via email (text version) and on our website on a periodic basis throughout the year, under the guidance of the AAPS Communications Committee (Chaired by Wendy Ma).  Written and edited by David Harvey.  Layout and design by Petra Ormsby.  Web design by Michael St. Claire. Other contributors to this issue include: Linda Ong (HR) & Kim Clayton (Grad Studies). Members wishing to make submissions please contact David Harvey at david.harvey@ubc.ca.


In This Issue

(The hyperlinks below will aid you in jumping to the articles you would most like to read.)

 


Welcome Back!

Welcome back to the start of a new academic year – it is great to see the students flocking back to campus. We hope everyone had the chance to take some time off and recharge themselves over the summer months.

This seemed to be a very busy summer for many departments. It is interesting how much of the work of M&P staff is connected to that other great learning enterprise – research. Over half of all AAPS members work in jobs that are not funded through the General Purpose Operating Budget. Often their work follows a different cycle from the academic year.

In this issue we will update you on what we have been working on over the summer and give you some information about our plans for the coming year.

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AAPS AGM

Mark your Calendars…

Our Annual General Meeting is scheduled for Tuesday October 16th from 1200 – 1400 in the SUB Theatre. Again this year we will be webcasting the event for members who are not at the Point Grey Campus and will be hosting satellite meetings at UBC-O and the Hospitals to enable members there to vote in the elections for AAPS Executive Board Positions.

Formal notice of meeting will be e-mailed in the next few days.

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End of Mandatory Retirement: AAPS & UBC Sign Agreement

You should already have received an e-mail from AAPS notifying you that we have reached an agreement with UBC to end mandatory retirement effective immediately. The reaction from members who have e-mailed the AAPS office has been uniformly positive. Thank you to those who took the time to write to us. You can access the full agreement which becomes Letter of Agreement #7 under our collective agreement on our website at www.aaps.ubc.ca.

Key features of the agreement include:

  • “Normal retirement age” is 65 but employees may choose to work beyond that and continue in their existing position.
  • Options exist for “phased retirement” whereby an employee (who must have at least 10 years of service) gives notice of retirement at a fixed future date and the department makes arrangements for the employee to leave and work less in the years leading up to that date.
  • Stipulations on which benefits are available and which benefits are not available to those who choose to work beyond 65.
  • Improved retirement counselling assistance from UBC.
  • A request for employees to give six months notice of retirement to assist UBC in effective succession planning and knowledge transfer.

If you are an employee who will be turning 65 in the coming year, are considering working beyond that age and would like further information please contact Sharon Cory in the AAPS offices at 827-3516 or sharon.cory@ubc.ca

AAPS would like to thank the University (Linda McKnight and her committee) for responding so positively to our suggestions for changes and improvements during the negotiations leading up to this agreement. We would also like to thank and acknowledge the contributions of the committee members who represented AAPS’ interests in that process: Anne-Marie Fenger, Susan Mair, Edward Hung, and staff members David Harvey and Sharon Cory.

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Income Replacement Plan (IRP) Governance & Plan Design Update

AAPS Executive Board and staff have been preparing for changes to the way our IRP plan is governed. In previous communications we have noted that the IRP (our version of long term disability insurance) has historically been under the sole trusteeship of UBC. The University is now engaging the employee groups in a discussion regarding what other governance models would better suit our needs.

AAPS has retained Pointbreak Consulting Ltd. to assist us in developing a new governance model and then ensuring that the plan/design meets the needs of our members in the most cost-effective manner. We hope to move forward towards a new agreement on IRP governance this fall.

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karin wills

Karin Wills Joins AAPS Staff

We are pleased to announce that Karin Wills, M.A., CHRP has joined the AAPS staff as our new Member Services Officer. Karin has 16 years of HR experience in both union and non-union settings. In her most recent role, Karin worked with professional staff in a high-tech research-oriented business. Please join the Executive Board and Executive Director David Harvey in welcoming Karin to AAPS.

Karin will assist us in handling advocacy issues and take a lead role in our member professional development and communications activities. The budget approved by members at the Spring General Meeting included provision for this new position.

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Member Professional Development

Project Management Courses Continue to be Popular

We continue to offer the very popular seminars on Project Management which are presented by Ian Berry and Grant Penner of the Berrant Group. This series of seminars started last year with Process Mapping and then introductory Project Management. We will be offering a follow-up Advanced Project Management (including a software component) later this year. To enrol in any of the upcoming sessions please e-mail Petra Ormsby atpetra.ormsby@ubc.ca.

 

Carla Reiger Review

The AAPS PD Committee presented Carla Reiger and her unique take on The Power of Laughter: Managing Change with a Sense of Humour in June. Members who attended were treated to a combination of laughter and good insights into how to handle the pressures of modern life. Carla left participants with some super ideas on how to introduce the positive elements of humour to the workplace and invited them to access further information from her website.

 

“Lunch & Learn” Sessions Coming to a Room Near You

Your PD Committee is planning a monthly series of “lunch and learn” sessions featuring speakers on a variety of topics of personal and professional interest. Some of these sessions will be accessible to our 500 members who work in hospitals or at UBC-O. If you have suggestions about topics that you think would be useful where you work, please send them to the committee via e-mail to the AAPS Office at: aaps@interchange.ubc.ca.

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Advocacy Update

The Advocacy Committee, with the assistance of staff David Harvey, Sharon Cory and Karin Wills ensures that member concerns are promptly addressed. The Committee members have invested a great deal of their own time in training to serve the needs of their fellow members. In June the members on the Point Grey campus participated with the HR Advisors and Managers in a series of joint training seminars aimed at improving investigation skills. David Harvey and Sharon Cory led the new UBC-O Advocacy Representatives through an introductory 2-day seminar to get them familiar with the role of advocacy reps, our collective agreement and basic employment law issues.

 

Issues

This month we are introducing a new report designed to give members an idea of the variety and depth of issues that the Advocacy team handles. Because the report is new, it is by no means complete. However, we will update and improve the report so that members have a full picture of this key function of the Association. In the columns below, you will see a listing of the types of issues grouped into categories. To the right of the categories you will see the collective agreement articles involved and then the “Year to Date” count of “Issues Handled”. To the right of that is the “Year to Date” breakdown of issues handled into three categories: “Issues Resolved” “Issues Remaining”, and finally, the number that we ultimately filed grievances on. Also below, you will see the “Grievance History” table which notes the relatively small number of occasions on which we have resorted to grievance to resolve any of the numerous advocacy issues we handle.

AAPS Advocacy Issues to August 31, 2007

AAPS Grievance History

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2

5

9

4

4

Upcoming Arbitrations

We have a total of 6 issues headed to arbitration, some of which are new and some are of long-standing. There are four important issues that we hope to address in these arbitrations.

1. Dismissal With or Without Cause?

Our collective agreement contains mandatory performance appraisal language (Article 6) and mandatory progressive discipline language (Article 8). There is a layoff clause at Article 9 for “terminations without cause” which states:

“The University recognizes that it has a responsibility to a regular employee who suffers a loss of employment as a result of departmental reorganization, budget cuts or the elimination of her/his position otherwise for reasons other than cause.” (emphasis added)

UBC contends that it can avoid its obligation to provide performance feedback under Article 6 or to provide progressive discipline under Article 8, and simply “cut a cheque” and terminate an employee without cause under Article 9. We have grieved the termination of a 15-year employee which UBC carried out purportedly under Article 9 but for reasons that fall within Articles 6 or 8.

We hope this arbitration will finally decide whether our members are protected from arbitrary dismissal or not. The hearing is scheduled for early November.

2. Bill 66 Appeal

With the advent of Bill 66 in 2004, the government of BC limited the potential severance a laid-off employee could get to 18 months unless that employee is a member of a “bargaining unit”, in which case there is no limit. The language of our collective agreement at Article 9 provides up to 24 months of severance. The agreement clearly establishes AAPS as a bargaining unit. However, UBC and PSEC (Public Sector Employers Council) chose to dispute this because AAPS is not a trade union certified under the Labour Relations Code of BC. Our position has been that the legislation does not require that a group be a trade union to be exempt from the 18 month limit. Rather, the law only requires that a group be a “bargaining unit”. We are appealing to the Court of Appeal to allow a reconsideration of the arbitrator’s decision.

3. Reduced Severance Allowance

Two employees, who were laid off due to reorganizations both received severance pay (salary continuance) pursuant to Article 9. During the period that they were on salary continuance they each got another job at UBC after about 3 months. UBC has recognized the employees’ prior service for vacation and other purposes but intends to deduct the 3 months from any future salary continuance should either employee ever be laid off in future. AAPS contends that the language of the collective agreement does not support that interpretation. UBC applied for a preliminary hearing before the arbitrator (held Sept. 26/07) to argue that the issue is not “live” unless and until one of these employees is laid off. AAPS argued that it is a live dispute on the interpretation of the agreement that should be heard and cleared up now. It is our position that service is fundamental to job security since employees under our collective agreement cannot be reinstated by an arbitrator; they just get pay in lieu of notice (severance). The amount of that pay is a direct function of service (1 month per year of service after the 3 rd year of service). The arbitrator gave a verbal ruling upholding UBC’s submission that the case should not proceed at this time. We have not yet seen his full reasons, which UBC requested he file in writing. When we have reviewed those reasons we will determine how best to proceed. In the interim, if you are laid off from UBC and then are re-employed at the University during your salary continuance period, it remains uncertain what your service entitlement will be. Please contact the AAPS office if you find yourself in this position and we will do our best to assist you.

4. Terminated for Cause

An IT Manager in one of the faculties was terminated for cause after there was an apparent security breach of one of the servers. UBC alleges that the IT Manager had misled the Department Head that firewalls were in place on all the faculty’s servers. The IT Manager disputes that allegation and contends that the Head was told repeatedly that the work on the basic infrastructure was not complete. This matter goes to an arbitrator in November. Members should note that under the language of Article 8, members dismissed for cause cannot be reinstated by an arbitration board; they can only receive severance and damages if it is shown there was no cause for the dismissal.

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Obituary – Lap Yu (Grace Chan)

This summer AAPS member Grace Chan was killed by a car while walking on the sidewalk in Vancouver. Grace was a hugely talented individual who had attained her Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Science and went on to do 10 years of post-doctoral work at Triumf. In mid-career she changed her focus, retrained as a CGA and became the Senior Financial Analyst in the office of the VP Research. AAPS initiated a bursary in Grace’s memory that will be awarded this year to a student in need. We understand that the VP Research has also contributed to the bursary. Others who wish to contribute should contact Lesley Campbell in the Development Office

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AAPS Supports “Round Tables”

The AAPS Professional Development Committee would like you to know that we are prepared to assist groups of members to form “round tables” within their job specialty. Round tables are informal communities of interest in a specific career track or job family. For example, the Research Facilitators have been working together to share information and refine best practices. Such groups can be of vital importance in ensuring the success of both individuals and departments. The PD Committee is prepared to assist new groups in forming and getting their own round table started. If you would like more information please contact Karin Wills in the AAPS office at karin.wills@ubc.ca or call 822-1935.

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Community Announcements

These announcements are provided to UBC-related organizations where the content may be of interest to AAPS members or their departments.

Lifelong Learning at UBC 
Check your department’s mailbox for the Fall 2007 UBC Continuing Studies calendars. If you haven’t received yours, you can view it online atwww.cstudies.ubc.ca open link in new window (or tab) or call 604-822-1444 for your copy. Did you know that M&P staff is eligible for over $1600 worth of tuition fee waivers that reimburse or offset the cost of most UBC Continuing Studies courses at both the Point Grey and Robson Square campuses? See www.cstudies.ubc.ca/waivers open link in new window (or tab) for more information.

Discover and Rediscover UBC
Fall is a busy time of the year for new faculty, staff, and students as they start the academic year. To help ease the transition into a new workplace, UBC Human Resources has developed a virtual Welcome and Resource Centre atwww.ubc.ca/welcomeopen link in new window (or tab)

Created by Public Affairs’ web communications team, the web portal contains centralized information for multiple UBC audiences. Through self-identification, users will be directed to relevant content on other UBC.ca websites.

Key features of the web portal include the Quick Start Orientation(www.hr.ubc.ca/vwc/quickstart open link in new window (or tab) ) a new online self-service tool that delivers customized information to help new hires navigate their way through campus within the first few days of employment; Jumpstart, an e-newsletter for new hires during their first twelve months of employment; and rotating profiles on faculty and staff to showcase the diverse career opportunities at UBC.

Explore the Welcome and Resource Centre at www.ubc.ca/welcome open link in new window (or tab) and use the feedback form to help shape the content with your suggestions and recommendations.

Live Well, Work Well – 5th Annual UBC Health Symposium 
The 5th annual Health Symposium returns on October 3, 2007 at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts. Presented by the Department of Health, Safety, and Environment, this year’s health symposium focuses on taking responsibility for our health and encouraging the idea that health begins within and flows out into the workplace and larger community.

Keynote speakers this year include Dr. Gabor Matéopen link in new window (or tab) best-selling author ofWhen the Body Says No: The Cost of Hidden Stress and Dr. Art Histeropen link in new window (or tab) the “media doctor” who appears on Global TV, Shaw Cable, and CKNW news. Dr. Hister is also the author of Dr. Art Hister’s Do-It-Yourself Guide to Health.

Also available will be informative breakout sessions, our Health Fair, and the launch of a Pedometer Challenge. The Health Symposium is complimentary to all UBC faculty and staff. For more details and to register online, visitwww.hse.ubc.ca/health-symposiumopen link in new window (or tab)

Seeking Internal Coaches:  Coaching Internship Program
UBC Coaching Services is launching a new funding program to support the development of internal coaches. In order to continue to build the capacity of the Coaching program, HR’s Organizational Development & Learning unit has made a commitment to support faculty and staff interested in pursuing certification as a coach.

This support is intended as a partial contribution to the costs associated with obtaining tuition for a coaching certification program approved by an accredited association. Funding is negotiated based on funds available with a maximum of 3 applications considered annually.

Faculty and staff interested in applying for funding support are encouraged to review the selection criteria and application formopen link in new window (or tab) The deadline for completed applications is Monday, Oct. 1/07.

Planning to Attend Graduate School?

UBC Continuing Studies' new test preparation courses can help you excel on the required entrance exam and qualify for whichever program you choose. Instructors are experienced educators, trained in meeting the specific needs of adult learners. The custom-designed curriculum will ensure that you are as prepared as possible for this important investment in your future. Evening classes are conveniently located in downtown Vancouver at UBC Robson Square. M&P staff may use their tuition waiver to cover the cost of the course. Find out more at www.cstudies.ubc.ca/testprep open link in new window (or tab) or call 604-822-1459.

Spaces Available in Upcoming MOST Workshops

We have been advised of the following MOST Workshop:

Mondays: Purchase Cardholder & Coordinator Training, free

Oct. 2: It's About Time: Set Your Compass, $130 
Oct. 10: Navigating the UBC Research Process, free 
Oct. 15: Joy of Conflict Resolution, $130 
Oct. 19: Breath, Body, Voice $65 
Oct. 25: Understanding Your Staff Pension Plan (age 50 or older), free 
Oct. 25: Understanding Your Staff Pension Plan (under age 50), free 
Oct. 25: Understanding Your Retirement & Survivor Benefits, free  
Nov. 6: Communication with Compassion, $65  
Nov. 23: Delivering Customer Service Excellence 1, $130 
Nov. 30: Intuitive Painting, $155 
Dec. 10: Influencing for Impact, $130 
Dec. 14: Writing Professional Minutes, $65
Dec. 14: Writing Gym Workout, $65

To register, complete the information below and forward this tomostreg@hr.ubc.ca or fax to 822-8134.

  • Workshop title:
  • Name:
  • UBC Employee ID no.:
  • Email:
  • Phone number:

Interested in more learning opportunities?  Browse through more workshops with the MOST Online Catalogue.  open link in new window (or tab) The MOST Program is one part of Organizational Development and Learning's service solutions for the individual, the team, and for the organization.   

Need more info? Please contact: Jackie Amsden & Kat Ao; MOST Program;Organizational Development & Learning; UBC Human Resources;350 - 2075 Wesbrook Mall  V6T 1Z1; Tel: 822-9644, Fax: 822-8134; mostreg@hr.ubc.ca;www.hr.ubc.ca/odl/ open link in new window (or tab)

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