David Agosti

“But goodness,” continued Piglet,“difficult days are so much easier when you know you’ve got someone there for you. And I’ll always be there for you, Pooh.”

It’s sometimes easy for everyone at the University to forget that in the midst of COVID recovery, bargaining, ESA hours of work, etc. “regular work” still needs to be done, so I wanted to shift gears a bit for this month’s Conversations with the President.

Many APSA members have approached the APSA office about the Uniforum project (a login may be required). If we were a union, I would use the term “management rights” meaning that establishing benchmarks, directing work, etc. is a normal part of SFU’s everyday work. As administrators and professionals, if we see something we perceive to be inefficient, ineffective, or inappropriately timed, I believe we have a responsibility to raise those concerns with the University. I am happy to say that many APSA members, either individually or as department groups, have done so — raising concerns about the Uniforum project with their immediate supervisors, with senior administration or both.

Under normal circumstances, we wouldn’t be involved as an organization. Of course, these aren’t normal circumstances.

At the May 12th Zoom kick-off event, at approximately 1:43 into the event (link on the Uniforum project page) the following question was asked:

“How do we assess workload on a person when they work extra hours, but this is not reflected in Payroll?”

This is a very important issue for APSA members at the moment, given the following:

  1. As a result of COVID, many APSA members have been working significantly more hours on average than the standard 36-hour week.
  2. As a result of unresolved discussions on hours of work and the ESA (being discussed in bargaining) many APSA “non-managers” are not having their extra hours recorded in Payroll and many APSA “managers” are neither having their extra hours recorded nor being able to take their “reasonable compensating time away.”
  3. Uniforum only looks at workload related to the hours worked via the Payroll’s system (e.g., there is no way in Uniforum to say “this position worked 120% during COVID”).

Further along in that same Zoom meeting, the University acknowledged the under-resourcing that exists in many departments. The challenge is, based on the above and how resourcing is tied to hours listed in Payroll, it doesn’t look like Uniforum will be able to identify this under-resourcing.

I would encourage APSA members who are part of the Uniforum process and who experience challenges with under-resourcing in their own position or in positions that they oversee to raise these challenges with the Uniforum team to learn if there is a solution. APSA will also be raising this issue with SFU’s senior leadership team.

If you have any further feedback, please contact the APSA office.