QUFA Exec update on financial situation at Queen's
Dear QUFA Members,
QUFA Executive is taking this opportunity to answer some of the principal questions that Members are asking and to review the ongoing financial situation at Queen's. We also have a lengthier explanation of this summary.
Retirement and Salary Mitigation
- On May 6th the Retirement Working Group was told by the Administration that "any movement on retirement incentives was contingent on other salary mitigation solutions." While not agreeing to tie retirement to salary mitigation, QUFA did agree to continue discussions without such an agreement and two more meetings were held. On June 4th the Administration told us they are discussing retirement and compensation issues internally and can't move forward until that is done.'
- Despite QUFA's ongoing interest in undertaking a complete joint review of the current salary model and merit system, the Joint Committee to study this met only once on May 20th and no further meetings have been scheduled by the University. This review may result in long-term savings.
Financial Management and Governance IssuesThe budget issues at Queen's need to be seen as resulting from a series of decisions made over the past several years by the Board and the Administration, and not resulting solely from the current economic situation.
- The Board and Administration embarked on capital projects without either adequate funding or responsible plans for cost recovery.
- No long-term academic plan exists to guide decision making around financial recovery.
- The Board continues to pay high-ranking administrators who have left Queen's.
- The Board did not conservatively and adequately plan for the vagaries of the market, where it is entirely predictable that upward and downward trends will occur.
Altering Queen's Educational PrioritiesPlans to get past this difficult financial period must not be simply predicated on the best way to save money, but rather on the best way to save money with the University's primary mission, academic excellence, as the guiding principle.
- The elimination of 54 full-time teaching positions over the next three years will increase the student to faculty ratio.
- Administration is supposed to support the education mission of a University, not hinder it by being overly large, demanding, and costly.
The Principles of a Contractual Agreement
- The Collective Agreement is a commitment made by two parties on the basis of prolonged and thoughtful discussion and negotiation. It confers obligations that weigh equally on both parties.
- Salary increases agreed to and included in the 2008-2011 Collective Agreement are similar to other universities in Ontario and across Canada.
June 26, 2009