Library Workload and the Confirmation Process

Categories: Bargaining, Bargaining Updates 2019, Library, Workload

The Association continues to seek to modify Part 5, Conditions of Appointment for Librarians to ensure that workload is collegially assigned in a fair and equitable manner, and to create Heads language for the Library that mirrors Heads language for faculty (i.e., term appointments, stipend, administrative leave). In addition, in this round we have proposed a change in the confirmation review process and introduced definitions upon which candidates for confirmed appointments will be judged.

We are getting closer to parallelism on the Heads language except that Heads in the Library continue to miss out on one of the benefits that Heads of Departments outside of the Library enjoy. In the last round, and again this time, we have proposed that Heads in the Library be granted administrative leave upon completion of their term. In our proposal, time served as a Head or taken on administrative leave would not be included in years of service for the purpose of calculating study leave. We’ve also proposed that all librarians be assigned to a unit and report to a Head. This would provide consistency to reporting structures within the Library and clarify the role of Heads in assigning and reviewing the work of our members.

A couple of our proposals introduce language that is specific to librarians and archivists rather than relying on language in the Collective Agreement that best applies to faculty positions. Currently, librarians and archivists are governed by the same workload language as everybody else in the bargaining unit which means the language does not reflect librarian and archivist duties. We have proposed a workload article that makes more sense for the work that librarians and archivists do. We’ve also made a proposal introducing new language to Article 3, Criteria for Appointments, relating to professional practice, contributions to scholarship and definitions of service. Also in Article 3 we have proposed clarifying language on appointments which would distinguish between the appointment of a librarian or archivist. We are aware that the current language is confusing to both selection committees and potential job applicants; our intent is to clarify what program or degree is required for a librarian or archivist to be appointed to a particular position.

Finally, we’ve made a proposal that introduces the concept of a unit standing committee in Article 6 which would replace the current standing review committee. In our proposal, unit standing committees are made up of all the confirmed members of the unit (smaller units could add librarians from outside the unit). Again, this proposal more closely mirrors the practice on the faculty side. And it would address two problems that we have identified with the current process: the review committee would better understand the work of the librarian being reviewed – which is especially important given the increasing number and variety of functional roles in the Library – and it would address the issue of the confirmation review standing committee and the Librarians Appointment Committee (LAC) being essentially two versions of the same committee (that is, both composed of librarians drawn from across the Library). Regarding confirmation for librarians, we have also proposed opening up the definition of referees to include librarians at other institutions, faculty members or community members. Librarians and archivists often work closely with colleagues outside the Library; indeed, depending on their role they may work more closely with those colleagues external to the Library than internal. Providing a mechanism for these individuals to contribute as referees with status equal to UBC librarians for a member’s confirmation review would strengthen the understanding of the significance and impact of their work. 

We’ve met with the University several times to discuss Library proposals and believe we are on the same page about some issues. Whether we can reach agreement at the table remains to be seen.


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