Parity and Protections for Librarians and Archivists

Bargaining Unit
Bargaining Updates 2022

While we are working toward either a negotiated settlement or an arbitration award, we want our Librarians and Archivists to know that we have been fighting to make your work better in this round—and we’ll keep pushing UBC in both this bargaining round and in the future. Our goals for UBC’s Librarians and Archivists are two-fold: to ensure that language and protections offered will recognize the specific work of librarians and archivists within the University, and to build in parity with other bargaining unit members whenever possible. In this round, we have advocated particularly for improved workload language, to ensure it is collegially assigned in a fair and equitable manner, and to create language for Heads in the Library that is parallel to the protections and rights given to faculty Heads.

We’ve specifically proposed administrative leaves for Heads (Proposal 24), an idea we have all seen before. It is only right that Heads in the Library are afforded administrative leaves that Heads in the rest of the University currently receive as part of their appointment. Administrative leave for Heads in the Library would be taken upon completion of the term as a Head, and 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.

Administrative leaves fulfill an important role for scholarly activity and our academic mandate, and Heads in the Library should be treated with the same respect and opportunity as other Heads on campus, to stay current in areas of expertise, and re-focus on their professional development and scholarship. Administrative leaves are specifically designed for this kind of re-integration into the general complement of the unit. The only option available currently is for Heads to hope that the end of their term as Head aligns with their study leave clock, which is both impractical and requires the prescriptive use of a study leave. It is frustrating that the University continues to deny us this reasonable request, yet here we are again with this proposal.

In Proposal 25 we have suggested further improvements to the significant language we added to the Collective Agreement in the last round of bargaining, to better define the types of work we are responsible for, specifically in 3.05 Assigned Responsibilities; 3.06 Contributions to Scholarship; and 3.07 Service Contributions. Based on feedback, consultation meetings with librarians and archivists, and submissions to our survey of members prior to bargaining, we have proposed language that describes additional areas of work that should be covered here and language that recognizes service contributions and mentorship specific to inclusion, equity, and diversity.

While we achieved improvements on the definitions of our work in the last round, as described above, we still need to address workload balance – in the Library and across the University. That’s where workload aspects of Proposal 25 come in, with language that would balance assigned workload against necessary and required self-directed professional, administrative, and scholarly work, and ensure we are given adequate time to complete all the requirements of our job. In this proposal, we are asserting that assigned workload must not unreasonably interfere with our self-directed work, that clear space for our self-directed work should be protected, and that balance across all our workload must be considered in such a way that it does not become increasingly difficult or impossible for us to pursue that important self-directed work. It is crucial that UBC recognize and confirm the importance of self-directed work, instead of assuming or expecting that it only happens at times outside of or beyond our assigned work and regular work week.

Transparency in how work is assigned in our units and across the Library is also articulated in this proposal. Heads typically have open and transparent discussions within their units about how work is assigned, with an eye to ensuring it is assigned equitably for all within the unit; articulating this in the collective agreement guarantees this kind of equity and transparency continues. However, Heads don’t have the same opportunity to ensure equitable and transparent distribution of workload across the Library, so we are also proposing language that would consider workload distribution across the Library as a whole, and on both the UBC Vancouver and UBC Okanagan campuses.

Describing these priorities to the University in bargaining is an important part of our solidarity with each other. We are making it clear that we are not and will never be content with a University in which Librarians and Archivists are treated as less than full professional colleagues. We’ll keep saying this until UBC finally gets the message, whether in this round or in the future.