Bargaining Survey: Job Evaluation

While the Negotiating Committee and the Joint Job Evaluation Committee were aware that our members had problems with the JE process, few of us were prepared for what the bargaining survey revealed.

You expressed everything from outrage to defeat in the face of what seems to many respondents an unnecessarily cumbersome and time-consuming process. You told us that Job Evaluation is too complicated, outdated, and worst of all, unfair. As both Union co-chair of the JE Committee and the Local’s Communications chair, it pained me to bring these results forward to the Executive and to the Negotiating Committee.

Most of our members said they had not initiated a JE request in the past 10 years (62%) — fully 20% of those said they do not understand the process; almost 30% were told by their managers there was no money in the budget for increases.

Many members said they were so over-worked that they didn’t have time to undergo the process or didn’t want to rock the boat (34% each). We heard your frustration at how labour intensive and time-consuming the process can be.

You told us:

“Our Faculty has stopped the [JE] process until the shared service model is in place and then it will be initiated by the Dean’s office.”

“I started working on my JEQ in November 2013, but I got too busy to complete it. Also, as there has been and will be even more organizational changes, I’m not sure if it is even worth to continue working on it at this time.”

“My JEQ was submitted three times, lost twice by [my manager] before he finally fobbed it off to [another manager] who saw it through to its conclusion. In all the process took four years.”

“I already regularly work through breaks to meet operational demands of my job. If I were to prep a JEQ I would have to ‘find’ the time at home while I am not at work, which I just can’t do being a parent.”

So where do we go from here? It’s clear that JE is a key issue for our membership. It is the only process where our members can get recognition for the increases to duties and responsibilities that are often the result of cutbacks and reorganizations in departments across campus.

In the last round of bargaining, we signed a Letter of Agreement to strike a subcommittee and assess certain aspects of the process including “Questionnaire design, comparator positions, audit process and appeals to better reflect the changing nature of the University workplace.” While that subcommittee did meet several times last year, the recommendations that arose were limited in scope by the Universities reluctance to make changes to the Questionnaire and most issues will need to be referred to the upcoming contract bargaining.

Your CUPE 951 Negotiating Committee will be engaging the University at bargaining about revising the JE questionnaire to better reflect how much work has evolved since the original plan was put in place in the mid 1990s. The existing process needs to be streamlined and made more transparent and there is also a very real need for education for both our members and the managers who are charged with overseeing the other side of the process.

Further feedback or questions about Job Evaluation can be directed to Cheryl DeWolfe,