Sending a proxy to the Fall General Assembly? Learn what UOSU is proposing to undergrad students and why!
The Board of Directors (BOD) of the University of Ottawa Students’ Union (UOSU) convened on Oct. 24 for its monthly meeting. This meeting consisted of ratifying equity commissioner Sana Almansour, engineering director Chloe Bergeron, and interim clubs and services commissioner Zachary Flahaut. Following this, the BOD continued to vote on several motions regarding recommendations to be made at the upcoming Fall General Assembly (FGA).
The FGA is set to be hosted virtually on Nov. 15. While there will be motions brought by student members, there will also be motions for amendments to UOSU’s constitution presented to UOSU members (meaning all U of O undergraduate students) by the BOD and Executive Committee.
Among these motions will be the future recognition of co-op students as members of UOSU during their work terms while not paying membership fees, allowing part-time students to be employed full-time by UOSU, and moving UOSU general elections to earlier dates in the winter semester, among others.
Having been passed at the Oct. 24 meeting of the BOD, these constitutional amendments will now be brought to the FGA for students to have their say.
The final motion brought forward concerned the salary of UOSU executives. The potential constitutional amendment would place a new formula for executive pay, which will now be brought to the FGA for students to vote on.
The motion, written by UOSU president Tim Gulliver, suggests the following formula for pay: “52 weeks * 37.5 hours * 17.50$ + a cost-of-living adjustment applied at the end of each fiscal year.” The motion also includes a 10 per cent holdback of salary which will be paid out at the end of an executive’s term, on the condition that they fulfill certain duties of the role. These duties include a comprehensive transition report as well as attendance of meetings and the completion of 80 per cent of monthly time sheets.
In an interview with the Fulcrum following the BOD meeting, Gulliver explained the math behind this proposal stating, “The salary adjustment would bring the executive salary from around $31,000 to about $34,000 on the condition executives complete several accountability goals throughout the year, like monthly reports and timesheets. This is not a drastic increase. This is a measured proposal to bring the base rate of salary to around 17 bucks an hour. And that’s without taking into account that overtime still will not be paid out.”
Gulliver went on to explain the need for this change in salary, sharing that “these jobs need to be more accessible to students, including those from low income and marginalized backgrounds. One way to ensure the best student leaders run for office is to ensure they’re getting a fair wage.”
“Student union executives across Canada and on this campus regularly work over 50 hours a week while balancing class and don’t get paid overtime,” Gulliver continued. “Given this, the current executive salary, the real executive salary is anywhere from 10 to 12 bucks an hour in real terms. I don’t think there are many people who have the privilege to be able to afford to work this much and put their mental health at risk for such a low rate of compensation.”
The motion, if adopted, would not come into effect until the beginning of the next term. As a result the sitting commissioners each elected to abstain from the vote for the BOD to adopt the motion. Gulliver, however, voted in favour of the motion after explaining that he will not be a benefactor of the increased pay as he is currently serving his second term on the Executive Committee and as such can not seek election to the executive in the upcoming general election.
While sitting executives can’t confirm their candidature in the General election at this time, they explained the choice to abstain as the fairest choice.
Motion ‘11.n: Executive Salary’ can be read in full in the meeting’s agenda.
Those planning to send a proxy to the FGA will be able to see an agenda of proposed motions for the FGA and decide ahead of the Nov. 15 meeting how they will direct their proxies to vote on their behalf.