On March 2nd, PSUO-SSUO Executive Committee submitted its feedback in response to the Public consultation on the University of Ottawa Executive Compensation Program. The letter is below:
In response to the University’s proposed combined salary increase of over $150,000 for its senior executives, PSUO-SSUO, on behalf of over 1,300 support staff members we represent, would like to state it is vehemently opposed to the proposals in the program.
We find it unacceptable that the University is proposing a increase in salary for its executive members at this time, when an internal policy of fiscal restraint has been put in place throughout all sectors of the University. Why is the Executive exempt from this policy?
The University’s proposal to increase the salary of 5 executive positions by over $150,000 is insulting to staff who have been suffering under increased workload and stress due to a hiring freeze. This hiring freeze is a direct result of decisions by upper management. It is completely inappropriate to financially reward the architects of this situation. Since December of 2016, every replacement of vacant job or long term absence needs to be validated centrally which results in delays in ensuring proper staffing levels of academic units. Faculties and services are ultimately meeting imposed budgetary cuts by not filling vacant positions, which is short sighted and a terrible managerial practice. To suggest large increases to executive compensation is required to remain competitive while staffing levels remain at an all-time low is shameful and will further degrade the low staff morale.
In the University’s strategic plan Destination 2020 , it identifies “student experience” as its first goal. It is indefensible to suggest increasing executive salaries by tens of thousands of dollars will in any way meet this goal. Repeated university surveys have highlighted low student satisfaction due to understaffed and under-resourced academic units. More recently, uOttawa ranked last in “student satisfaction” by Maclean’s University Rankings.
In fact, students themselves have highlighted their dissatisfaction in a recent student newspaper article and suggested the solution is to simply “increase staffing in academic offices." The salary increases proposed for these executives could equal over 3 full-time front line academic staff which would actually address the quality of the student experience on campus and go towards achieving the Destination 2020 goal.
One of the reasons for increasing compensation indicated in the proposal is the challenge when hiring bilingual executives. A high level of bilingualism is required for all PSUO-SSUO staff positions yet our compensation program does not take that into consideration. Do we not merit an increase in salary as well for this requirement?
The university community is told time and time again there is a "structural budgetary deficit" and if that is true, then these executive compensation increases are completely contrary to this and an offence to our members. The cognitive dissonance between these two management beliefs is shockingly absurd. Low staff confidence in the University’s “Management and Leadership” was highlighted as a top priority in the 2017 Work Climate Survey. If the 5 University executives want to demonstrate leadership they can start refusing this compensation review and voluntary reduce their salary in solidarity with support staff members who are told time and time again, “to do more with less.”
The PSUO-SSUO Executive Committee