Photo: Farnia Fekri

New RSU position could violate union agreements

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By Farnia Fekri

The authority of the Ryerson Students’ Union’s (RSU) new general manager position is being questioned even as the union makes reference-check calls to pick the best candidate.

Some of the roles outlined in the job posting overlap with the responsibilities of the current full-time staffers of the RSU, said Patrick Legay of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 1281, which represents the 13 full-time staffers.

Some of these listed functions for the full-time, permanent position that was posted in late October include:

  • Manage all financial operations and review financial statements…
  • Ensure long-term financial stability…
  • Conduct on-going business and services review…
  • Conduct labour relations, including negotiation of collective agreements…
  • Provide human resources management including direct authority over hiring, discipline and dismissal, as well as record keeping [and] recruitment…

The position specifically undermines the responsibilities of the two RSU executive directors (communications and outreach, operations and services), which are agreed to in the unionized employees’ collective agreements, Legay added.

“There is a collective agreement which says that the employer agrees — the employer the RSU — not to contract out the work of the employees covered by the collective agreement,” Legay said. “And contracting out can be a number of things, it can be shifting duties from one position to another outside of the agreement, it can be creating a whole new position which is what’s going on here.”

CUPE has voiced their concerns to the RSU, and Legay said he hopes the two groups can work through the issue amicably.

RSU president Andrea Bartlett said she has sent her response to the union, outlining that she thinks the general management’s roles are valid given that it’s a management position.

“I’m doing this so there’s a full-time staff person that’s management,” she said. “They’re there for consistency on behalf of the management. The executive directors will still report to the president [of the RSU].”

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