Graffiti gives it to Summerlee

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

At the beginning of the week visitors to the second floor of the UC recieved a new welcome along the corridor in front of the CSA. The statements "fire the boss" and "fire summerlee" were scrawled on two walls with gold spray paint. The walls have since been repainted.

it is possible that the message was in support of Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) 1334, the University of Guelph Faculty Association (UGFA) or the Steelworkers (USW) 4120.††

CUPE 1334 is currently in negotiations on a new collective agreement with the University Admin. The UGFA is the process of dfining its membership prior to crafting its first collective agreement with the University. According to the latest bulletin, the University Admin has been arguing that this union should represent those narrowly defined as "faculty" leaving others like staff veterinarians at the Animal Health Laboratory and the Veterinary Teaching Hospital as well as department heads without the protection the UGFA would provide. Lastly the USW 4120 has been hardest hit by recent budget cuts handed down from the Board of Governors due to budget shortfalls.

CUPE 1334 could not be reached for comment and University Communications & Public Affairs did not immediately return a request for comment.

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  1. Posted by: Jammin' on Aug 15, 2007 @ 7:16pm

    I'd rather have the Steelworkers take larger cuts than those large cuts happening to my department or other departments.

  2. Posted by: Jammin' on Aug 15, 2007 @ 7:42pm

    ...call me an elitist or whatever you want but here’s what I think should happen. They should deunionize all these administrative and support positions that are represented by USW 4120 and give them to students who are more than willing to work part-time positions. The experience students would get from this would be invaluable too.

    Everyone is always asking, “Where does all my tuition go?” Well the blunt answer is it’s going to support the ever-increasing requirements of unions through collective bargaining. Don’t get me wrong; unions work great as a collective when they negotiate fairly. But from what I’ve seen and read about unions negotiating in a university they are sucking the system dry on the backs on students who work their asses off over the summer for only a ¼ of what a union worker will get paid.

  3. Posted by: on Aug 16, 2007 @ 10:14am

    Hello Everyone - I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of the CSA to denounce the spray painting that took place on our 2nd floor spaces in the University Centre this past weekend. Negative graffiti messages often have the consequence of making students and other individuals in the immediate environment uncomfortable. As the CSA continuously strives to create welcoming , inclusive spaces on campus, these acts will not be tolerated by our organization now and in the future.

  4. Posted by: on Aug 16, 2007 @ 10:29am

    Well I appreciate that of the CSA, it's a far cry from the previous previous CSA government of "lets take a piss on the Presidents Lexus".

  5. Posted by: Haywood on Aug 16, 2007 @ 11:10am


    There are several problems with your suggestions.

    First, these positions are needed to keep the university functioning. If these jobs are handed over to students from permanent staff there is no guarantee that all the positions will be filled. If jobs remain empty the university will not function properly.

    Second, if they are handed over to students, there will be high turnover from year to year. That means that a new person will have to be trained each year. This again would grind the university into inefficiency, even more than already.

    Also, your assertion that tuition goes to fund ever-increasing requirements of unions is far off base. One should consider that although President Summerlee has taken the seemingly selfless step of canceling pay raises for himself he still receives almost $250,000 in pay and benefits each year just as an example.

    Lastly, your statement that you'd "rather have the Steelworkers take larger cuts than those large cuts happening to my department or other departments" does not make sense. You see, the USW 4120 represents administrative, clerical and agricultural workers in most departments and colleges of this university.

  6. Posted by: Haywood on Aug 16, 2007 @ 11:13am

    To Meaghan;
    Your comments are also deeply disturbing. You are an executive member of a union. Your job is to represent the students and protect them from the administration. That is the whole point of a union, collective organization to protect those with numbers but without individual power from those in a position of power. Rather than denouncing the statement made in graffiti you should be recognizing it as spontaneous expression on behalf of those with little individual power. If anything, you should be suggesting that in the future such statements be painted onto the "graffiti" walls near the CSA so as that it will not create extra work for painters and so that the statement can remain. The workers of guelph and students are not in opposition, they are allies. Workers and students want the same things: fairness, low tuition, a clean and safe campus.

    As for specifically targeting President Summerlee, Although he does not make every decision he does set the tone and is a much more recognizable figure for the purpose of getting a point across.

  7. Posted by: Jonathon on Aug 16, 2007 @ 11:15am


    Considering his position why exactly is Mr. Summerlee undersrving of his current pay?

  8. Posted by: Haywood on Aug 16, 2007 @ 12:02pm

    When cuts are being made, when people are losing their jobs, when pensions are not enough for people to live on... perhaps the cuts should start with those that can afford a cut.

  9. Posted by: Jammin' on Aug 16, 2007 @ 12:08pm

    Ooooh Haywood.

    I whole heartily don’t agree with you. If the positions can’t be handed over to students than at least handed over to people who are paid a competitive salary and given competitive benefits with the rest of this economy. I think all positions should be looked at closely to determine which ones could be filled by students, despite training and year-to-year turnover costs. And don’t try to tell me these are highly specialized positions that need someone who’s not a student. Although the following comment is a bit generalized and I’m sure no doubt will piss you off, but if these positions were so specialized than they wouldn’t need the overarching support of a union.

    And Summerlee’s salary, wasn’t this an argument made against him a few years ago? First of all, what he gets is below a competitive salary for someone in an equivalent position in the private sector. Someone with his responsibility and power would be paid $100,000’s more! Summerlee is worth every dime. Or we could have Joe Blow run the university into the ground, but we’d only have to pay him say $70,000.

    And yes, I would rather see USW4120 receive the cuts. I’d take a qualified professor over an overpaid receptionist.

  10. Posted by: Jammin' on Aug 16, 2007 @ 12:09pm

    Honestly, why do hippies/lefties get so mad at people who have worked hard to receive an extraordinary education (like Summerlee), work longer hours, and have more responsibility than most people and are compensated accordingly?

  11. Posted by: Jammin' on Aug 16, 2007 @ 12:12pm

    I don’t recall reading anywhere on the CSA website that the student union’s responsibility is to protect us from the university administration. You make it out like the university is out to get students. Reality check, they wouldn’t be university administration if they weren’t interested in students.

    The group students should be protected from are the unions. It’s the unions who act in self-interest and would be fine to receive a massive pay increase despite it being obviously correlated with a rise in tuition.

  12. Posted by: Haywood on Aug 16, 2007 @ 12:24pm


    Let's ignore the ideas of turnover and training. If students are in class during the day how are they supposed to work during the day? These positions are not positions that can be covered by shifts as if it were the brass taps or no frills. The positions require someone to be there consistently.

    To sum up, Jammin', you obviously believe that Summerlee's position is more important than all of the workers that actually make the university operate. It is important to have a effective administrator in the position of President. However, when Summerlee is on holiday, the University continues to operate. If all the "overpaid receptionists" and the other workers were gone for a day, the University would grind to a halt. I would like to continue this delightful back and forth, but I do have to get ready for work.

  13. Posted by: Jammin' on Aug 16, 2007 @ 12:36pm

    Interesting argument, but there's one flaw. Your comments that Summerlee can take time off and the university can still operate but "other workers" taking time off would grind the university to a halt seems a bit misled. An individual worker could take time off and the university would continue. You've made your argument assuming Summerlee equates the entire working population of the university. While I see the guy on a bit of a pedestal, I don't hold him as high as you do.

    However, if the entire university administration were to take vacation, I can assure you the university would see huge problems.

    I'm still interested in your comments about the CSA condoning vandalism on campus with graffiti.

  14. Posted by: Jonathon on Aug 16, 2007 @ 1:33pm

    I still want to know why Summerlee is paid too much. From equal positions elsewhere it should be a lot more.

    I love how in our society you're told that you can do anything and you should peruse your dreams but if you actually make it there you're suddenly a bad person and need to take pay cuts, extra taxes, etc.

    Double standards are fun.

  15. Posted by: Frank on Aug 16, 2007 @ 1:50pm

    I'm not intending to take any sort of side here, just playing devil's advocate, but if there are cuts taking place through out the university, shouldn't those cuts take place every where? I think it's an incredible gesture that President Alastair Summerlee is not taking pay increases but he's also not taking a cut while other departments or whatever are not only not getting increases but also taking cuts. Just a thought.

  16. Posted by: Jammin on Aug 16, 2007 @ 2:34pm

    Fair argument, Frank. But look at the cuts happening to departments, the cuts are not being reflected in the salaries and wages paid to workers. Instead, while the university administration and the president are not taking a pay increase (according to what you stated) we have unions at the table arguing for more of this and that..particulary pensions and benefits. Cuts are coming from our quality of education by less resources and upgrades. If unions on this campus cared truly as much as they claim to about the quality of education, let's see them for once do something tangible about that.

    Jonathan, your last comment, I couldn't have said it better myself!

  17. Posted by: Jo on Aug 17, 2007 @ 9:51am

    I don't understand how you right-wing nut jobs can put these rants down on a website and think that they sound rational.

    I don't identify as right or left, but I can say that reading these arguments Hayworth is definitely the most logical/rational one and then everyone else's are "ooohhhh, looook, out of your entire argument of reason i found a flaw! Rant, rant, rant, I hate hippies." You sound like a prejudiced person who doesn't even consider the arguments, you just decide based on right-wing rage and prejudice. Do you read your postings after you put them up? Do you know how based on not the real world they are?

  18. Posted by: Tim on Aug 17, 2007 @ 10:03am

    Last year, President Summerlee proposed a budget deficit of $19.7 million. For students this meant increases in tuition and cuts to our departments snd the quality of education. For workers this meant job losses. Both suffered because someone couldn't balance the books. So why wouldn't we band together to represent our respective groups? The CSA most definitely should be fighting for students and should be calling on the person who made the deficit problem to fix it... or they should be proposing a new solution themselves.

    However students could not do that this year because the administration moved the budget decision meeting to a time when students wouldn't be on campus. I also noticed that President Summerlee's contract was renewed right before he announced this huge deficit that negatively affects everyone.

  19. Posted by: Jammin' on Aug 17, 2007 @ 10:15am

    What is your opinion then, Jo? You find it easy to shut us down without actually saying anything yourself. And let me know specifically what is incorrect about anything I said? Truthfully, if you can somehow disprove me I will be astonished. By all means give it a shot though…At least I showed the confidence to post a tangible opinion.

    And be careful before you make a judgment and say that I lean to the right, it might be your perception because I think logically and do my research on topics before I post.

  20. Posted by: Jonathon on Aug 17, 2007 @ 11:30am

    What would you people do about the budget short falls? All I here is people wining about how a $20 million deficit is unacceptable. How about throwing out some ideas or shutting up?

    So far all I've heard from students and student groups is what we "can't" do about it:
    -Can't cut saleries (unless you're Mr. Summerlee, aparently he should work for free)
    -can't raise tuition
    -can't raise other fees
    -can't raise the cost of food/books/supplies/residence
    -can't cut department funding

    If you want the deficit to go away then you need to either make $20 million in cuts or generate $20 million in revenue, this is fairly simple math.

    I don't like paying tuition but I also don't like being told that I have to use defective lab equipment because the department can't afford more. I don't like being told there isn't enough money for more TAs, etc. Money's got to come from somewhere.

    You people bitch and moan about not being able to ballance the books, you think working out your personal budget is anything like budgeting for a university?

  21. Posted by: Jammin' on Aug 17, 2007 @ 12:17pm

    Honestly Tim do you think Summerlee proposed a deficit budget of almost $20 million because he woke up one morning and felt like it? You know what? I would be pissed if this $20 million deficit he proposed was going to thing like private jets, his own office upgrades, and salary hikes for himself and his VP’s

    Did you even once read the proposed CSA “alternative” university budget from a few years ago before you said we should “band” together like some kind of peasant uprising? Well, the alternative budget was a bunch of bull, it just proposed we run up a huge deficit and cut the salaries of the administration. Probably a good reason why activists aren’t accountants!

  22. Posted by: Steve on Aug 17, 2007 @ 3:24pm

    I approve of Jammin's comment. You should only have the right to bitch if you can come up with a better budget yourselves. I'm willing to bet you can't.

  23. Posted by: Steve on Aug 17, 2007 @ 3:25pm

    They really need to fix that double posting issue. Inadvertantly hitting refresh shouldn't cause your message to be spammed

  24. Posted by: skeptical steve on Aug 18, 2007 @ 12:55am

    I think some of you folks put a bit too much faith in those in power. To wit, Jammin's quote stating that its a good thing that "activists" aren't the one's in charge of the U of G's budget. Given Summerlee's track record - I believe he's run up more than $40 million in deficits during his tenure - we may actually be better off hearing what the activists have to say.

    While Summerlee may be particularly well educated, I would think it would be more prudent to pay the man what he's worth. Given his performance - frequent deficits, labour unrest, and the drop in the (admittedly suspect) Maclean's poll - he doesn't seem to be worth the price tag.

  25. Posted by: skeptical steve on Aug 18, 2007 @ 12:59am

    Secondly, I think some folks have to re-think some of their ideas. Give all the full-time jobs at the U of G to students? Are you serious? As a previous poster had stated, these aren't the kind of jobs that can simply be divided up and farmed out to undergrads. Not to mention the fact that many of the jobs within the Steelworker's bargaining unit - lab technicians for example - require a university education.

    Another point I don't understand. Summerlee has three degrees and deserves every penny he gets (all $250,000 +). Yet a lab tech, who has clearly been slacking off and only has one degree, is greedy for asking for a solid middle class salary of $50,000 and a pension? Give me a break.

  26. Posted by: John L on Aug 18, 2007 @ 6:02pm

    Most of the members of USWA4120 earn about $40,000 a year plus benefits, hardly a bunch of fat cats, folks. Just exactly how much should we ask them to cut in order to earn a decent living? There's no harm in doing a little research on the issues before tossing out opinions. On Summerlee how much overpaid is he he in comparison to other University Preidents? Has anyone made any effort whatsoever to look at the issue?

  27. Posted by: Jonathon on Aug 18, 2007 @ 8:54pm

    So... making $40,000/year justifies defacing the university how? Sorry, you guys do stuff like this and you loose any support you would have got from me. You're past bargaining and into extortion at that point.

    And no one has said exactly why Mr. Summerlee is over paid yet.

  28. Posted by: skeptical steve on Aug 18, 2007 @ 11:02pm

    Wait, wait, wait... So now it was a Steelworker who defaced the University? Where's the proof (in the article or otherwise) And spray painting on a wall is akin to extortion? I'm confused, because those are some huge leaps in logic.

    Generally speaking - who the hell knows who did it? My bet is that U of G technicians and staff have better things to do than run around on the 2nd floor of the UC with a can of spray paint.

  29. Posted by: skeptical steve on Aug 18, 2007 @ 11:02pm

    As for the overpaid thing - I believe that when compared to other University Presidents, Summerlee is right around the middle to bottom of the pay scale. I would argue that is the wrong comparator though. We should be looking at his performance (which has been abysmal) and what every one else at the U of G is being paid (whether it's the way the world "works" or not, I think its ridiculous that Summerlee gets paid more than 6 times what some U of G workers get).

  30. Posted by: Jammin' on Aug 20, 2007 @ 9:38am

    So far the only solution I’ve heard is to debate Summerlee’s salary so we can cut it. Even if we cut it $100,000 this ain’t going to solve the problem. Let’s look at real solutions…

    How about this one, the Liberals just announced a $2.3 billion budget surplus for Ontario. Instead of protesting the president’s office and anyone else that has “power” on this campus, why don’t we work with them and lobby the Ontario government to increase post-secondary education funding. Actually, progress was made on this last year with a resolution being passed at Senate and Board of Governors to work together to lobby the government. So, those who proposed the best way to solve a budget crisis is fight the administration you’re stuck in the past…this isn’t the way things are done anymore. If anything, it will be counter-productive to collaborate efforts.

  31. Posted by: Alex on Aug 21, 2007 @ 8:42pm

    This looks like it's just going in circles and you're pointing fingers again at the admistration Haywood. Why don't you go and protest another KFC or chicken farm and leave the people who want to solve real problems with real solutions alone!

  32. Posted by: Haer on Aug 23, 2007 @ 12:53am

    I was reading this article as a new student entering the university...seems like things are quite a bit more intricate than I could imagine. I guess I just wasn't thinking that there's so much going on...so I think I'll be reading these articles quite a bit now.

    However, Jonathan, I noticed that you pointed out the fact "over paid" and "right around the middle to bottom of the pay scale." To be fair, one can be over paid based on their quality of work, even if they're not getting as large a salary as others in the same position and profession.

    bye guys!

  33. Posted by: Jammin' on Aug 23, 2007 @ 2:48pm

    Keep in mind Haer that President Summerlee is under severe scrutiny in his position and his “quality of work” cannot be evaluated as easily as a normal worker.

    I do know he went under an evaluation recently and had his contract extended.

    So, those out there who complain about him to no ends, I guess you missed your chance to make your complaints legitimate.

  34. Posted by: on Aug 23, 2007 @ 9:47pm

    Well I'm just happy that a first year (t be at least) is taking an interest in Guelph beyond that of rez, trappers, the ranch, and going to class.

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