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Questions for Town Hall Meetings

Dear UWOSA members

As you know, President Chakma will be conducting a series of town hall meetings across the campus with staff, faculty and students. He has promised to engage us and to listen to our concerns.

In preparing for these town hall meetings we thought it would be helpful to present to you some of the information that came forth during our recent survey. There are so many topics that were brought to light through your responses, however, some common threads did emerge. Hopefully this list of sample questions will get you thinking about what topics concern you and help formulate questions to ask Dr. Chakma when you meet with him. We would also invite you to share what you learn at these meetings with the UWOSA Executive Team, so that we can move forward with as much information as possible.

Budget-Related
- In our department, budget cutbacks have meant that we are now ___ [rationing chalk to professors, only having garbage emptied once every two weeks, no longer having annual team-building events, using office chairs that are falling apart, still saving items to floppy disks, have had to give up our lunch room to make way for more graduate student offices, have no blinds or curtains for windows, have not had the windows cleaned or walls painted in over five years] ___. Will that change in the future? What can you do to initiate this change?
- [Undergraduate] enrollment in our department has increased by [300] students in the last [three] years and yet no additional people have been hired to assist with their needs. Why was there no talk of hiring increased staff when there was talk about enrolling more students?
- The upgrades to equipment in our area have been near non-existent. Do you have any plans to provide additional financial support to our area for ___ [upgrading computers, printers, photocopiers, office supplies] ___

Pay-related
- I have worked at Western for __[10]__ years. During that time, inflation has gone up significantly more than the pay raises we get from year-to-year; my rent increase is more each year than my pay increase; the money that I earn can no longer go as far as it used to. What are your long-term plans with respect to salary increases for Western’s front-line staff?
- We understand that there have been on-going pay equity negotiations for several years now. What is your understanding of the delays in resolving equal pay for the equal work done by both women and men?

Work Load & Morale
- In my area, I have noticed an increase in the stress levels due to many factors, one of which was a series of layoffs in 2009. On top of the layoffs, we have also had people retire whose positions have not been filled. Every person I can think of is doing considerably more work than they were doing in 2009 and it feels as though we are working on a skeleton staff. Are there plans to bring staffing levels back up to an adequate level where we can provide support to our area without feeling burnt out at the end of the day?
- The increased workload and decreased budget in my area has resulted in a large decrease in morale and an increase in stress. What ideas and plans do you have to work towards an increased morale for workers?
- I understand that under your leadership, we have achieved one of the highest student retention rates and graduation rates in Canada, as well as a 94% employment rate within two-years after graduation, however, it is not my understanding that the same can be said for faculty and staff. What plans do you have to make Western a better place to work?
- I feel as though I can relate a bit better to you after the events of the last few weeks. You’ve had the opportunity to experience what it is like to live in a fear that you may lose your job. For reasons beyond my control, I have experienced the same feelings for the last __ [six] ___ years. This really weighs on people and I am wondering if you have plans to address this reason for low morale in many workers here at Western.
- We spent a lot of time a couple of months ago completing the We Speak survey. What follow up has their been or will their be from your office about the concerns those results raised?