Bylaw change includes consultation with part-time staff, yearly review of wages
In a tense meeting of members, bylaws that would have seen the Student Association’s (SA) part-time staff make $17.50 in January were removed, but not without a concession.
The SA funds The Dialog.
Part-time staff will make a $15 minimum wage in January, as the board of directors originally proposed, but the wage will be reviewed yearly in consultation with part-time staff.
Before the meeting the bylaws stated that the SA would pay part-time staff 125 per cent of Ontario’s minimum wage.
Gerard Hayes, George Brown College’s director of student experience said that jobs that the college agreed to fund for the SA. such as the SafeWalk and TTC Metropass sales programs, would be in jeopardy if the bylaws weren’t changed.
“We have now budgeted until April 1, so if you change now for January we already don’t have the money to do it,” he said. “So we would be cutting out jobs.”
The consultation amendment was moved by Madison Stoner, a part-time staff with the SA and a student in the assaulted women’s and children’s counsellor/advocate program.
“We as part-time staff felt that we weren’t included in the discussion, so I think that needs to be part of the amendment so it’s not an issue that comes up again,” she said at the meeting on Sept. 27.
Ashley Cammisa, satellite campuses director at the SA, spoke against consulting with part-time staff, and said that bringing over 100 staff together to talk about a budget would be very difficult.
“We elected to the board of directors so that we can make decisions like that,” said Cammisa. “I feel that there’s a bit of a lack of trust when it comes to us making decisions.”
Elizabeth Orbe, a part-time staff with the SA, agreed with Cammisa on this last point.
“Yes, you are correct, there’s no real trust with the board, there isn’t,” she said.
While the meeting had tense moments, Riddhi Modi, the SA’s director of communications and internal thought the outcome of having consultations with part-time staff on their wages was positive.
“Their voices will be really helpful, really appreciated, so that we also know the other side of the story,” said Modi.
Tiffany White, the SA’s director of education, agreed.
“There’s really no harm, it only benefits the organization further,” she said. “So, it was nice to have that discussion today.”
The SA’s next general meeting is scheduled for this fall.