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UTSU Executive Committee to reverse decision to allow overtime pay

Union hesitant to change pay structure following consultations
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NATHAN CHAN/THE VARSITY
NATHAN CHAN/THE VARSITY

The University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) Executive Committee has announced that it will repeal a recently passed amendment that gave executives the ability to receive overtime pay.

The amendments to the executive remuneration policy were passed at the committee’s meeting on August 19. The change reads, “any additional hours worked shall be compensated at the same hourly honorarium,” without providing an upper limit on hours.

However, the committee later decided to overturn the change. “After consultations with our Board of Directors and our membership, we have come to the conclusion that there are far better and more effective ways to achieve our goals,” wrote UTSU President Joshua Bowman in an email to The Varsity.

Explaining the context to the amendment, Bowman wrote: “We want to empower individuals who decide to get involved with the UTSU with the opportunity to make tangible and meaningful change.” According to Bowman, the Executive Committee will repeal the amendment that expanded executive member overtime pay at their next meeting.

Bowman remains optimistic about future pay policies, and stated that the UTSU will continue to ensure the well-being of their staff members. In order to achieve this, a Time Keeping Management Policy is planned to be approved at the next Board of Directors meeting on September 22.

The intended goal for both the overtime pay amendment and the new timekeeping policy is not only for transparency in executive pay, but also to properly compensate executives for their work, wrote Bowman.

The Hudson lawsuit

The proposed policy change comes four years after the UTSU was involved in a legal battle with former staff and executives regarding overtime pay.

Former Executive Director Sandra Hudson, along with former President Yolen Bollo-Kamara and former Vice-President, Services, Cameron Wathey, were all accused of committing civil fraud after Hudson was terminated by Bollo-Kamara and given a compensation package totaling to $277,726.

Of this amount, $29,782.22 was given as a payment for the alleged overtime hours she worked. However, records for additional hours worked could not be found, and according to the UTSU, Hudson’s termination had no legal grounds, as she only ever had positive reviews from her employers.

Bollo-Kamara and Wathey settled with the union separately in 2016, while Hudson continued the legal battle until the lawsuit was settled in October 2017. Hudson agreed to pay a portion of the money back, and accusations of fraud and theft were not proven. It was later revealed that Hudson had filed a claim for damages alleging that former UTSU President Mathias Memmel broke a mediation agreement after he discussed the details of the lawsuit during an April 2016 Board of Directors meeting.

Editor’s Note (September 16, 2:04 pm): Article was amended to reflect that assistant vice-presidents would not have received overtime pay under the repealed policy.

Clarification (September 19, 12:04 am): According to the Government of Ontario, “overtime pay” is a general term that encompasses multiple forms of compensation. While under Ontario law overtime pay must be allocated at time and a half, it is not the only possibility that exists. The article defines overtime pay according to the UTSU’s meeting minutes as “any additional hours worked shall be compensated at the same hourly honorarium.”