UVSS announces restructuring, loses management staff

Campus News

The UVSS board will be undergoing a restructuring of their excluded management structure, according to a memo released to UVSS full-time staff on June 11. There are no further plans for any other changes to the Society’s staffing model.

The UVSS board announced management changes on June 11. - Photo by the Martlet
The UVSS board announced management changes on June 11. – Photo by the Martlet

The memo states that Al Bishop will no longer hold his position as Support & Administrative Services Manager at the UVSS. There will be a new Executive Director position created to work alongside the General Manager, which is currently held by Dale Robertson.

According to the memo, which was signed by UVSS chairperson Brontё Renwick-Shields, the purpose of the restructuring is to adopt a “more traditional, widely practiced, and effective non-profit management model,” with an Executive Director taking a “political leadership role” for the UVSS. The exact nature the position, and how it will work together with the Board and General Manager is yet to be determined, but the memo states that the Board aims to have the position filled at the beginning of July.

In a statement given to the Martlet on behalf of the United Steelworkers Local 2009 union, UVSS Bargaining Unit President Darcy Lindberg said that the union wishes Bishop the best, and hopes for a smooth transition into the new management structure.

The full statement reads as follows:

The United Steelworkers’ exec at the UVSS recognizes the service that Al Bishop provided to the society over many years, both in his position as Manager of Zap and his more recent appointment as one of the organization’s excluded managers. A transition such as this one is never easy, but we wish him well in his future endeavours.

However, a restructure like this also presents a time of uncertainty for staff in general. When major decisions such as this are implemented, particularly in a sudden fashion, it is quite common for members of the workforce to worry that there might be more changes on the way. Yet while discussions with the board and the general manager are ongoing, we have confidence that the restructuring won’t affect the general business operations of the building, only the breakdown of responsibility between the two excluded managers.

Based on the information available at this early stage, we are cautiously optimistic that these changes will result in a more progressive workplace and highlight the areas of shared value between the society and the union: equity, fairness, and social justice.

Darcy Lindberg
United Steelworkers Local 2009
UVSS Bargaining Unit President

UVSS Director of Finance and Operations Tristan Ryan acknowledged the hiring timeline is short, but says the board is “looking at moving quickly.”

“At the risk of saying one thing and not being able to execute, I won’t specify what dates,” Ryan said. “But just know that we’re working really hard to have as quick a turnaround as we can responsibly have for a decision this large.” Ryan also said there are currently no candidates in consideration for the Executive Director decision, but the board was “excited to see who will apply.”

Ryan was unable to elaborate on the reasoning behind the structural changes, saying that “we feel that we explained it reasonably well in the staff letter.” Ryan continued to say that “we anticipate that once we’re able to actually show folks the proposed structure, it will — to a certain extent — speak for itself.” All discussions about the decision took place in camera during a prior board meeting, so vote numbers for any motions could not legally be disclosed to the Martlet.

When asked if there was any consultation with UVSS members regarding the restructuring, Ryan said that any decisions made on the board level “incorporated thoughts and concerns of UVSS membership,” but did not elaborate further.

“It’s kind of hard for us to explain why we’re doing this thing when folks can’t even really be brought into the fold of what exactly it’s going to look like yet,” Ryan said. He could not comment on the nature of Bishop’s removal from his position at the UVSS, but said everything will be explained “in due course.”

When contacted by the Martlet, Renwick-Shields had no comment. “The content of the memo is the extent to what I can say on this matter,” she said in an email.

Al Bishop could not be reached for comment by press time. The memo released to full-time staff has been attached.

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