St Clair College - Faculty Union
Pre-Bargaining & Part time Faculty unionization - (Posted 10-31-16)
On October 21,22 & 23, the CAAT-A division held a pre-bargaining meeting in Toronto.
For new Faculty, the CAAT division is one division of many Divisions that belong to OPSEU. (Ex: OPS, Liquor Board, health care…etc). Delegates from 24 Colleges are elected to attend the CAAT-Academic divisional meeting in Toronto. CAAT – Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology.
On Friday, a special meeting was called to discuss the campaign to unionize part time Faculty. There was a brief discussion about the current campaign by the CAAT support staff union to unionize part time support staff workers. OPSEU members and Smokey feel that although that the votes are being held up by the employer at the Ontario Labour Relations Board (until a judicial review is complete), that the campaign will be successful. OPSEU representatives explained how part time members could be organized. One option is to have a composite local which means that they would be (in our case) part of local 138. They would have a separate collective agreement and still be part of Local 138. Ultimately it will be up to each local to determine if they want to accept a composite local - or will part timers have to form their own local.
The campaign has started effective October 31. Assistance from full time members to convince part timers to sign up would be helpful. OPSEU organizers stated that part timers will include all part time faculty positions and continuing education.
On Saturday and Sunday, the pre-bargaining meeting was held. Smokey spoke at the meeting and said that he is willing to work with the CAAT group to improve the relationship as there was a rift between the CAAT division and OPSEU regarding how CAAT members were treated when they spoke out against bullying and harassment at OPSEU’s head office last year.
A presentation was made by Craig Ashbourne on the campaign “We own it”. OPSEU plans to step up its campaign to stop the creeping privatization. OPSEU has engaged 28 organizers to work around the Province to bring this issue to the public’s attention.
David Robinson from CAUT (Canadian Association of University Teachers) spoke about Faculty – employer relationships and bargaining across the country. One interesting point he brought forward was that a strike was held at the University of Manitoba over Faculty evaluation metrics. He stated that austerity in regards to wage increases is still being applied and is being held at 1-1.5% annually. Some collective agreements are adding more steps which he feels is only rewarding those at the top of the pay scale. He went on to say that in some Universities that Faculty are receiving monies for retaining students. CAUT can be read on line if you would like more details of what this organization is doing. See: https://www.caut.ca/
As the result of a motion at the June DiVex meeting, a document on a Bargaining Advisory Committee was presented. The purpose of the bargaining advisory committee will be to provide confidential advice and insight to the elected bargaining team as needed and requested by the team. The team will be comprised of full time members and partial load members. The question was asked how partial load members could be part of the advisory committee as there contracts usually end by the end of a semester. It was noted that partial load members are union members for (1) year. More information will be provided on the team and its functions as we get closer to the bargaining process.
Reports from various Provincial committees were provided.
The Bargaining Team:
Nominations for the bargaining team took place on Saturday. On Sunday, nominees gave a 5 minute speech as to why they would be a suitable candidate for the bargaining team. The following were elected to the team:
JP Hornick, Kevin Mackay, Nicole Zwiers, Ravi Ramkissoonsingh, Darryl Bedford, Shawn Pentecost and Mona Chevalier who is a counsellor. Alternates: Ed Tolvonen and Pam Johnson.
As time was tight, the Faculty Chair for the team was not determined by the group at the meeting.
Another important item that was motioned and supported was that the bargaining team have a lawyer at the bargaining table at all times. In the past, our bargaining team had access to an OPSEU lawyer, however not at the table during the face to face process. Management has Hicks - Morley at the table at all times.
Delegates are hopeful that the team will be successful in bargaining and that the business of bargaining will be conducted in a transparent and informative way to all members.
Staffing / Stability Concerns- (Posted 5/17/16)
The College has suspended several programs for the ‘16-‘17 academic year. The suspension of programs is not a new concept as the College has had numerous suspensions in the past. There have been some rumors regarding the potential of lay-offs. Lay-offs have not been discussed by management at this time and actually administration has communicated to us that a balanced budget was recently approved by the Board of Governors. This balanced budget does include reductions to all part time staff (administration, support and faculty). Administration feels the budget is conservative and is based on 7700 domestic students to minimize financial risk to the institution or having to make further cuts at mid-year. There are a large number of part time positions that would have to be absorbed by full time faculty before there would be any lay-offs. There may be a slight possibility of some stability issues, which is the process of re-assigning someone to teach in a different program.
Management indicated that they will be looking at efficiencies - some faculty could see their section sizes increase. As well, they are looking to increase the number of foreign students.
On a positive note, at our recent UCC (Union College Committee) meeting, the College committed to hire 16 faculty positions for September 2016. Some of the positions are replacements for past and upcoming retirees – others are new positions. There are (6) outstanding positions that continue to be addressed at our regular UCC meetings.
Bullying and Harassment Concerns- (Posted 2/3/16)
There have been some concerns in the past with students who have allegedly violated college policies including bullying and harassment towards Faculty. When the behavior of a student is threatening, Faculty should ask the student to leave. If the Student refuses to leave, Faculty are encouraged to call security. This procedure applies in the classroom as well in the College at large. Faculty should and are in fact encouraged by the Union and the College to report the incident to their Chair who will discuss appropriate action. In the event that Faculty do not receive satisfactory action by the Chair, Faculty are entitled to file a formal complaint through the Campus Hearing Officer located in HR - currently Beth Pirouet. The policies for the complaint process are "Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities" (matters with students) and the "Respectful Work and Educational Place Policy" (matters with staff). Faculty should notify their Steward (Local) of any incidents whereby student behaviour is perceived to be threatening. Do not assume by filing a complaint with the Chair or Campus Hearing Officer that the Local will be aware of the concern. Your Local is willing to support you and defend your position, however they must be aware of the concern. While the College has specific policies to address matters of concern regarding threatening behaviour and these policies are encouraged, note that under Ontario's Health and Occupation Safety act, workers have the right to refuse work if they have a reason to believe they are in danger from workplace violence.
Coordinators Interviewing Part Time Staff Hires - (Posted 10/19/15)
Coordinators play an important part in regards to the success of programs. However, their function is limited to those responsibilities that are academic in nature. Therefore, coordinators are not responsible to interview potential hires. That role is clearly defined in the collective agreement under Management functions article 6.01 ii - whereby the exclusive function of the College is to:
hire, discharge, transfer, classify, assign, appoint, promote, demote, lay off, recall and suspend or otherwise discipline employees subject to the right to lodge a grievance in the manner and to the extent provided in this Agreement;
FAQ's SWF - Workload - (Posted 10/19/15)
To help members better understand the workload article in the collective agreement, a list of FAQ's have been provided as a quick reference along with their corresponding article numbers. Select the following link (FAQ's - Workload) for FAQ's regarding SWF's - Workload.
For future reference, the workload FAQ's are posted under the drop down menu - LOCAL 138 - Workload (CWMG)
SWF Changes after the (6) week prep period - (2/24/15)
At our last LEC meeting held on Feb 17th, a concern was raised by a number of Stewards as to why Faculty who receive new assignments after the (6) week notice are not requesting prep time. The collective agreement allows a SWF to be changed at any time. (Article: 11.02 A1 (b) )
"The College may, where a change in circumstances requires it, amend assignments provided to a teacher after the original assignment, subject to the teacher's right to refer any matter to the College Workload Monitoring Group (WMG) referred to in 11.02 B 1 and if necessary, the Workload Resolution Arbitrator (WRA) referred to in 11.02 E 1 and appointed under 11.02 F 1."
The contract language does not specify that compensation will be given after the (6) week prep period, however it provides for the option to challenge new assignments. Members are encouraged to request the prep time from their Chair when a SWF is changed after the (6) week notice which is given prior to the teaching period.
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