Official Website for OPSEU Local 415

Spring SWF Workshops and Info

Does a SWF workshop sound interesting to you? Your Local is offering three SWF Workshops between March 8-12. If this is something that interests you, keep reading.

You may already have started Spring 2021 SWF talks with your manager. That’s fine. In most cases, your SWF should be discussed and presented to you by Friday, March 26 (CA, 11.02 A1(a), p. 17).

Follow this link to a “Know your SWF” flyer to highlight key points. Maybe, you would like to understand the SWF process better though. If so, consider signing up for one of the spring SWF Workshops being offered by your Local. Workshops will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis and capped at 10 attendees. These are the options:

  • 7 pm – Monday, March 8
  • 10 am – Tuesday, March 9
  • 1 pm – Friday, March 12

Please send an e-mail to COMMS@locallines.org indicating your preferred workshop date and time.

In solidarity,

Your Local 415 Workload Monitoring Group
Judy Puritt
Annette Bouzi
Enrico DeFrancesco
Scott Fewer

Health and Safety Reminder

Please be advised that the College Coronavirus Information site has the most updated information for employees. The site includes guidelines for employees and students, FAQs, COVID-19 safety training, as well as the Self-Screening App (must be completed before to go on campus). 

If you do not feel that your work conditions are safe, contact your Chair immediately with your concerns. Since documentation is essential for anything related to health and safety, you are strongly encouraged to do so in writing and keep copies of all communications when notifying your Chair about any illness/injury or safety concerns. You are also encouraged to fill out this OPSEU questionnaire if you believe or know that you have been exposed to COVID-19 (whether working on-campus or remotely), in addition to reporting to the college.

As your Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee (JOHSC) representatives, please contact us at wymanl@algonquincollege.com and lamarcj1@algonquincollege.com with any questions or concerns about health and safety or regarding information you are receiving within the department. Messages submitted through COMMS@locallines.org will also be forwarded to us.


Stay safe,

Leslie Wyman and JP Lamarche
JOHSC Representatives
Woodroffe Campus

FOR IMMEDIATE DISTRIBUTION: Bargaining Update Feb. 22’21

Dear Members,

On February 16th, OPSEU received an offer from the College Employer Council regarding the Collective Agreement negotiations for both our own CAAT-A bargaining unit and the CAAT-Support-Part Time bargaining unit.  That offer would see the Collective Agreements of both units extended by an additional two years, with 1% annual increases of salary/wages.  The offer proposes no other improvements to the current Collective Agreement.

This offer fails to address current and critical needs, its timing is highly unusual and premature, and it is an attempt to circumvent our established democratic process.

Our current Collective Agreement expires after September 30, and the legislation that governs our collective bargaining specifies that this process would commence with either side providing notice to bargain on July 2, 2021 at the earliest.

Despite the untimeliness of the Employer’s offer, your bargaining team consulted the Local Presidents from each of the 24 Colleges, as well as our Bargaining Advisory Committee (consisting of both Full-Time and Partial-Load faculty from around the province) before responding to it.  The message that was communicated in those consultations was clear: Transparent communication with the membership is vital.

We are therefore grateful for this opportunity to communicate the reasons why we as an elected bargaining team cannot entertain the Employer’s offer at this time.

The first reason concerns its failure to address current, critical needs:  The urgency of this moment in Ontario’s Colleges requires that both Union and Employer sit down at the appropriate time to have a productive and much-needed discussion about the immediate workplace needs that are dictated by the massive shift to online teaching, and by our students’ changing needs.

These needs – as articulated by our members thus far – include the need for workload measurements that ensure the quality of online teaching and learning, the need for students to have adequate access to counsellors, the need for intellectual property language that promotes faculty innovation and excellence, the need for faculty to have meaningful say in academic decisions, and the need for the equitable treatment of all faculty, including both contract faculty and marginalized groups.

The Employer’s current offer addresses none of those things: It is designed explicitly to prevent those matters from being discussed at the bargaining table.  It is designed to maintain for another two years a status quo that features the ever-growing exploitation of contract faculty, an outdated workload measurement system that fails to account for the true work associated with performing our work online, and the imminent threat of outsourcing in the face of digitization, privatization, and new funding formulas. 

By contrast, the bargaining team looks forward to promoting needed updates to our working conditions that will enhance the stability of the system and improve the student learning experience.  Our members deserve to have their demands – many of which can be implemented at no cost to the Employer – heard with the respect that is owed to the people who are actually performing the mission of Ontario’s Colleges.

We believe that Ontario’s economic recovery depends upon a healthy College system, and a healthy College system depends upon making the changes necessary to promote sustainability for the next 50 years.

The second reason concerns timing: We are still in the process of consulting faculty about the changes in your working conditions, through the Local Demand-Setting meetings.  Faculty (including full-time and partial-load professors and instructors, counsellors and librarians) from approximately 17 Colleges have already met to discuss what they and their students need from the next collective agreement.  Faculty from 7 Colleges have yet to have that opportunity to establish and prioritize their Local demands for the upcoming round of bargaining. 

The Local demand-setting meetings thus far have featured record-setting attendance, fruitful and engaged discussion, and sensitivity to the challenges that the pandemic presents to both our teaching and bargaining environments. 

There is a pre-bargaining process for our division that includes a final demand-setting meeting.  Delegates from all 24 Locals arrive at a final set of demands from the list of local demands that reflect the needs of all members provincewide, and then task the elected bargaining team with negotiating those demands.  The offer presented by the Employer seeks to short-circuit that process of representative democracy.

The third reason we cannot entertain this offer is that it would be simply premature to do so.  This represents the Employer’s first offer, not their best or final offer.  This is a first pitch, and a wild pitch, at that.  It would be foolish for us as a bargaining unit to let it distract us from our own project of compiling Local demands and building Local solidarity, as we seek to build upon the profound gains that we achieved in the last round of bargaining.

Remember that the Employer has the right to force a membership vote on an offer once during the process of negotiations.  They have done this twice in the past.  While they may choose to force a vote on this particular offer during the appropriate time for bargaining, we do not believe that they will do so, since it fails to respond to the needs of the moment and the demands that our members and our students are plainly communicating.

We look forward to continuing to hear from all faculty through your Local Demand Setting and Final Demand Setting meetings.  Based on these discussions, we will do what we were elected to do: negotiate a Collective Agreement that addresses your demands, and one that we can recommend you vote for.  This offer does not meet that standard.  We have written to the College Employer Council with our intent to finish our process and meet them at the table.

Yours in solidarity,

Your CAAT-A Bargaining Team

February Update

As we continue to keep strict adherence to government guidelines with remote teaching and greatly reduced special on-campus classes the norm, please see a few Local updates below:

Successful Demand Setting Meeting & Next Steps
Last Thursday’s Demand Setting Meeting was a success. More than 100 members attended our online meeting and many took the virtual floor to speak to issues they would like to see improved or changed in our Collective Agreement. 

If you have not seen a copy of the top ten issues, as voted on by Local 415 members, you can request a copy via opseu415office@locallines.org

Rest assured, every issue brought forward by members at last Thursday’s meeting was heard by our Bargaining Team who will advocate for all members at the negotiation table.

All 24 college locals are having similar demand setting meetings throughout February. The demands put forward by each of the 24 locals will be debated and discussed at our provincial demand set meeting, scheduled for April. The six delegates elected by stewards to represent Local 415 at that meeting are: Martin Lee, Judy Puritt, Ken Hill, Shawn Pentecost, as well as Tracy Henderson (as our Divisional Executive representative) and Annette Bouzi (as local president). 

Spring/Summer Annual Leave
On Friday, the College released a memo regarding faculty annual leave for this Spring/Summer term. We view the college’s new approach as an improvement because of its commitment to prioritizing faculty preference, without the rigidity of requiring full-time faculty available across the entire term.

As seniority can play a significant role in the determination of the annual leave period, our advice is to verify the accuracy of your place on the seniority list posted on the college website. If you note any inaccuracies, communicate them to the college and copy COMMS@locallines.org as soon as possible.

Please communicate your preference of annual leave period to your manager for the Spring/Summer term, even if you have previously done so. If your request is denied, please contact the union office for advice.

Current Workload
As a reminder, faculty have the right to a revised SWF at any point in the semester, if the current SWF is no longer a reflection of your actual workload. For instance, reasons to ask your manager to re-issue a SWF could include increased class size than indicated on your SWF or complimentary functions taking more time than provided for on your SWF.

For questions about your workload at any time, please contact the Local at COMMS@locallines.org and a member of the Workload Monitoring Group will get back to you.

In solidarity,
OPSEU Local 415

February 4 Demand Setting & 2021 Bargaining Video #1

This is a friendly reminder that our Local Demand Setting meeting is scheduled for 4 PM this Thursday, February 4th. If you haven’t yet registered, please register for the meeting providing your non-college e-mail account here.

To learn more about the 2021 bargaining process, please watch this video prepared by stewards of our Local.

We hope to see you on Thursday.

In solidarity,
OPSEU Local 415

Faculty Annual Leave

Recently, the Local has been invited to participate in a Working Group with the College to discuss the assignment of faculty annual leave. Through regular dialogue, your Local had alerted the College to our concerns about its approach to the annual leave period, which is compounded by the increased stress and anxiety of the pandemic.

The goal of this new Working Group is to determine a more humane way of scheduling annual leave. In all of our conversations with the College, our role at the table is clear: to defend faculty rights and ensure adherence to our Collective Agreement. We are further guided by feedback from members, including your valid concerns about rotations, clusters, equity, as well as alignment of vacation with family care responsibilities, and seniority rights. 

Updates will be shared as discussions progress. In the interim, if you have questions, please e-mail COMMS@locallines.org or leave us a message at (613) 727-4723 Ext. 7716.

In solidarity,

Annette Bouzi (she/her)
President, OPSEU Local 415

Local 415 Demand Setting Meeting

Please join us Thursday, February 4 from 4 to 6 p.m. for our Local 415 Demand Setting Meeting. This meeting is a critical opportunity for you to have your voice heard as we set priorities for the 2021 round of collective bargaining. There are some key steps to this process:

  • Please be sure you have completed the General Membership Bargaining Survey that was e-mailed to you last week. The deadline for completion of that survey was extended to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, January 26.
  • Please review your e-mail for this COMMS message. It will include a link for you to follow and sign up for the Local Demand Setting meeting. That e-mail includes a copy of the agenda and an opportunity to register with a non-college e-mail address. Please register by 2 p.m. on Thursday, February 4.
  • If you require an accommodation to fully participate in this meeting, please contact us to advise of any specific requirements.  

The panel for the meeting will consist of the following people:

  • Annette Bouzi, President – Local 415
  • Rebecca Ward, President – Local 732 (Confederation College) & 2021 CAAT-A Bargaining Team member
  • Shawn Pentecost, Treasurer – Local 415 & 2021 CAAT-A Bargaining Team member
  • Tracy Henderson, Local 415 Steward & CAAT-A Divisional Executive Representative
  • Martin Lee, Local 415 Steward & CAAT-A Bargaining Advisory Team Representative
  • Judy Puritt, Secretary – Local 415
  • Laura Rashotte, Office Administrator – Local 415

We hope to see you there. Remember – our voice is our vote!

In solidarity,
OPSEU Local 415

Partial Load W’21 Welcome

Happy New Year and Welcome to Winter 2021! In case you are new Partial-Load (PL), please let me introduce myself, Martin Lee, as your Partial-Load Liaison steward. I can be reached via COMMS@locallines.org

Contract Faculty felt the weight of 2020 in very particular ways: we heard you. This year, as we enter bargaining, we need to hear from each one of you and remain connected. At Algonquin College, PL faculty make up a full third of our Local 415 membership, and your issues are extremely important to us. Precarious work remains a focus of our advocacy. For example, during the last round of bargaining (2017), the PL Registry was created. In this round, we’re now in a position to work on strengthening that Registry.

How can you get involved? First, make sure your voice has been heard via the bargaining survey. If you missed last week’s email about the survey, you can request a new link via the COMMS@locallines.org e-mail until 5 p.m. on Tuesday, January 26.

Local 415 is scheduling a session to discus bargaining on February 4 at 4 PM. You will receive an email with more details of this in the coming days.

What is happening province-wide? There is a provincial PL meeting, scheduled for 6 p.m. on Tuesday, January 26. Please attend and stay informed.

You will get an update on the process of bargaining, you will hear about PL organizing efforts, and you will be introduced to the PL Bargaining Advisory Committee (BAC). You will also be able to ask questions and raise concerns during that meeting.

Topic: Partial Load Provincial Open House

Time: Jan 26, 2021 06:00 PM Montreal (Zoom-link was sent to your e-mail. If you did not receive an e-mail or link, please contact COMMS@locallines.org)

Please try to enjoy the semester, despite COVID. Stay warm, and keep in touch.

Yours,
Martin Lee
OPSEU 415 PL Liaison Steward

General Membership Survey of Bargaining Priorities

To inform the process of Local Demand-Setting for the next round of bargaining, you are asked to complete the following survey by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, January 26, 2021

This survey is your first chance to communicate your bargaining priorities directly to your Local and the Bargaining Team. It includes many opportunities to provide detailed feedback. Academic employees at all 24 colleges are involved in this demand-setting process that will shape the upcoming round of Collective Agreement bargaining this summer.

Please check your e-mail for a link to the survey.

The survey covers issues relevant to professors, instructors, librarians, and counsellors – including both full-time and partial-load.

Part-time and sessional faculty are also invited to complete this survey as well, since you could easily be hired into partial-load contracts by the time bargaining is underway.

Please do not distribute this link to others. If you know of any of our faculty colleagues who have not received this link, please invite them to contact the Local in order to receive a link.

Finally, beyond this electronic survey, our Local will be hosting a Demand-Setting meeting via Zoom on Thursday, February 4 at 4:00 PM. This will be your opportunity to hear from Local leadership directly and participate actively in further setting and prioritizing our Local demands. Expect to see more information on this soon – we hope to see you there.

In solidarity,

OPSEU Local 415

Winter Message

Dear Colleagues,

As 2020 draws to a close, I wanted to acknowledge this historic year – we’ve all been tested in ways that would have been hard to imagine before March. Thank you to our hardworking members for all you have done to maintain quality education and compassion during these trying months. As ever, Local 415 has remained hard at work, challenging the college to do better, supporting individual faculty members through a range of issues, and continuing to be active at the provincial level.

The year end also gives us time to reflect. You’ll be pleased to know that we have accomplished a lot as a local union in 2020 – from enhanced rights for our partial-load members, gains through dispute resolution processes outside of grievances, and ensuring adherence to our Collective Agreement rights. We will build on that momentum for 2021 – a bargaining year.

Finally, rest assured that your Local remains in regular contact with the College on all matters, including the recently announced provincial lockdown. You will receive updates as appropriate. 

Wishing you the peace of the season and a most restful winter break.

In solidarity,

Annette Bouzi (she/her)
President, OPSEU Local 415

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