Official Website for OPSEU Local 415

June 12 Meeting – Equal Pay for Equal Work

Attached is a summary and the PowerPoint notes from the meeting held on June 12 re: equal pay for equal work (Bill 148) for contract faculty.

Please direct any questions to divexcaata@gmail.com

June 12 Equal Pay for Contract Faculty presentation

June 12 College Contract Faculty meeting

CAAT-A Divisional Executive Team

Program Cuts – 22 May 2018 Update

I want to present a profile on Rod Bain, professor in the Heritage Masonry program in Perth. I have known Rod for several years since he began his teaching career at the Perth campus in 2003. Rod is a mason and carpenter by trade and has a diploma in Technological Education from Queen’s University. Additionally, Rod is a union steward has served on two Academic Bargaining Teams, CAAT-A Divisional Executive and is currently a member of the College Employment Stability Committee (CSEC). 

Notwithstanding the claims of senior administration, there has been no remediation related to the program that Rod has been made aware of. The last time PQR was completed was 2015-2016 and Rod was not assigned to participate in that process, even though masonry is his area of expertise. The PQR identified that Program Advisory Committee meetings have not been held regularly in accordance with college policy, although the college did have a meeting on April 26, 2018 with the Ontario Masonry Training Centre, which was conducted when Rod was teaching. 

As we know, Algonquin faces a self-inflicted $25 million-dollar shortfall, having acknowledged it has underpaid its part-time and sessional employees for years. Now that it has been legally forced to follow its core values (chiefly Caring, Respect, and Integrity) with respect to paying its employees equally for equal work, the College has turned its eye inward on the programs it offers students and to find savings. 

You should also be aware that it seems that the College is targeting a program that is unique – having a large restoration component, not offered anywhere else in the province and thus is free of competition from other Colleges for students.  Indeed, just such a program enjoys wide scale support not only from industry leaders and leading industry employers, but from major manufacturers as well. Imagine how beneficial it would be if these partnerships with industry could yield large scale product donations and if such a program was also actively involved in several campus and community beautification projects. 

To further this scenario, imagine if this unique program had a 100% placement rate for its graduating students and was a primary source of hiring entry level employees into this industry. Imagine if this program could consistently perform well above College averages for KPIs in student and employer satisfaction. It would seem that such a program would be a winner, and perhaps a template for other programs.   

Well, think again. Just such a program already exists at the College, or I should say existed at the College: Heritage Masonry at the Perth Campus.  Despite, having all the attributes listed above, the College has announced that it will not be accepting any more students into this program. 

The drawback to offering a unique program is you can’t get students if no one knows about it. The College has never been consistently good at marketing individual programs, and this is a textbook case. Even without any competition, the college has repeatedly failed to fill this program. Despite this, the College has not altered its marketing approach around this program. 

President Cheryl Jensen has stated:

“In all cases, program performance data are provided each year to all academic departments so that faculty, staff, and administrators can work together to collectively develop remediation plans for programs that are underperforming.” 

Yet, there is no evidence that any of this is true in the case of the Heritage Masonry Program, and after repeated requests by the union for this information, the College continues to remain silent. 

It seems the quality of a program or the fact that it meets a very real industry demand, assists in maintaining our countries-built heritage, and produces graduates who are in demand holds no sway for the College. In its actions herein, the College is revealing its one true core value: indifference. 

Rod will be presenting to the Academic and Student Affairs Committee of the Board of Governors on May 28, 2018. I thought it was important to provide some background on some of the faculty whose programs have been impacted by the seven program intake suspensions. 

We will continue to report on our findings from the College Employment Stability Committee. It is clear that we will need to pay continued attention to the various expenditures the college has made over the past few years that resulted in financial loses. 

Pat Kennedy, President

OPSEU Local 415

Program Cuts – Update May 15, 2018 – MISSTATEMENTS, UNSUPPORTED CONJECTURE AND SPECULATION: SUPERIOR COURT SLAMS ALGONQUIN COLLEGE

While the college continually asks “What will I do today to demonstrate our values?”, it also continually fails to be accountable for the mismanagement of its own affairs, be it Jazan, failed IT projects, program intake suspensions or mistreating its employees. 

As you will discover below, even middle managers are subject to mistreatment by Human Resources. It will become clear that the college is not living up to its core values and that senior administration is not looking after the best interests of students, faculty and staff with upcoming program cuts.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 15, 2018

On March 23, 2018 the Honourable Justice Kane issued a scathing decision, calling out Algonquin College for its treatment of a long-service employee.  

 The decision is particularly notable due to its assessment of the work done by Labour Relations at the College.

 In describing decisions made by Katherine Root, formerly labour relations specialist and current employee of the College, Justice Kane writes:

[59]           It is inconceivable that an alleged specialist in labour relations, in a report recommending dismissal for cause, would interpret the above brief December 24 email exchanges between two employees who had worked together at Algonquin since November 2011 and despite the denial of each while being interviewed, would then rely upon and report this as evidence of a personal relationship in order to record this as a conflict of interest by Ms. Edmond as a member of the Selection Committee.

Elsewhere in the decision, Justice Kane writes:

[64]           The Report recommending dismissal for cause contains misstatements of fact which Ms. Root knew or should have known to be the case, as well as unsupported conjecture or speculation.  Such matters should not have been presented as determined facts in support of a dismissal for cause.

OPSEU, Local 415, is especially troubled by one of the reasons cited by the College to terminate an employee – that as a member of the Management team, she had “breached” the trust by communicating with a Union representative. Justice Kane writes:

Ms. Root omits to report that this communication with Ms. Strickland including what was said, was reported by Ms. Edmond at the time via email to her superior who like Ms. Root in her affidavit, did not consider such communication a breach of trust or inappropriate.      

          […]

Introducing Mr. Noah to another Algonquin employee and union representative within that institution’s certified bargaining relationship is not a breach of trust towards the employer or grounds to dismiss for cause as so reported.

The terminated employee was awarded compensation in the amount of one year, which amounts to approximately $100,000.

The decision in full can be found here.

Pat Kennedy, President

OPSEU Local 415

Letter to Board of Governors – Pending Closure of the Academic Upgrading Program in Smiths Falls and Lanark County

Wednesday, May 2, 2018 

I am writing to you today to express my deepest concerns regarding the pending decision to close the academic upgrading (AU) program in Smiths Falls. 

I am the professor and program coordinator for the AU program in Smiths Falls and Lanark County. AU classes have been offered in Smiths Falls since the mid-1980’s. The program is funded in full by the Literacy and Basic Skills contract with the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development (MAESD). There is one full time and two part time staff. The AU program is a continuous intake program. 

For more than 30 years, this program has helped many people obtain the required skills and academic credentials to go on to post-secondary programs, employment training or directly to sustainable employment. Through academic upgrading, students may complete the Academic and Career Entrance (ACE) certificate which is equivalent to grade 12. The majority of our graduates who are wanting to go on to post-secondary training select Algonquin College as their post-secondary institution of choice. The AU program in Smiths Falls and Lanark County is closely connected to a network of programs and services available in Lanark County such as employment services (3 offices), Ontario Works, and the Perth Campus.

The Smiths Falls AU program is important to the residents of the area as many are receiving social assistance or have had their income drastically reduced due to the economic instability of the area over the past 10-12 years. Consequently, many do not own vehicles. Transportation to other academic programs such as the Ottawa campus is an issue; so having the service of AU closer to home allows these students to have an opportunity, through ride sharing and other travel arrangements, to gain the skills required to move to the next phase of their lives. 

On March 12, 2018, my staff and I were told by my manager that, as a result of the implementation of Bill 148, the academic upgrading program in Smiths Falls and Lanark County was slated to be closed. This was the first time I had heard that the program was even being considered for closure. At the time, my manager did not have a definitive time frame as to when the program was slated to close, but she thought it could be the end of June of this year. We were, therefore, instructed to keep this information out of the public ear until more information could be gathered. My manager also informed me that, because this site is funded through a contract with MAESD, the College would need to have a conversation with the Ministry before making a final decision. Last week, I learned that apparently a conversation has occurred between the College and MAESD, but I was not informed of the results of the conversation. I have asked my manager and my union president, and neither have been able to get any answers or updates for me as to if and/or when this site will close. 

Since March, my staff and I have kept quiet about the pending closure. We have kept daily activities to business as usual and, as such, have continued to accept new students into the program. These students believe that, if necessary, they will be able to continue their upgrading courses into the fall at this site because that is all we can tell them. We feel like we are lying to our students. For my part time staff, being left in limbo is very stressful. They are unsure if they should be looking for other work. They enjoy their work at the Smiths Falls Centre and are distressed that no one is giving us any information. I am starting to see a lack of enthusiasm in my staff which I have never experienced before. The not-knowing is the hardest part. 

Furthermore, the seven other Algonquin programs that were recently suspended were made public in March. Since then, these programs have had the opportunity to rally public support in defense of not suspending the program. Because our announcement has yet to be made (or even decided), we have not been given the same opportunity to rally public support. I am certain that we would be able to generate a lot of support from the public, current and former students and staff, and referring agencies and support networks if given the opportunity. 

I have been the program coordinator for the AU program in Smiths Falls since 2001. It is my opinion that the closing of this program will have a devastating effect on our students, our communities, and the college’s reputation in Lanark County. I predict that many of the students will give up their upgrading studies and not return to the College for post-secondary programs. There will be a gap in service to the residents of Lanark County as some are not able to succeed in other offerings of high school equivalency programs (i.e. local high school adult education programs). More residents will remain on assistance because they will not be able to gain the skills to succeed in training or employment. 

I have been a proud member of the Algonquin College community for more than 30 years. I love the work I do, and I believe it shows in our results. While it is sometimes difficult to quantify the effects of AU on a community with data, the true stories are in the individuals who have been able to make a positive change in their lives as a result of gaining skills and confidence that could be applied to new learning or sustainable employment. The academic upgrading program makes a difference.

As a long time Algonquin College employees, I am appalled at the lack of consultation and communication I have received since the College sent my manager with the news of the pending closure. I respectfully request an opportunity to advocate for the academic upgrading program at an upcoming meeting of the Board of Governors.

 

Regards, 

Anne Davis

Professor and Program Coordinator

Academic Upgrading

Smiths Falls Centre 

Faculty Member, OPSEU Local 415

Program Cuts – 30 April 2018 Update

 I want to present a profile on Mark Stevens, professor in the Motive Power Technician program in Pembroke. I have met Mark on a number of occasions primarily dealing with the intake suspension related to his program. Mark is a Master Mechanic who also has operated his own business for many years prior to joining Algonquin.

Notwithstanding the claims of senior administration, there has been no remediation related to the program that Mark was been made aware of. The last time PQR was completed was 2012-2013 and that one was the first and only one ever done. Keep in mind, as well, that the new campus opened just four years ago with dedicated space specifically for this program.

You should also be aware that since 2014 Mark has requested a one-week PD course which specializes in electric vehicles. The training center for this course is recognized around the world and has been largely followed. Each request was denied by management. Mark was trying to get ahead of the curve with a niche offering in this area to support his program. The US Military has taken this training as well as   many secondary education institutions. The Petawawa military base is as close as you can get to Algonquin! I can only assume that the Canadian military would have the same interest as the US Military.

The mind-numbing piece of information on this was when I found out that he had secured with the help of Pauline Edmonds a plug-in hybrid electric car for free.

Mark will be presenting to the Academic and Student Affairs Committee of the Board of Governors in May. I thought it was important to provide some background on some of the faculty whose programs have been impacted by the seven program intake suspensions.

We will continue to report on our findings from the College Employment Stability Committee. It is clear that we will need to pay continued attention to the various expenditures the college has made over the past few years such as the losses associated with the Jazan Campus.

 

Pat Kennedy, President

OPSEU 415

 

Notice of OPSEU Local 415 Annual General Meeting on May 10, 2018

The Faculty Union AGM will be held on Thursday, May 10, 2018 at the Woodroffe Campus in T130, 12:00 – 2:00, with teleconference link to Pembroke and Perth. 

 Sandwiches and coffee will be provided and those in attendance are eligible for door prizes. 

The agenda is attached.

Pat Kennedy, President

OPSEU Local 415

Program Cuts – 22 April 2018 Update

At the Board of Governors (BOG) meeting of April 16, 2018. Kelley Denham, a graduate of the SSW program in Perth made an excellent presentation on the success she achieved through the program. Kelley is a single mother of four who has a

full time job working in the field she was trained. On this alone she deserves our complete respect. Kelly is Program Assistant for Adult Learning & Training Centre in Smiths Falls. Kelley started a petition with respect to program closures at Perth, her reference during the presentation to the BOG of over 1000 names/signatures was stinging! She gave numerous examples of the positive impact of the programs on the lives of former students. She concluded by asking the BOG “Who was consulted on program suspensions”, which hit the main issue dead on. There was no response to this question. College administration looked completely out of step with what had been presented publicly.  The college is fortunate to have Alumni like Kelley and she deserves an answer.

The Local has reached out to cover her travel costs from Smith Falls, child care costs and supper as a small recognition of the time and effort she put into raising the awareness of the treatment of these programs. She is a real Star.

We continue to request information from the college at the CESC, related to both employment stability now and in the future. Some examples are listed:

  1. Following the direction of President Cheryl Jensen to request full details from Academic Managers regarding mediation efforts for programs with suspended intakes has proven to be futile. Twenty-eight days has passed since the original request and there has yet to be a response from any level of Management.
  2. On April 4th, 2018 requested “Can you provide the costing for 2016-2017 for masonry program without the salary and benefits of the full time faculty member who left the program?” NO response
  3. On April 9th, 2018 requested “all the non-full time course loading requirements at Perth for fall 2018. We can use this in advance of the next CESC meeting.” NO response
  4. On April 20th, 2018 requested “Given that the college has such a large financial surplus for a publicly-owned educational institution, has consideration been given to reducing program financial contribution in order to avoid program intake suspensions?” Response pending

 

CAAT Pension Plan annual report released with video

The CAAT Pension Plan 2017 annual report is now available on the CAAT Pension Plan website in English and French together with a short animated video. The report details a notably strong year of investment performance that demonstrates the focus the Plan has on delivering value and securing pension benefits. It also notes the intention to further strengthen the Plan and widen defined benefit plan coverage with the introduction of a second plan design.

 

On Wednesday, April 25  the CAAT Pension Plan will host a noon-hour webinar and question-and-answer session about the Plan’s annual performance.

 

You will find the annual report and video here.

Pat Kennedy

Faculty Sponsor of CAAT Pension Plan

Program Cuts

Last month, the local was taken by surprise and was dismayed by the announced intake suspensions of seven programs: five at Perth, one at Pembroke, and one at Woodroffe. We were surprised as there had been no prior communication to the local that any of the programs were in difficulty. We were dismayed as the college appears to be using the intake suspension process to bypass the need for a vote by the Board of Governors whereby the suspension process could be halted. The impact of the intake suspensions will have consequences for students, faculty, and the local community, particularly in Perth. 

Article 28 of the Collective Agreement: Employment Stability

To enhance short-term and long-term employment stability at the college, there is a union-college committee called the College Employment Stability Committee (CESC) responsible for recommending long-term and short-term strategies. The union representatives on the committee are Pat Kennedy, Jack Wilson, David Haley, Rod Bain, and Sharleen Conrad-Beatty. The college representatives are Cheryl Jensen, Claude Brulé, Cathy Frederick, Chris Hahn, and Diane McCutcheon. 

In order to make appropriate recommendations, the committee is to have access to “data provided under the Collective Agreement” and may “identify needs for further data collection.”

Work of the CESC to date

The committee met March 15 and March 22. At the meetings, the union reps requested the data they felt was necessary to understand why the seven programs were to have their intakes suspended. Some of the information has been forthcoming, but other information has yet to be released. Therefore, we cannot say the communications from the college have met the level of transparency we had hoped for.

To give you a sense of what the union reps are experiencing, on March 26 one of the reps emailed Cheryl Jensen and the college reps the following request: 

“Can you [Cheryl] please provide how the college helped to mitigate the issues in these programs, and provide examples of these actions.” 

When there had been no response — after two weeks! —  the same union rep emailed Cheryl again requesting the same information. The remarkably sparse response was a one-liner:  “I suggest you obtain this information from the academic area.” 

Following Cheryl’s direction, the same request for information has since been put to the managers responsible for the suspended programs. To date, there has not been a single response. 

Needless to say, we are most concerned that the remediation plans that the seven programs were alleged to have undergone were either not done or not done with the appropriate rigour and attention. The latter should be a concern for all programs, for the college has indicated there are more suspensions to come in the years ahead. This applies in particular to any program which has been told by the college it is currently “under remediation.” 

Monday, April 16: crucial  Board of Governors meeting

The seven intake suspensions will be on the agenda of Monday’s Board of Governors meeting. The meeting is open to the public and begins at 4:00 in Room T102.

Future work of the CESC
The union reps have indicated their availability and their desire to meet as often as necessary. Unfortunately, the college reps have offered very limited availability and no further meetings have been scheduled. We will continue to provide updates in the weeks ahead.


Pat Kennedy, President
OPSEU Local 415

 

 

New updates from the Joint Occupational Health and Safety Faculty Reps

Did you know there is a new OHS Standard related to children on campus? 

A recommendation was sent from the Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee to the college to establish the OHS Standard. The policy is not in reference to “bring your child to work day”, or other college sanctioned events, but is related to a situation where a student brings a child to sit in on the class. 

A Faculty member is NOT required to allow the child in the class. BUT if you do allow, then it is essential that you contact your Manager in the moment to request their agreement. If the Manager agrees, then according to the Occupational Health and Safety Act, the Manager is considered the “supervisor” in that situation. If the Manager does not agree then the Faculty member is considered the “supervisor” in that situation. NOTE that the definition of “supervisor” at the college and  “supervisor” in the Occupational Health and Safety Act are not the same. A person who has met the definition of a supervisor within the meaning of the OHSA assumes the legal responsibilities of a supervisor under the Act. It is strongly suggested that you get your Manager’s agreement in writing.” 

Did you know that personal vehicle use for work-related duties might cost you? 

As posted on the Risk Management site: “If you are using your personal vehicle for work related duties, your personal insurance policy would respond for accidents in involving injury or damage. In Ontario, insurance follows the vehicle regardless of the driver or legitimate activities of the vehicle. The Ontario insurance act requires any accident involving damage or injury to be reported to your insurance company within 7 days. It would be beneficial to consult with your insurer if you are using your vehicle for work purposes to ensure you meet the proper declaration requirements of your policy. Algonquin College holds additional liability insurance that may be applied if your personal limits have been exceeded. This policy does not cover physical damage or your vehicle.” 

Don’t want to use your own vehicle? Then speak to your Manager about the options for rentals or college vehicles or other modes of transportation. Is your Manager’s response that you have to use your own vehicle? Depending on if you agreed on a contract to use your own vehicle, then that could be a Labour Relations issue. Contact Human Resources for information.  

Questions or concerns about Health and Safety at Algonquin College? Contact a JOHSC rep or Risk Management  (x5357).

 

Judy Flieler (flielej@algonquincollege.com )& Leslie Wyman (wymanl@algonquincollege.com)

JOHSC Faculty Reps

Algonquin College

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