Official Website for OPSEU Local 415

Academic Freedom and Course Delivery

As we finalize our preparation for the fall term start up, it felt timely to highlight a significant gain achieved during our last round of bargaining: academic freedom. Under Article 13.04 “Every faculty member is able to exercise academic freedom in the performance of his/her duties. Academic freedom at the College includes the right to enquire about, investigate, pursue, teach and speak freely about academic issues without fear of impairment to position or other reprisal.” Academic freedom is understood to be a broad right that can include the protection of faculty speech, judgment of our course evaluation methods, the right to choose our course material, determine student grades and course delivery methods.

As such, there is no requirement for faculty to use a specific video conferencing technology to teach our courses, nor is it a requirement for us to record our lectures. The choice is ours to exercise. The College confirmed this at the Town Hall last week, stating that the only technology requirement is to use Brightspace as outlined in AA42 Learning Management System (see especially “4. Course Sites – Required Elements”). This technology-related message has also been restated in subsequent communication with the Local. If you are told otherwise, please let the Local know so we can support you.

If you are returning to work this week, and missed our message last week, you can find it below. If you have questions, please reach out to a steward, send them to us by email at COMMS@locallines.org or feel free to call (613) 727-4723 ext. 7716.

In solidarity,

Annette Bouzi, President
David Haley, First Vice-President
Enrico DeFrancesco, Second Vice-President
Shawn Pentecost, Treasurer
Judy Puritt, Secretary

August Update

Dear Colleagues,

With the return to most post-secondary classes scheduled for September 8, many are returning to work to prepare for the fall. We want to recognize the hard work of faculty who have been working throughout the Spring and Summer term, including the many who have participated in the Summer Pilot on our campuses.

It’s been a busy few months in our Local and here are a few highlights followed by some more detailed notes. Our Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committees have been hard at work participating in on-campus inspections and ensuring adherence to safety protocols. Further, the Local has negotiated a new memorandum with the College on the definition of “regular” partial-load. Effective September 9, a contract faculty member who is assigned to teach more than six, and up to and including twelve hours per week for at least a 7-week consecutive period, will be considered partial-load. Additionally, we have seen many successes through the Workload Monitoring Group resolution process, and we welcomed several new full-time faculty hires across many areas of the college.

General Membership Meeting

Our General Membership Meeting is expected to take place in September by way of an online teleconference. We will share more detailed information on this once OPSEU provides more direction.

Accommodations

Please be sure to reach out with your questions about the college’s legal duty to accommodate, which extends beyond the provisions in our Collective Agreement:  Short-Term Disability Plan (STD, Article 17 for full-time members) and the Long-Term Disability Plan (LTD, Article 18 for full-time members). Accommodations can be arranged for many reasons, such as family status, including having an immunocompromised family member, having childcare obligations, or having health issues yourself. Remember, we have accommodations’ officers to help you, so please reach out to us for advice.

Workload

Several members have reached out with questions and concerns around workload as we have shifted to work under pandemic-related health and safety guidelines. It is important to remember that workload issues can be addressed at any point in the semester. That is, if your workload exceeds what the SWF captured when it was originally agreed to and signed, you are welcome and encouraged to raise your concerns. You can speak to your local steward, and/or contact the Local office and speak to someone on the Workload Monitoring Group.

Expansion of College Administration

The Local is disappointed to hear about the creation of additional college administration positions, as announced last week. At a time when the college is expressing concern about its budget, and asking employees to do more, the expansion of senior college administrator positions seems particularly misdirected. We have expressed our objection. The organizational focus, in our view, should be on continued growth in faculty and support positions, rather than the creation of additional layers of educational administration.

Steward Retirement/Union Elections

Last week the Local was informed by OPSEU that two stewards have retired: Pat Kennedy and Mark Stevens. We wish them well in their retirement and thank them for their service.

Pursuant to our Local Bylaws and the OPSEU Constitution, these vacancies must be filled through a by-election.  Beyond this, there are upcoming provincial meetings for which we will need to elect delegates. We recognize that you may be experiencing election fatigue with the number of recent elections in our Local.  Still, these positions need to be filled, and we are committed to implementing electronic voting as well as robust measures to ensure accurate voting lists. In order to participate in these upcoming votes, you will be required to provide the Local with your non-college e-mail address through a request that will come to your college account.

If you have any questions, please send them by email to COMMS@locallines.org or feel free to call us with your inquiries at (613) 727-4723 ext. 7716.

In solidarity,

Annette Bouzi, President
David Haley, First Vice-President
Enrico DeFrancesco, Second Vice-President
Shawn Pentecost, Treasurer
Judy Puritt, Secretary