OPSEU Local 415

OPSEU Local 415 is the democratically-run body that represents Algonquin College full-time and partial-load faculty (professors and instructors), cousellors, and librarians.

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On behalf of our entire leadership team, thank you for participating in the vote on the employer’s forced offer. We are grateful to you for participating in the process and having your voice heard, particularly during this difficult round of negotiations.
Of the 699 ballots cast at Algonquin College, 373 rejected the College Employer Council’s offer. That represents 53.4%, which is 5 points higher than the percentage of faculty who supported the December strike vote.
On Friday, our Bargaining Team met with Local presidents, our Divisional Executive and the Bargaining Advisory Committee to debrief and collect feedback on next steps. Please see the message below from our Bargaining Team. 
In solidarity,
Annette Bouzi
President, OPSEU Local 415
We just voted down the CEC’s forced offer again and sent a clear and resounding message to the College Presidents and the CEC team that they must negotiate faculty’s key issues. The Colleges’ team is clinging to a fear-mongering campaign —one sanctioned and supported by the College Presidents. The Colleges’ team has once again stated that they will not negotiate such “unacceptable” faculty demands as:

– a more reasonable attribution factor for time for student feedback; 
– the ability to discuss with your manager additional time for online course preparation;
– better job security and access to benefits for partial-load faculty;
– preventing the outsourcing or privatization of counsellor, librarian, and professor or instructor work;
reasonable workloads for coordinators;
– explicit faculty consent to the college for the sale or reuse of course materials;
– equity, Indigenization/decolonization, and workload committees that require the Colleges to actually implement change.

The faculty team has met with the conciliator to discuss a path toward resolution, either through negotiation or immediate voluntary binding interest arbitration as a way to provide the certainty that the CEC claims to want.  We certainly hope the CEC will lessen their inflammatory rhetoric and do what’s best for students and faculty alike by choosing one of these simple solutions, rather than force an escalation to the Phase 3 work-to-rule labour action.

In the meantime, as many of you enter the Reading/Intersession/Study/Engagement Week or Spring Break, here is a gentle reminder of the activities that you should continue as part of the Phase 1 and Phase 2 work-to-rule.   It’s important to note that faculty are withdrawing their volunteer labour from the Colleges in order to demonstrate the essential value of what we actually do.  

It is clear that the CEC team and the College Presidents are not connected with the daily front-line functioning of the Colleges they oversee.  We are undertaking work-to-rule to avoid a full picket line.  With that in mind, work-to-rule MUST impact the functioning of the Colleges in order to work as a strategy to bring the Council back to the table to discuss faculty’s needs.  The College Presidents, Boards of Governors, and the CEC have CHOSEN to abandon negotiations, and they can choose NOW to go to binding interest arbitration.  They are choosing escalation over resolution, and it’s hurting our system.

So what should you do? Focus on your students’ needs and support their learning—keep yourself and your students informed about what faculty are doing and why using either information from collegefaculty.org–or better yet–based on your own experiences. Talk to your Union Local about any questions or concerns you have, and definitely talk to them before following directions from your manager that may conflict with the work-to-rule.

Also, our list of struck work is determined by the union, not your manager.  They may pressure you to cross the picket line or break solidarity by saying that something doesn’t count as struck work, or isn’t work-to-rule.  That is not their call to make.  We ask that you don’t do any struck work from the earlier phases of our work-to-rule actions: standing together is our greatest strength and provides the best protection for all faculty.  It sends a message that we are serious and willing to take these actions.  It builds the pressure we need, and best of all: IT’S WORKING.  

We hope that the CEC agrees to either negotiate or go to binding interest arbitration, rather than escalate.  If they continue to refuse, then we will go to Phase 3, and the bargaining team will send out detailed information later this week.  
For now, here’s a reminder of current struck work, from Phases 1 and 2:

This is an 11.08 period and therefore not included on most SWFs or partial-load contracts—in other words, the activities you do for the college during this time are entirely volunteer work. No college-initiated PD, meetings, student orientations (professional development or extracurricular activities, town halls, school/divisional/department meetings, recruitment, orientation, etc.) No evaluation or preparation Faculty-initiated activities only FT faculty inform college of 10 PD days they are taking (if they are taking them) FT faculty Coordinators: no coordinator duties.

No recordings of live/synchronous classes unless it is your choice.  If you choose to record, do not use the College’s platforms to do so or to host the recordings, and do use the “Bargaining for Better” background Remember that it is up to the professor or instructor to determine the best pedagogical method for running their classroom Avoid entering information or uploading content to your College’s LMS or through their servers.

If you are not assigned specific tasks or are only given broadly defined duties, then prioritize your own work according to your needs and hours (for coordinators: only do this work during weeks covered by your SWF, not during the break) Do not work beyond the time you are assigned.  This is 35 hours/week for counsellors and librarians, and will vary for coordinators If you are NOT assigned any time for your work as a coordinator, then you should not do ANY of the tasks you have been assigned.  

Stay strong and we will keep getting through this together.  Stay tuned in the coming days for any developments and additional ways we can show our solidarity.  We are working with the Local Presidents and Bargaining Advisory Committee to ensure faculty have the information you require if we need to move to Phase 3 of work-to-rule.  We do know that the College Presidents and the CEC team did not plan to lose; as such, we do hope that this gives them the incentive they need to do the right thing and provide stability for all involved.
In solidarity,

JP, Jonathan, Katie, Michelle, Ravi, Rebecca and Shawn
Your CAAT-A Bargaining Team

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