FAQ for Work-to-Rule
As we enter into the Winter semester, as well as Phase 2 of our work-to-rule job action, we know that you have many questions. The Locals and Bargaining Team have received common questions in regard to start-up meetings, orientation, and coordinator work in particular.
We address some of these below, and will provide further details at our provincewide Zoom webinar on January 5th (see details below).
We have also created a series of videos about how to read and understand your SWF, so that full-time faculty can understand the limits of your assigned workload. Specific information relevant to partial-load faculty can be found here, and your Local can also address questions and concerns, or forward them on to the bargaining team.
Many questions have arisen regarding pandemic health and safety in the return to face-to-face classes for labs/shops/co-op and field placements, particularly in the face of many colleges’ refusal to institute physical distancing measures, provide appropriate PPE, install HEPA filtration units, or provide paid sick time to contract faculty. We encourage you to ask questions of your college regarding their commitment to the health and safety of students and faculty as it relates to the current wave of the pandemic. Similarly, we remind all faculty that you have the right to refuse unsafe work. If you are unsure if your working conditions are safe, please contact your faculty representative on the Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee (or your Local Union). You can also contact your local public health authority or the Ministry of Labour.
1. Work-to-Rule Provincewide Information Meeting
The CAAT-A Divisional Executive is organizing a Provincewide Town Hall, as we enter into Phase Two of Work-to-Rule at our Colleges. The Bargaining Team will be discussing work-to-rule and answering common questions we’ve received. In addition, attendees will also have the chance to submit questions.
When: Jan 5, 2022 06:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Topic: Faculty Town Hall
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
We are currently attempting to provide simultaneous translation at this meeting.
2. Should I attend meetings and orientation sessions during the week of January 3-7?
Do not participate in the following pre-semester activities: professional development, town halls, school/divisional/department meetings, recruitment, orientation, etc.
To be clear, between January 3-7 (a non-teaching/11.08 period), any work that is assigned by managers should not be undertaken. Article 11.08 does not give managers the right to assign work during non-teaching periods; these periods are instead reserved for mutually agreed-to activities. While the Collective Agreement says that agreement shall not be unreasonably withheld by either faculty or managers, we are currently in work-to-rule, and it is therefore reasonable for faculty to refuse the tasks that managers attempt to assign them during non-SWFed periods.
3. What activities should I avoid, starting on January 3?
- No unassigned college meetings
- No unassigned and agreed-to professional development
- No unassigned extracurricular activities
- No holiday gatherings
- No town halls.
Do not engage in any tasks that are not explicitly recorded on your SWF or (if partial-load) your contract, including volunteer meetings or committee work, extra-curriculars, informal assistance to managers, programs, special projects.
4. What if I’m a program or course coordinator?
The same applies to program and course coordinators. The colleges have chosen to impose terms and conditions, including that “Coordinator duties will be reduced in writing before an employee accepts a coordinator-ship. Such acceptance will remain voluntary.” Coordinator duties are included on your SWF, and take place during the period covered by your SWF. The colleges have not changed those terms and conditions, and have said that they will not be imposing further terms and conditions. For the time being, that means that coordinators are not to participate in the struck work listed above.
While you should have been provided a written list of assigned coordinator duties and a clear number of hours on your SWF for the performance of those duties, that would only apply during the SWF period. During the non-teaching period before or after the SWF, you are not obliged to perform those duties.
5. How can I respond to my supervisor this week?
You are invited to adapt either of the following messages, to suit your purposes:
“Unfortunately, I am not in the position to attend any meetings this week, as CAAT-A faculty are currently in Phase 2 of the work-to-rule campaign. Engaging in struck work at this point would be equivalent to crossing a picket line. I hope that this work-to-rule job action will demonstrate the value of faculty work, get the employer back to the table to negotiate the issues important to faculty, and make a full strike unnecessary.”
“In accordance with the work to rule plan, I will not be attending college meetings or activities this week, nor any that are not specifically recorded on my SWF with appropriate time attributed. While It gives me no joy to refrain from campus activities, I believe in the collective bargaining process and the rights it has provided me and countless others. Until the bargaining team directs otherwise, this is my position.”
6. What should I tell my students about work-to-rule?
You are invited to adapt either of the following messages, to suit your purposes, depending:
“Thank you for your email.
At the moment, all college faculty (Librarians, Counsellors, Professors and Instructors) are engaging in labour action – ‘Work to Rule’. Under our current contract, I am allocated 6 hours of administrative time during the week. This includes emails, meetings, and regular contact with students and external stakeholders. I am also attributed no more than 5.4 minutes to grade each student’s work and provide feedback, weekly. The workload formula which gives these numbers hasn’t changed in almost forty years!
Any work/emails which take longer than the times that I have been attributed for those tasks each week will be deferred to the following calendar week. Please encourage the college president to direct the College Employer Council to return to the bargaining table to resolve these issues. If this is urgent, please contact [provide your chair’s name and e-mail].”
“In response to the College Employer Council’s decision to unilaterally impose employment conditions after college faculty voted to support strike actions (https://www.collegefaculty.org/2021/12/17/opseu-sefpo-stands-in-support-of-college-faculty-members/), Ontario college faculty are now following work-to-rule guidelines established by the Faculty Bargaining Team.
Faculty have chosen to focus on our students’ needs and not interrupt College courses with a strike at this time, while demanding that our employer negotiate a fair resolution to this labour dispute. Work-to-rule means that we will be working only the time outlined by our current contract and workload assignments, or our job descriptions. This means that we may not be available for additional, volunteer work that we may normally do, or work outside of regular work hours. Therefore, we may take more time than usual to respond to emails or other forms of communication and any additional work-related requests.
Currently we are in Phase 2 of the planned work-to-rule job actions. For more information on these actions including a work-to-rule FAQ, please visit: https://www.collegefaculty.org/work-to-rule/.
We appreciate your patience and your support in our efforts to improve working conditions for Ontario college faculty and the learning conditions of Ontario college students.”
Your CAATA Bargaining Team