Official Website for OPSEU Local 415

Local 415 Strike Update

Voting on Forced Offer continues Wednesday
There has been a very heavy turnout on the first day of voting based on reports from the Woodroffe lines with a resounding “Reject” based on members volunteering their voting preferences.  If you did not have a chance to vote on Tuesday, please vote ASAP on Wednesday.

If you did not receive an email on November 13, 2017 outlining how to vote and providing a personal identification number (PIN), you may contact the VOTER HELP CENTRE toll free at 1-888-281-8683 (8am-8pm ET).

If you lose or misplace your PIN, contact the VOTER HELP CENTRE toll free at 1-888-281-8683 (8am-8pm ET).
 
CBC Radio Noon Show with Rita Celli
Excellent participation by Algonquin students and faculty on the phone-in show. If you would like to hear the show in its entirety, please go to
Preparing for poor weather on Thursday
If members are willing to bring tent shelters and/or camping tarps to the lines, this would be welcome in the event we need to create immediate shelter from the weather should it be a poor on Thursday.
 
Why Counsellor issues matter this round of bargaining
Attached is a blog from Sheridan faculty on counsellors, students, and growing anxiety.
 
 
 

Local 415 Strike Update

Voting on Forced Offer begins Tuesday at 9:00 am
You may vote beginning Tuesday with the PIN sent to you from the OLRB to your Algonquin email address. Please vote as soon as possible.

If you did not receive an email on November 13, 2017 outlining how to vote and providing a personalidentification number (PIN), you may contact the VOTER HELP CENTRE toll free at 1-888-281-8683 (8am-8pm ET).
If you lose or misplace your PIN, contact the VOTER HELP CENTRE toll free at 1-888-281-8683 (8am-8pm ET).
Council webinar
Here is a response produced by members of Humber’s Rat(ification) Vote Committee to the CEC’s webcast earlier today. It’s not a line-by-line breakdown, but addresses a few of the more egregious bits of misinformation.
Worthwhile article from Local 417 (St. Lawrence) on the effect of colleges’ overreliance on contract faculty   
Misinformation No. 1  
Just in case anyone is motivated to vote Yes by the lure of unlimited overtime, be aware overtime is not pensionable.
 
Misinformation No. 2  
We reported that on the weekend, Cathy Frederick, the VP of Human Resources, had put out a document stating the post-strike reduced pay for full-time faculty will be at the rate of 1/261 of annual salary for each day of the strike as opposed to 1/216th as contained in the Council offer. Today, when she came to the Navaho TH line, rather than correcting Cathy, Cheryl reaffirmed Cathy’s memo. However, she could not explain how she could make a commitment in direct conflict with the Council’s offer.
 
Again, to be clear, all provisions in the offer apply to all 24 colleges. There is no such thing as individual bargaining by colleges. In the unlikely event we accepted the offer, the reduction will indeed be 1/216 for each day of the strike.
 
The loss for each full-time member based on the Council offer ranges from $1230 to $2130 for professors/counsellors/librarians depending on the member’s current salary step, and from $809 to $1373 for instructors.
 
Those losses can only be avoided by rejecting the Council offer.
 
Why is academic freedom an issue? One Algonquin faculty member’s experience:
I and another member were assigned to teach BUS2301 in academic year 2012/13. During that time, management determined that
·         the delivery method was online, i.e. no in-class instruction, changed from an in-class format the previous year
·         the course would be Pass/Fail with no tests or verification that students were actually doing their own work
·         that the course would be offered to 1st semester students
·         only 2 faculty would be responsible for the course
·         we would be responsible for approximately 500 students each
·         in-class orientations were not required
·         no application using Adobe Flash were to be used as teaching software in the course
·         there would be no scheduled classes (the optional drop-in classroom hours were not displayed in student timetables as it would have caused conflicts in the timetable schedules)
·         there would be no pilot to determine if the online model was suitable
o    for the material taught
o    for the students receiving it
o    for the chosen software
To the best of my knowledge
·         no review of the literature was done prior to implementation to see if any other institutions had tried anything similar and what the results were
·         no consideration was given to the fact that BUS2301 fed into streams that required invigilated work to ensure that students met competency requirements, e.g. accounting

Results
·         software chosen to run the course was not suitable for the task mainly due to the restriction on not using Flash but also due to the inexperience of the developer contracted to do the work
·         when management was informed that the guaranteed failure rate was 34%, and potentially up to at least 64% with 11 days left in the semester we were told make all work available again and allow all students to complete work not completed, even if they had previously attempted an item (or items) and failed
·         Both faculty were working overtime in both fall and winter semesters, in my specific case I estimate 40 hours/week of overtime in the fall and 20 hours/week in the winter
·         Both faculty ended up doing work that was outside their assigned position
 

Local 415 Strike Update

Email access for the Forced Offer Vote
If you have not done so, please check that your college email password is valid. If it has expired, please contact IT at 5555 ASAP. Access to the password is crucial in order to vote November 14-16.
 
PIN numbers for voting available on Monday, November 13 – please check your college email account that day
Each person is to be assigned a special PIN sent to his or her college email address. Please check for the PIN.

If you do not receive an email on November 13, 2017 outlining how to vote and providing a personalidentification number (PIN), you may contact the VOTER HELP CENTRE toll free at 1-888-281-8683 (8am-8pm ET).

If you lose or misplace your PIN, contact the VOTER HELP CENTRE toll free at 1-888-281-8683 (8am-8pm ET).
Misinformation No. 1  
Unfortunately, the Sunday, November 12 edition of the Toronto Star published incorrect information on the offer that we will be voting on. To be clear, we are voting on the Council’s offer, not (as the Star reported incorrectly) the one our Team was working on before the Council walked out last week. The Star has since pulled its online version of the story due to the inaccuracy. 
Misinformation No. 2  
Again, our senior administration is publishing inaccurate information. Last week, Cheryl Jensen reported that bargaining had resumed when clearly it had not. Now, Cathy Frederick, the VP of Human Resources, has put out a document stating the post-strike reduced pay for full-time faculty will be at the rate of 1/261 of annual salary for each day of the strike as opposed to 1/216th as contained in the Council offer. To be clear, all provisions in the offer apply to all 24 colleges. There is no such thing as individual bargaining by colleges. In the unlikely event we accepted the offer, the reduction will indeed be 1/216 for each day of the strike.
 
What will be the true cost (based on each full-time faculty member’s current pay scale) of accepting the Council’s return-to-work protocol (as contained in their offer vote) based on the 1/216 calculation as opposed to the 1/261 calculation?
Two of our accounting faculty have done the calculations based on whether you are a full-time professor/counsellor/librarian (PCL) or an instructor. Go to
 
 
There is a tab on the Excel spreadsheet for professor/counsellor/librarian (PCL) and one for instructor. Assuming a five-week strike, the estimated 1/216  (post-strike) loss for each full-time member based on the Council offer ranges from $1230 to $2130 for PCL faculty depending on the member’s current salary step, and from $809 to $1373 for instructors.
 
Those losses can only be avoided by rejecting the Council offer.
 
How to avoid misinformation?
Always check our local web site locallines.org
or
 
OPSEU at opseu.org/college-faculty-strike-information-2017
More evidence why it is important to get more full-time positions in the college system
 Here are the rankings of US Universities and Colleges:

Return to Work Protocol Calculations of payback salaries

Return to work Protocol please review here

Please note that there are two tabs in our attached spreadsheet – one for full-time professor, counsellors, librarians and full-time instructors.

VOTE NO and REJECT the colleges’ offer

VOTE NO and REJECT the colleges’ offer

See Bulletin here

The contract offer put forward by the College Employer Council on November 6 is a bad one for faculty – and the students we teach. It entrenches inequity and takes us backwards on academic freedom. 

Here’s why all faculty should vote NO:

1.      This offer allows the colleges to continue to expand the pool of contract faculty without restriction. More precarious work is not a better plan for our colleges.

2.      This offer allows the colleges to avoid paying “equal pay for equal work” for contract faculty, even after the passing of Bill 148, The Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act.

3.      This offer will decrease the percentage of full-time jobs in the colleges. Faculty are fighting for a 50:50 ratio of permanent to contract staff; the colleges’ offer fails to create a path to permanent jobs for partial-load faculty, and it denies students the better education that comes with a stable workforce.

4.      By removing the cap on teaching weeks and overtime for full-time faculty, this offer allows the employer to move work from partial-load faculty to full-timers. This will mean fewer teaching hours available for partial-load faculty.

5.      This offer does nothing to recognize that faculty need academic freedom to safeguard education quality for our students.

6.      The Return-to-Work protocol included in this offer includes much of the same language included in the 2006 protocol. That protocol left thousands of faculty without a penny in return for their return-to-work overtime hours.

7.      The colleges have forced a vote on an offer that is filled with concessions and still does nothing to address academic freedom.

8.      The best way for the colleges to reach a collective agreement is to negotiate, not to force a vote on an offer that has already been rejected by the faculty bargaining team.

We will Vote NO because it will make the colleges stronger, better for students, and better for the next generation. We will vote NO because we love our students, we value education, and we care. 

One day longer. One day stronger. Vote NO! 

In solidarity,

Your college faculty bargaining team

 

Details of college faculty vote

Attached are the details of next week’s vote.

https://opseu.org/news/olrb-provides-details-college-faculty-vote

Highlights:

METHOD OF LAST OFFER VOTE
The vote will be conducted ON-LINE or by TELEPHONE.

ELIGIBILITY TO VOTE
Eligible voters are those in the Academic unit covering full-time and partial
load employees.
VOTE DATES
The vote period will open from 9.00 a.m. ET on Tuesday November 14,
2017 and will close at 10.00 a.m. ET on Thursday November 16, 2017.
• To vote online, go to www.olrb-crto.isivote.com and follow the
instructions.
To vote by telephone, call the toll free voting phone number:
English 1-888-359-2308, French 1-888-359-2309 and follow the
instructions.

VOTE INSTRUCTIONS
Eligible voters will receive an email on Monday November 13, 2017 at their
College email address outlining how to vote and providing a personal
identification number (PIN).
You will need a PIN to cast your vote.
If you believe that you are eligible to vote and do not receive an email on
November 13, 2017 outlining how to vote and providing a personal
identification number (PIN), you may contact the VOTER HELP CENTRE toll
free at 1-888-281-8683 (8am-8pm ET).
If you lose or misplace your PIN, contact the VOTER HELP CENTRE toll free at
1-888-281-8683 (8am-8pm ET).
A reminder email to those voters who have not cast a ballot will be sent on
the second day of voting .The PIN which will be provided is strictly for personal use and must not be shared.

Comparison of Management and Union Offers

Attached is a document that compares the final offer from the Council and the Union’s final offer.  Both offers are also included in the document.

Please find the RTW protocol that was included in our offer of Nov. 6, 2017 to management. here 

In solidarity,

The Bargaining Team

 

Strike Bulletin #5

Please see the  strike bulletins.

Please Important read this bulletin in full

Update – Why your NO vote is so important.

Why your NO vote is so important.

Very soon the strike will be over. It will end in one of three ways.

1.       The parties will return to the table and negotiate a deal that faculty will vote on.

2.       The government will step in and dictate an arbitration of all outstanding issues.

3.       The current employer offer will be accepted.

The first would be the best outcome. The last would be the worst. But whatever way the strike is resolved, the government has made clear it will step in so that the semester is not lost.

The government has already shown a willingness to step in by involving itself as a key partner in the resolution of the very difficult and contentious issue of a staffing ratio – currently about 70% non-full-time faculty. Even by management’s own admission at least half of the teaching is being delivered by these short-term contract workers.

For an agreed settlement to be reached, the current management offer must be rejected.

The strike has forced the employer to address the union issues after four months of stonewalling and refusal to even discuss. It would be nonsensical to vote for this bad offer when a better resolution is just around the corner. This is the time to press on vigorously, not to capitulate.

Remember too, the make-up work that management will assign will not be paid for if faculty accept this offer. A month’s pay will be lost but the month’s work will be re-assigned without compensation. Following the 1989 strike, the arbitrator awarded all full-time faculty a $1000 payment in anticipation of the colleges reassigning the lost workload. However, using the same 2006 language proposed now by the employer, only a tiny percentage of faculty received any compensation at all.

There is one major issue outstanding. In whose hands will the authority and responsibility to deliver your curriculum fall, yours or college management’s? Post-secondary education and training historically and nearly universally gives the teachers, the experts in their fields, that authority and responsibility – “academic freedom.” The exception? Ontario’s colleges. The employer has costed this faculty demand at “no cost.” But in the face of decades of pressure from faculty to recognize the institutional and individual value of this basic academic freedom, management clings tenaciously to their position.

Make no mistake. This is a watershed moment in the history of Ontario’s colleges.  It is more than a contract negotiation. This is about social policy. Your strike has been and must continue to be a strike to fundamentally alter the nature of the colleges, to bring them within the sphere of fully legitimate post-secondary institutions. Or you can accept the old industrial, top-down model the employer’s offer of settlement represents.  This is the moment.  You must decide. You’re close to winning a giant step forward. The next step – VOTE NO. 

In Solidarity,

The Bargaining Team

{CAATA-Com} Fwd: {CAATA-Pres} IMPORTANT: Message from Team on Forced Offer Vote

Dear CAAT Academic Faculty,

We fully understand your confusion and frustration with the events of yesterday and today.  Please know that your bargaining team remains committed to getting a deal and getting the students back into class as quickly as possible.  Our goal is to get the CEC back to the table to reach the negotiated settlement we were working towards, but we also need to prepare to reject the Council’s forced offer vote. 

We anticipate that you have many questions, and we have put together the following in response.

What happened?

Negotiations resumed on Thursday and continued on the weekend. Council called us back to the table through the mediator but refused to divulge that it was essentially on the same deal as when the strike was called. Nevertheless, the union team engaged and slowly started to see some progress.  The union modified its stance on a few issues, and the CEC indicated they would remove some of the concessions that they were demanding.  A significant gain made by the team and the government was to establish a Provincial Task Force that will be funded and facilitated by the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development. The Task Force would address the staffing complement issue (50/50 ratio demand) and precarious work, as well as collegial governance. In addition, all recommendations from the Task Force will be brought to Cabinet for funding consideration.

As of Sunday night, the only significant issue left on the table was the no-cost academic freedom language, and pushing back against Council’s concessions. The union team felt that a deal could be reached by Monday morning.  Instead, the CEC came to the table Monday morning, refused to engage in any further negotiations, tabled an offer with further concessions added, and indicated they had made the request of the OLRB to schedule a forced offer vote. This is a scenario the team had known was possible though we had hoped that the Council would not be so callous as to jeopardize the semester, if not the whole academic year, for students and faculty alike. Once again Council and the college presidents who advise them are showing complete disregard for post-secondary education and their students’ lives.

How long will a vote take?

A best guess is anywhere from five days to two weeks.  There are many details to work out. The parties are currently at the OLRB discussing the details of the vote and more information will be provided once the OLRB makes a decision. 

Will we stay out on strike during the vote?

Yes. There is no other option. We must continue to stand together in solidarity.  Pragmatically speaking, the union cannot call off a strike when there is no negotiated agreement in place and no return-to-work agreement.  To go back to work and run classes for a week or two while voting logistics are worked out would remove all pressure on the Colleges.  We all want to be back in the classroom and helping our students, but those would be terrible circumstances under which to return.  The Council will try to play this up in the media as the union prolonging the strike, but make no mistake, they are the ones prolonging things.  This could have been wrapped up today had they been willing to negotiate in good faith.  If they were going to do a forced offer vote, the time to do that was weeks ago, not now.

 

Is this really just about Academic Freedom?

No, it is also about the serious concessions in the Council’s offer as explained in more detail below.  However, academic freedom should not be dismissed as a minor issue.  The fact that they are so resistant on this issue should be cause for alarm.  This is about faculty making academic decisions for our courses and for the benefit of our students.  That includes having a say in evaluation methods, delivery methods, final marks, textbook selection, course design, content, and research.  Currently, management has all final decision making power, and there is no way to challenge this except by including this language in our collective agreement. 

Some faculty do get to make some of these decisions, but it is important to remember this is always at the whim of management.  Faculty’s professional opinion on academic matters—and grades—can be overridden at any time and for any reason by a supervisor. There are many cases where managers apply pressure to change final grades, and others where final grades have been changed without the professor’s knowledge and outside of any formal grade appeal.  Faculty input into academic decision-making has eroded to the point where faculty have no real input into delivery modes (online, hybrid etc…), pre-requisites and co-requisites, and even weekly outlines. Evaluation factors on SWFs are often changed arbitrarily.  Faculty have been directed to switch to automated tests in many courses.  These decisions should not be exclusively in the hands of management.  Academic managers often have no prior background in education or teaching experience, and they are not experts in, or even knowledgeable about, the subject matter being taught. The bottom line is that the integrity of programs is being compromised.

The faculty team’s proposal is clear:  we are not asking for exclusive and absolute control, but at least an equal say in these matters.  As it stands, administrators are the ones with exclusive control.

 

Doesn’t this offer address academic freedom?

No.  While it is entitled, “Academic Freedom,” the letter of understanding on academic freedom is actually a reiteration in large part of the harassment language already existing in the collective agreement.  In addition, this is a letter of understanding that contemplates all 24 colleges have a college specific policy on academic freedom. However, these are policies that largely already exist and have given rise to the very problems we are trying to address this very round. These policies would create more restrictions on us than we currently have. This letter does nothing to address our role in academic decision making in our own courses and undermines any role we do have.

What concessions are in the offer?

  • Weakens Article 2 by explicitly excluding Part-Time faculty work and therefore removes limits on the colleges’ use of part-time rather than full-time employees
  • Weakens Article 2 by removing the conversion language for sessional employees (article 2.03C) creating one less pathway to more full-time jobs
  • The addition of these 2.04 and 2.05 are clear concessions in relation to Bill 148. By adding this language to article 2, management is attempting to say that the work performed by contract faculty is not substantially similar to that of full-time faculty. This would mean the equal pay for equal work provisions of Bill-148 would not apply to partial-load faculty.
  • Changes to Article 11.01 J1 would remove overtime limits for full-time faculty which will further reduce full-time numbers, make it more difficult to grieve full-time positions and increase stress on full-time employees
  • Attack on 11.01 B1 that would remove the maximum number of weeks a teacher could teach
  • Proposed change to 11.01 D3 would remove the provision to give SWF credit for curriculum development completed in non-teaching period
  • Lessening faculty input into and Increasing management control over faculty PD
  • Restricting our rights to free expression
  • Our proposal on academic freedom enshrines into the collective agreement and clearly identifies our rights, responsibilities and limits within the article. Management’s proposal is to have letter that needs to be renewed in subsequent collective agreements. Their language enshrines inequity between faculty teaching at different colleges.
  • Includes the same deeply flawed Return to Work protocol that saw over 1,400 unresolved grievances from the 2006 strike.

This is a bad offer that must be rejected. Instead of addressing the core issue of fairness and quality, Council’s proposal would have devastating and negative consequences on the college system for the next generation.

There is still a chance to get a solution at the table.  Keep up the pressure: contact your college presidents, Don Sinclair CEO of the College Council, your MPP, the Premier and the Minister and tell them to get Council back to the table. There was no reason for the Council to walk away from the table, we can finish this quickly.  There is no reason to prolong the strike other than to try and starve us out. This is bullying not bargaining.

If we stand together now we will show them we are stronger than ever and we will win this. Your team appreciates your support and is resolved to see this round of bargaining through to the end. We are all in this together: college faculty, teachers, university faculty, students and contract workers everywhere.

In solidarity,

Your Bargaining Team

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