Official Website for OPSEU Local 415

June Update

With the annual leave period beginning for many faculty and a number of colleagues returning to work next week, we wanted to reach out to stay connected during this transition and highlight a few key points.

  • Workload update: Over the last few weeks, several faculty members have seen positive results by bringing their SWFs to the Workload Monitoring Group (WMG). If at any point in the semester (Spring or Fall) your SWF is no longer a reflection of the work that you have been asked to do, you can request a revised SWF or exercise your right to bring it to the Workload Monitoring Group.
  • Accommodations: The college is required to accommodate faculty around a variety of issues, including medical needs and family status. If you have concerns around your personal situation, for example the uncertainty of childcare or a health concern that places you at greater risk during the pandemic, please reach out to the local for confidential advice and support.

The local will host a series of virtual meetings in the fall. As we continue to navigate our way through the challenges of the pandemic, we must also begin to turn our minds to bargaining, as our collective agreement expires in 2021. For all of this, we will need your input, so that we can continue to be a strong voice for faculty. Details will follow in August.

Your local continues to be here to support you. While our physical union office on campus remains closed until further notice, stewards are available to members online (by email or virtual meetings) or over the phone. If you have any questions, please send them by email to COMMS@locallines.org. We also check voicemails regularly, so please feel free to call us with your inquiries at (613) 727-4723 ext. 7716.

In solidarity,

Annette Bouzi
President, OPSEU Local 415
https://locallines.org/

Local Update End of May

The college released information earlier this week regarding its approach to SWFs for the fall. Our local does not endorse this approach because it is outside of the parameters of our Collective Agreement. The college’s announcement does not change any of the advice that we have provided to date.

  • SWFs: We continue to recommend that you engage in conversation with your Chair about your SWF to ensure that (1) you are assigned appropriate course preparation and evaluation factors and that (2) your complimentary functions reflect the actual work that you have been asked to do. If you dispute your SWF, you may exercise your right to refer it to the Workload Monitoring Group in order to attempt to find a resolution.
  • “Remote” versus “online”: The college distinguishs between remote and online course delivery. This distinction does not change that, for most faculty, these are both new delivery modes. As such, the courses require increased time to prepare and, in the local’s view, justify a “NEW” course preparation.
  • Fall 2020 and beyond: The local is looking ahead of the fall and is questioning the college about Winter 2021 and beyond. Employment stability is a major concern for our local, and we will continue to question and challenge the college regarding staffing plans.
  • Labour dialogue: The local engages in regular discussion with our OPSEU CAAT-A colleagues across the province to discuss issues of common concern. Further, we are meeting with the college regularly because engaging in conversation is important in labour relations. Although we are engaging in new dialogues with management, we want to make it clear that our role is to be advocates for our members. The local recently accepted a seat on the College Budget Committee (with voice, no vote) in order to gain insight into any decisions that could affect our membership and to speak against any potential infringements on our Collective Agreement.

As always, if you have any questions, please contact us at COMMS@locallines.org and a steward will get back to you as soon as possible.

In solidarity,

Annette Bouzi
President, OPSEU Local 415

SWF Reminders: Fall 2020

We have received a number of questions from faculty regarding our Fall 2020 SWFs and the college’s approach to acknowledging the realities of teaching in a pandemic. When reviewing your SWF, here are some key items to be mindful of:

  1. Course preparation factor: Our position as a local is that a course we are teaching for the first time online should be credited as “NEW” on our SWFs. This is in addition to time that must be allotted to redevelop or convert the course.
  2. Complimentary functions: Development time should be reflected here and should capture the amount of time actually required to convert the course. In our collective agreement, there is no set formula for determining the amount of time needed for this work. As such, faculty should request the time that is appropriate for their particular circumstance. You are encouraged to ask questions about all complimentary functions that you are being assigned so that you are in a position to determine if the time attributed is appropriate.
  3. Evaluation factor: there are a number of ways that evaluation factors can be impacted by remote delivery. For instance, if you need to assess work differently and an “In Process” evaluation factor no longer applies, you are entitled to a revised factor.

The SWF is a very important tool in establishing the parameters of our work. Teaching in a pandemic has created an increase in faculty workload, which must be adequately captured on our SWF. Should you feel that your SWF is not a reflection of your workload, you have the right to refer it to the Workload Monitoring Group by checking the appropriate box. A union member of the WMG will then connect with you in order to begin the resolution process.

If you have questions, please connect with us at COMMS@locallines.org or extension 7716 and a steward will get back to you as soon as possible.  

In solidarity,

Your Local 415 Executive & Workload Monitoring Group

Annette Bouzi (President, WMG Member), David Haley (First Vice-President), Enrico DeFrancesco (Second Vice-President, WMG Member), Pat Kennedy (Chief Steward), Judy Puritt (Secretary, WMG Member), Shawn Pentecost (Treasurer), Scott Fewer (WMG Member)

Local Update May 2020

We hope that you are staying safe and prioritizing your wellbeing during these times. We all have many questions about how the next several months will unfold and our local will continue to share new information with you as it becomes available to us. Please continue to reach out with specific questions and comments about your own situation at COMMS@locallines.org or extension 7716 and a steward will get back to you as soon as possible.  

Below are some key areas we are monitoring as the college continues to navigate the pandemic:

  • Faculty workload – During a non-teaching period, article 11.08 of our Collective Agreement applies. This means that a manager does not unilaterally assign work. Rather, “activities will be undertaken by mutual consent and agreement will not be unreasonably withheld.” This non-teaching period may also be a good time to use your 10 days of Professional Development. If you have any concerns about work expectations during a non-teaching period, please reach out.

  • SWFs – During a teaching period, all work assigned must be reflected on your SWF. The pandemic does not change this. While discussing your SWF with your manager, please feel free to reach out to us for advice, as many colleagues already have. Additionally, if at any point during the semester your SWF is no longer a reflection of your workload, you maintain the right to refer it to the Workload Monitoring Group.

  • Employment stability – There is a rigorous process under our Collective Agreement that must be followed should the college plan to displace or reduce the number of full-time faculty. To date, the college has not given the local any indication that this process is being considered. We are continuously monitoring data and will leverage all options to maintain our full faculty complement. While the college has suspended hiring in most areas, it has continued with the hiring process for a number of full-time faculty positions scheduled to start in Fall 2020.

  • Working from home – We maintain workplace accommodation and health and safety rights while working from home. Additionally, the college has stated that reasonable expenses will be reimbursed.

The OPSEU Executive Board passed a motion to postpone all usual spring General Membership Meetings (GMM) until such time as we are able to gather in person. Our union local executive committee continues to meet virtually, and stewards are still available to meet with you by virtual appointment. Know that your local remains active in discussions with the college to ensure faculty rights are protected.

In solidarity,

Annette Bouzi
President, OPSEU Local 415

Update for Partial-load faculty

Earlier today, the College announced that it will be extending Winter term partial-load contracts previously scheduled to end mid-April to May 1, 2020. The local had been advocating for the College to compensate part-time faculty for time spent on COVID-19-related additional work, including the extension of the grade deadline and we are encouraged that the College has taken the right approach here.

This week we are also learning that the College has continued to reduce course delivery for the summer, which is unfortunately adding stress for all part-time faculty. If you have learned that you will not have a contract for the Spring/Summer term, federal and provincial governments have announced a number of support measures to help mitigate the financial impact. Below is some general information:

If you have any questions or concerns about your individual situation, please contact us at COMMS@locallines.org and a steward will get back to you as soon as possible.

In solidarity,

Annette Bouzi
President, OPSEU Local 415

Local Update Spring 2020 Semester

While the College previously announced its general plan for a May 19 start to the Spring 2020 semester, implementation details are now unfolding. As you begin discussions with your Chair about your revised assignments, below are some things to keep in mind.

  • For our Partial-load colleagues, if you are asked to be involved with any development work between semesters, you should be compensated accordingly.
  • For our Full-time colleagues, our position as a local has always been that the SWF must capture all work assigned. As such, request appropriate time for course development and delivery mode due to the change in modality.
  • The number of revised teaching contact hours on a SWF should be reasonably similar to those originally assigned;
  • Our Collective Agreement provides for 10 days of Professional Development time – 5 of which can be used in sequence. These days can be used for opportunities that faculty deem appropriate for professional growth.

During the pandemic, while we are working remotely, SWFs can be completed by e-mail. You may agree to your revised SWF or, if you feel it is not reflective of the work you are being asked to do, exercise your right to refer it to the Workload Monitoring Group (WMG).

Other matters of concern are the timing of annual leave and appropriate workplace accommodations, including for those caring for family members. If you have any questions about your situation, please reach out to us at COMMS@locallines.org or extension 7716 and a steward will get back to you as soon as possible.

As you focus on your wellness and delivering quality work during these challenging times, be assured that we continue to press the College for faculty rights and adherence to our Collective Agreement.

In solidarity,

Annette Bouzi
President, OPSEU Local 415

Update #4 on COVID-19

On Friday, we all received the College’s framework for the Spring 2020 semester. The College has not yet confirmed how it will implement any of the details of the semester. We have secured its commitment to revising SWFs and sharing information with the Local as it becomes available.

The Local has not agreed to any matters regarding the Spring 2020 semester. We have put forward our membership’s concerns on a broad range of issues including workload, intellectual property matters, teaching hours for partial-load members and full-time faculty vacation.

We continue to voice faculty issues and to ensure adherence to our Collective Agreement. When the COVID-19 pandemic is over, we are pushing for Algonquin College to be remembered as an employer that did its part to create climate of security for workers, in a time when we so need it. Holding the College to account in all aspects of our work is what we will continue to do.

If you have any questions, please e-mail COMMS@locallines.org or leave us a message at (613) 727-4723 Ext. 7716. We will provide a timely response to your e-mail or call.

In solidarity,

Annette Bouzi
President, OPSEU Local 415

Part-Time Faculty Professional Development Compensation (March 14 to 27, 2020)

In recent discussions, we learned that the College will compensate sessional, part-time and partial-load faculty for certain professional development hours completed at Learning and Teaching Services (LTS) between March 14 and 27 to prepare for the change in delivery mode to courses. The details are as follows:

  • Partial-load, sessional and part-time faculty who participate in LTS-delivered sessions related to alternate delivery of courses will be paid $25/hour for time spent in the sessions;
  • Those who complete one or more of the following Employee Learning courses will also be compensated: EDU2001, EDU2002, EDU2003; and
  • There is a cap of 15 hours for this paid training, which must take place between March 14 and March 27.

We encourage you to contact your manager for further details and to claim this compensation.

In solidarity,

Annette Bouzi
President, OPSEU Local 415

Update #3 on COVID-19

We hope you are all keeping well during this difficult time. Recognizing that we are inundated with COVID-19 e-mails, and that the situation is constantly changing, our communication to you will be streamlined.

The two most common questions we are receiving from faculty concern (1) intellectual property rights and (2) our pay. Here is what we know now:

  • The Academic Division of OPSEU (CAAT-A) has prepared some guidance regarding copyright, which is attached here. While there is always general concern about our work and intellectual property rights, the author of the document is of the view that the material we are creating now is not likely to be used by colleges in a way that would cause harm to our jobs. Further, in discussions with President Brulé, he confirmed to me that the work we are preparing now is to save the semester – not a permanent solution – and the College would not mandate it so.
  • The College has already stated that it will reimburse reasonable equipment expenses related to working from home, such as headsets and microphones. We advocated for clarity on additional expenses and the College confirmed that it will reimburse faculty for reasonable out of pocket expenses related to COVID-19, with approval from their manager, as posted here.
  • Everyone will continue to be paid at our current rates – this was confirmed and can be reviewed here on the HR FAQ website (Q2 and Q3)

The situation is constantly changing. We continue to closely monitor it and advocate for faculty.

In solidarity,

Annette Bouzi
President, OPSEU Local 415

Update #2 on COVID-19

We have been monitoring all COVID-19 developments closely and regularly communicating with both the College and our OPSEU colleagues across the province. These are certainly difficult and extraordinary times.

We are encouraged by Algonquin College’s decision to make alternate work arrangements more broadly available – this is a decision we were advocating the College to make over the weekend. The health and well-being of all faculty and community members are of paramount concern.

While the situation is still in flux, we know that all faculty, including part-time, sessional, and partial-load members, will continue to be paid at our current rates during the temporary suspension of classes. We recommend that faculty track the hours of work put into completing all tasks related to modifying your courses for new delivery modes.

Finally, below is a list of resources should you need the support. In the turmoil of the current moment, let us remember to take good care of each other and ourselves.

In solidarity,

Annette Bouzi
President, OPSEU Local 415

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