Official Website for OPSEU Local 415

Partial-Load Update – September

Hopefully you have had a good start to the semester, and you have settled into a routine balancing Algonquin with your home life. You will have seen a few messages that have been sent to all of our OPSEU 415 faculty members in recent weeks; however, this message is specifically directed to you as contract faculty.

Reminder – Registry Closes on October 30

One of the significant gains that our union achieved in the last round of bargaining is the Partial-Load Registry. In order to be eligible for priority hiring in the 2021 calendar year, you must register your interest before the October 30, 2020 deadline. Even if you have filled in the Partial-Load Registry on a previous year, you must complete it again for this year. You can find the link here.

Partial-Load Hardship Fund

We recognize that the start of the semester can be challenging – even more so with the current COVID-19 climate. The stewards of our local voted in favour of establishing a hardship fund to provide interim support to our contract faculty colleagues in need. If you are a contract faculty member, who was Partial-Load in the Fall 2019, Winter 2020 or Spring 2020 terms, but have not been assigned Partial-Load status Fall 2020 or have seen a decrease in your expected teaching hours, you may be entitled to receive a grant of $250 from the Local’s Partial-Load Hardship Fund. The fund has $8,800 earmarked for this term. Claims will be processed in the order they are received, until monies run out. The application form is here.

As ever, if you have questions about your rights as a Partial-Load member please feel free to reach out to the local. We 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 or call (613) 727-4723 ext. 7716.

In solidarity,

Martin Lee (he/him)
Local 415 Steward | Partial-Load Liaison

Joint Occupational Health and Safety (JOHS) COVID-19 Update

Dear Colleagues,

Following President Brulé’s communique regarding a COVID-19 case, please be reminded that the COVID-19 Training and FAQs are both posted on the college Coronavirus Information site. As stated in the communique, “the College is working directly with Ottawa Public Health to assist them in contact tracing. Any members of the College community who may be directly impacted by this will be contacted accordingly.”

Ottawa Public Health guidelines are being followed and we have received an update from Risk Management that anyone from the academic area who may have been exposed has already been contacted.

Documentation is essential for anything related to health and safety. Therefore, it is important that when notifying your Chair about any illness/injury concerns, that you do so in writing and keep copies of all communications. We also encourage you to fill out this OPSEU questionnaire if you believe or know that you have been exposed to COVID-19 (whether working on-campus or remotely), in addition to reporting to the college.

If you have any questions or concerns about health and safety or regarding information you are receiving within the department, please contact us at wymanl@algonquincollege.com and lamarcj1@algonquincollege.com. Messages submitted through COMMS@locallines.org will also be forwarded to us.

Stay safe,

Leslie Wyman & JP Lamarche
JOHSC Representatives (Woodroffe Campus)

Joint Occupational Health and Safety (JOHS) COVID-19 Update – September

Dear Colleagues,

As mentioned in our July message, the Local 415 Joint Occupational Health and Safety (JOHS) representatives participate on the college COVID-19 Coordinating and Workplace Return Group Committees. The planning for the spring and summer included the pilot projects for “winter teach outs” which had successful and safe results. We are still meeting and planning for the fall term as part of the same committees, and will continue to do on-campus inspections.

Employee information about returning to work, COVID-19 training, and FAQ’s are posted on the college Coronavirus Information site. In the FAQ’s there are many new answers to questions that we asked directly to the Senior Vice-President Academic, such as: “What is the strategy for faculty when a student arrives without a mask?” “What exactly are Faculty being directed to say or do?”  “Are faculty being directed to clean the work space in the classroom?”, “Who does faculty contact if they are unable to wear a mask?”, and “If a student is not feeling well in class, is the class cancelled?”.

For those classes being held on campus there is no assumption that the use of masks replaces other health and safety protocols (like hand washing) and class sizes will be limited. Upon entering campus, the requirement is for everyone to wear a mask and the college will have masks to hand out, if needed. 

The college COVID-19 Training must be completed by any employee accessing or returning to work on campus. Documentation is essential for anything related to health and safety, so it is important that you keep a copy of the certificate of completion for your own records and submit a copy to your Chair before going on campus.

Please note that when notifying your Chair about any concerns or illness/injury, we recommend that you do so in writing and keep copies of all communications. We also encourage you to fill out this OPSEU questionnaire if you believe or know that you have been exposed to COVID-19 (whether working on-campus or remotely), in addition to reporting to the college.

If you have any questions or concerns about health and safety or regarding information you are receiving within the department, please contact us at wymanl@algonquincollege.com  andlamarcj1@algonquincollege.comMessages submitted throughCOMMS@locallines.org will also be forwarded to us.

Stay safe,

Leslie Wyman & JP Lamarche
JOHSC Representatives (Woodroffe Campus)

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

Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee (JOHSC) COVID-19 Update

Dear Colleagues,

As Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee (JOHSC) representatives, we have continued to participate on the COVID-19 Coordinating and Workplace Return Planning committees throughout the spring and summer. By way of clarification, the COVID-19 Coordinating Committee has members representing all areas of the college. On the other hand, the Workplace Return Planning Committee has fewer members, whose contributions are more specifically related to logistics, including a sub-committee for on-campus inspections and planning. 

The college has prioritized its initial focus and July pilot program for “stranded” students (Woodroffe Campus – Welding, Automotive, and some Health Services; Pembroke Campus – Forestry). We have participated in on-campus inspections and the rollout of the pilot with positive feedback from faculty. Now that two weeks have passed since the pilot start, there is a review of pilot program strategies in order to plan for the next phase of class offerings. These might include “winter teach outs” to start in August, but those have yet to be confirmed or approved.  

The inspections and planning for college-approved, on-campus, fall classes (with a September start) have also started, with plans for a safe return still based on physical distancing. There is no assumption that the use of masks replaces other health and safety protocols (like hand washing) and class sizes will be limited to a number that can accommodate the two-metre distance. Upon entering campus, the requirement is for everyone to wear a mask and the college will have masks to hand out, if needed. There are some exceptions to mask use and we have asked Human Resources to provide details on the best way for faculty to have these documented. A college policy is being drafted and should be available for the end of July.

The college COVID-19 Training, which must be completed by any employee returning to work on campus, can be accessed through this link. Documentation is essential for anything related to health and safety, so it is important that you keep a copy of the certificate of completion for your own records and submit a copy to your Chair before returning to work. While all of the information in the COVID-19 training is essential, some particularly noteworthy slides include: 

  • Are employees covered by WSIB for Covid-19 infections?
  • Work Refusals
  • Mental Health and Stress
  • Stay away if you are sick
  • Exposure outside of the Workplace
  • Exposure to Covid-19 in the Workplace
  • Accident/Injury/Illness Reporting
  • Accident/Injury/Illness Exposure Reporting

Please note that when notifying your Chair about any concerns or illness/injury we recommend that you do so in writing and keep copies of all communications. We also encourage you to fill out this OPSEU questionnaire if you believe or know that you have been exposed to COVID-19, in addition to reporting to the college.

It is important to note that program plans are only approved after inspections have been completed and Risk Management reviews the strategies that will be set in place. If you have any questions or concerns about health and safety or regarding information you are receiving within the department, please contact us at wymanl@algonquincollege.com or lamarcj1@algonquincollege.com. Also, messages sent through COMMS@locallines.org will be forwarded to us. We will take action to ensure the planning meets all health and safety concerns.

Stay safe,

Leslie Wyman & JP Lamarche
JOHSC Representatives (Woodroffe Campus)

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

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