It has been a busy fall, during another challenging academic year. As we turn our minds to the next half of the semester and plans for Winter 2022, we know that there will be more challenges ahead. Below are some important union updates to ensure you stay informed.
Meetings: We have hosted a number of well-attended meetings this fall, including a Union Coffee House on Vaccinations, a General Membership Meeting (GMM), drop-in sessions for contract faculty, and several union educationals on workload. It is always heartening to see members engaged in Local affairs.
Course Renewal: We were encouraged to see the college agree to time on faculty SWFs for routine course renewal activities. As I mentioned during our fall GMM, this was not a mere benevolent gesture: it came after strong advocacy from Local 415 to capture and recognize the work that we have historically done during our non-teaching time.
Cyber Security Training: When discussing your Winter 2022 SWF with your chair, please remember that all SWFs must include 1 hour during one week for the mandatory Cyber Security training. This may seem trivial, but it is important that our SWFs capture all mandated work. Otherwise, it becomes a slippery slope of hidden and unaccounted work.
July 2 Lieu Holiday: For those faculty who were on annual leave in July, please remember to book the additional vacation day this fall for the “Employee Appreciation and Wellness Day”. This day can be taken during a teaching period. If you are experiencing challenges scheduling that day, please reach out to us.
The Local has many concerns about the college’s current plans for Winter 2022. Following the college-wide town hall in September, I wrote this letter to Senior Vice-President Academic, Chris Janzen. Late last week, the college responded to me with this message.
We recognize and appreciate that many faculty have been teaching on campus throughout the pandemic. We also know that many who have been working remotely are eager to return to some sense of normalcy on campus. However, our health and safety must be paramount. As I said in my letter to SVPA Janzen, we want the college to be remembered as an employer that did its part to keep us safe – that includes our mental wellbeing in the manner that they communicate with us. Since the start of the pandemic, our Local has advocated for the strictest health and safety protocols and we will keep pushing for this.
Please be sure to reach out with your questions about workplace accommodations. These can be arranged for many reasons: family status (including having an immuno-compromised family member), childcare obligations, or various health and disability needs. We have dedicated accommodations’ stewards to support you, so please reach out to us for assistance.
The Partial-Load (PL) Registry is an important tool to safeguard job security for our PL members. Please remember to register your name, even if you are unsure if you qualify. If you are PL and missed the October message, you can find it here.
We are now in the C215b office 1 or 2 days a week and will be increasing our on-campus presence as we prepare for Winter 2022. If you would like to meet with us in person, please let us know.
As ever, if you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to us at COMMS@locallines.org or feel free to call us with your inquiries at (613) 727-4723 ext. 7716.
President, OPSEU Local 415