Why Vote No- Special Negotiations Bulletin No. 1

OPSEU Local 415

OPSEU Local 415 is the democratically-run body that represents Algonquin College full-time and partial-load faculty (professors and instructors), cousellors, and librarians.

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Article 2: Staffing and Economic Viability

On September 11,your Local Executive Committee (LEC) passed the following motion:

The LEC of Local 415 recommends that the membership vote to reject the memorandum of settlement.

Here is a look at why.

Article 2: Negative Impact on Full-time and Partial Load Faculty including staffing, the cost of LTD, and the impact on pensions

perhaps the biggest takeaway in this offer is the moratorium on Article 2 (Staffing)grievances. This strips your local of the right to grieve for full-time positions for the next three years. Article 2.02 and 2.03 as they currently exist prevent management from abusing the use of partial-load and sessional positions, and instead force the College to hire more full-time faculty. Our local as used these articles very successfully over the years to create more full-time jobs at Algonquin:160 in the last eight years.

A moratorium on this Article removes any pressure from management to do any hiring-even replacing retirees-for the next three years. Part-time, partial-load and sessional faculty can expect to see few job postings, and your chances of gaining a full-time position will be even lower.

Full-time faculty will experience huge implications as well. Our membership provincially will shrink dramatically, which will mean

1. a decrease in the number of people paying into LTD (LTD is 100% financed by full-time faculty) which means  increased LTD premiums for those still working full-time (ironically, the hike in premiums would likely offset any wage gains in the offer)

2. fewer people contributing to the pension plan which CAAT Pension confirms will have a negative impact on pensions , and

3. increase pressure to share resources and “lead” courses/supervise non-full-time faculty.

Most faculty would agree that the hiring crisis and lack of full-time faculty is one of the most difficult challenges facing our programs. This settlement will make it worse.

Article 2: What is “economic viability?”

Another change to Article 2 is management’s addition of the words “economic viability” as a reason to hire partial-load or sessional faculty rather than full-time  in any given program.

On the surface, this might seems similar to the market acceptability language that’s already in Article 2. Economic viability, however, is more insidious. Basically, with this language the College can argue that they do not have the money to hire full-time faculty, or else the program would not be economically viable. In other words, the College could say it would be too expensive for them to run a program staffed by full-time faculty.

If the College uses this argument, they would have to open their books and prove that it’s true. Remember, though, that the College sets program contributions and student enrollment targets, among other factors and can change those at their will to demonstrate that they can’t afford the program.

Due to the moratorium, even if we believe that the Colleges are in error, we will not be able to file a grievance to challenge them for three years. You can well imagine what will happen to the number of full-time positions during this time.

Currently, around 60% of our faculty are non-full-time. Many of them would like to become full-time. Between the moratorium and the economic viability language, we expect that the number of precarious academic workers at the college will increase substantially, while our full-time numbers will continue to decrease.

Our students deserve better learning conditions and ALL of our faculty deserve the opportunity for secure, full-time jobs.

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