Thinking of Truth and Reconciliation Day
I am haunted by the villages,
towns & cities full of ghosts,
of the generations that never unfolded
lost in the mass graves of residential schools.
The babies crying out for their mothers’ and fathers’
loving arms and caring kisses,
baby coos, family laughter, shared meals,
the hunters, the farmers, the Chiefs, the mayors
the craftspeople, the poets, the story-tellers,
immersed in nature and seasonal preparations,
the Elders imparting their wisdom,
all missing, never having had the chance to be.
It’s not only the nightmarish memories
The fear children faced alone
The hopelessness of losing your families
Of traditions just learned and never passed on,
The lost inside jokes, the choked off family vernaculars
The cruelty of the supposed saviours, lingering
Like the knots on the hangman’s noose.
These are all memories that cry for atonement.
But what of the languages that never developed,
The frozen dances in transcending circles
The well-worn paths between villages?
What of the numbers and futures
That never had the chance to celebrate
Life’s milestones? Let them
Walk with their descendants,
Heads held high with pride,
While we bend ours in shame.
September 30, 2021
Attention all rainbow-identified members: OPSEU/SEFPO’s Rainbow Alliance arc-en-ciel (RAA) will be holding monthly Queermunity town halls via Zoom on the last Wednesday of each month!
Be sure to join them as they discuss queer issues, chat about upcoming events and host guest speakers!
Register for the May 26th session with special guest speaker Jade Pichette (they/them) from Pride at Work Canada!
Watch the video below for more details!
Click here to be added to the Queermunity email list! Your welcome email will include the Zoom information.
Dates and times: Wednesday
June 30, 2021 7:30pm – 8:30pm
July 28, 2021 7:30pm – 8:30pm
August 25, 2021 7:30pm – 8:30pm
September 29, 2021 7:30pm – 8:30pm
October 27, 2021 7:30pm – 8:30pm
November 24, 2021 7:30pm – 8:30 pm
If you have any questions or would like to be a guest speaker, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
It is the time to end basic injustice and basic discrimination, a message from OPSEU and LOCAL 244
Anti-Black racism is not new.
The brutality of current events, heightened by social media’s incredible power to share and motivate, has shifted the world into action. Systemic racism is deadly real. It is deeply rooted in a painful history that has disproportionately affected Black communities for generations.
OPSEU recognizes this and will be a leader in effecting change. We are inviting all staff and members to take part in this important conversation.
Together we will create real, meaningful change – change that does not leave anyone behind.
The town hall will be hosted by well-known personality and anti-Black racism activist Farley Flex, and will feature a panel of OPSEU members – including President Warren (Smokey) Thomas and First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida – and OPSEU staff.
To accommodate different schedules, the town hall will take part in two sessions:
• Noon to 1:30 pm EST on Tuesday, July 7 • 7 to 8:30 pm EST on Tuesday, July 7
All members and staff are welcome to participate in one or both of the sessions.
There are a variety of ways to participate in either English or French.
If you’re an OPSEU member and OPSEU has your up-to-date phone number, all you have to do is pick up the phone. We’ll call you around 10 to 15 minutes before the session starts – just stay on the line and you’ll be connected to the call. (To ensure OPSEU has your most up-to-date number, please call 1-800-268-7376.)
Please note: OPSEU staff members will NOT receive one of these calls.
OPSEU members and staff can also participate by dialing in directly or over the web. Here’s how:
• 877-229-8493 (ENGLISH) o ID code: 112847 • Web streaming (English, audio-only, closed-captioning is available) o https://video.teleforumonline.com/video/streaming.php?client=12847
• 877-255-5810 (FRENCH) o ID code: 117019 • Web streaming (French, audio-only)* o https://video.teleforumonline.com/video/streaming.php?client=17019
*Please note that closed-captioning is not available in French.
Shauna-Kay graduated with a MBA in General Management, a graduate certificate in Public Administration, and an Honours B.A in Criminology and Political Science. Currently, she works as a Court and Client Representative at the Toronto Superior Court of Justice, writes for online magazines, and serves in community organizations.
Carlotta is a member from OPSEU Local 228 and currently works as a Court Clerk and Registrar for the Ministry of the Attorney General. She strives to create opportunities through education that enlighten and empower others about the importance of tolerance and compassion in the workplace so that things such as homophobia, islamophobia, and systematic racism become unbeknownst to places as diverse as the OPS and OPSEU.
Peter has worked as a Property Valuation Specialist for 30 years for the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation. He is the current Chair of OPSEU’s Coalition of Racialized Workers (CoRW) and he has been active within OPSEU in various capacities since 1992.
Evan is a Customer Service Representative for the LCBO, President of OPSEU Local 376, and the Region 3 Representative on OPSEU’s Provincial Young Workers Committee (PYC). He is a strong believer of Mahatma Gandhi’s mantra, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others,” and has applied it to his union activist life for the past five years.
Andrea McCormack is a longtime OPSEU staff member. She is a staff rep in the Hamilton office and is currently temporarily reassigned as an Employment Equity Lead. Andrea also sits on the board of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, representing Canada and the Eastern U.S.
Joscelyn came to OPSEU’s Health and Safety unit as a full-time staff member in 2016. Before that, he’d been an active OPSEU member since 1990. He has served as the local Vice-President at the Roy McMurtry Youth Centre, Vice-chair to the Ministry of Children and Youth Services, Youth Justice Divisional Health and Safety Committee, and he also proudly represented the members on the Anti-Discrimination and Systemic Change Committee (ADSC).
Farley is a community-capacity builder, social activist and entertainment industry entrepreneurial pioneer. He is the co-creator of the very successful Just Think 1st anti-violence/anti-gun violence awareness campaign, and the SAY IT LOUD national initiative to promote Black Pride and Positive Cultural Identity to Black youth funded by the Canadian Department of Heritage.
———- 30 ————
I don't say this from experience. I say this because of the unspeakably brutal images and news reports we're seeing every day. And I say this because I've always tried my best to be an active listener - and I believe first-person stories and accounts from members, friends, and colleagues.
I now know that many of my own life experiences and successes - no matter how common and achievable I may have thought them to be for everyone - were born out of privilege. A privilege that Black people have never known.
OPSEU has always fought for social justice. It's a big part of why I am so proud to be President of this great union. Our Black members and staff experience racism every day. We are committed to learning from their experiences and stories, and being an active part of the change that is so needed now.
This we know: anti-Black racism is systemic, deadly serious, and all around us. Black people are being killed in the street, but systemic racism is also killing them in health care and the criminal justice system. It is failing them in education, social services, and in the hiring practices and policies of governments and employers. OPSEU will act. But for that action to be meaningful, we must be thoughtful. We must actively listen to all Black voices in order to learn the truth, and most importantly, to understand.
We are very aware that silence is not an option. We will be loud. We see the marches and hear the voices calling for change - many of those voices belong to OPSEU members and staff. As a union, we are taking time for pause and deliberation. We must ensure our next moves benefit Black people and amplify their voices, while educating and mobilizing the masses. We haven't always gotten it right. But we want to get this right.
We are committed to being allies with the Black community and creating real change. We also acknowledge that systemic change requires ongoing work and long-term commitment. OPSEU is taking the lead. We will continue to push to ensure that all Black lives matter. And when I say all Black lives matter, I mean ALL Black lives: female, male, trans, and LGBTQ2+.
We will create a space for conversations and make room to hear from the people who know best what is needed: our Black members and staff.
In the coming days we promise to provide details for our first initiative and continue the conversation.
We stand in solidarity,
Warren (Smokey) Thomas OPSEU President
– 30 –
These three words best describe a global community’s feelings of hurt, heartbreak, and frustration in response to the recent police-involved and unnecessary deaths of black people in Canada and in the United States.
Regis Korchinski-Paquet was a 29 year old black woman from Toronto who died on May 27, 2020. Toronto Police responded to a domestic incident where they observed a woman on the balcony of the 24th floor. A short time later, Korchinski-Paquet fell and died on the scene.
George Floyd was a 46 year old black man from Minneapolis who died on May 25, 2020. While handcuffed and lying face down, Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, kept his knee on the right side of Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. Floyd was already unresponsive for 2 minutes and 53 seconds of that time. ‘I can’t breathe’ were Floyd’s last words. They were reminiscent of Eric Garner’s last words, a black man who died in 2014, when NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo put him in a chokehold during an attempted arrest. Garner repeated these words 11 times while lying face down on the sidewalk.
Breonna Taylor was a 26 year old black woman and Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). She was killed on March 13, 2020 during a botched raid in her home in Louisville, Kentucky. Breonna was shot at least eight times while asleep. Police were in search of a suspect related to a drug investigation who was already in custody.
Ahmaud Arbery was a 25 year old black man who was killed on February 23, 2020 in Brunswick near Glynn County, Georgia. He was pursued by Travis and Gregory McMichael, two armed white civilians, on a Sunday afternoon while he was doing what he loved – jogging. Gregory, the senior McMichael, used to work for the Glynn County Police Department. The accused were arrested 74 days after Arbery’s death and it was predominantly because the video of his death went viral and community members from across the United States condemned the incident.
This is what racism in 2020 looks like.
The protests in Canada, the United States, and Europe have demonstrated a strong commitment from people of all races and backgrounds to speak out against systemic racism. It is a well-known fact that Black communities in particular, are subjected to higher rates of scrutiny and incarceration by the criminal justice system. The very system that is supposed to serve and protect has continuously failed racialized citizens.
“I am deeply saddened that in 2020, racism and injustice towards the Black community continues to look like this with unnecessary lives being lost” said OPSEU President, Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “I support the peaceful protests because people understandably want to be heard and they deserve answers. Strong leaders are those who are willing to sit down, listen and engage in difficult conversations because that is the only way for meaningful change to happen” he added.
In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed how Black communities are disproportionately affected on many socio-economic levels. For instance, they are more likely to have lower paying, precarious jobs which are easily subject to layoffs. They are also more likely to suffer from chronic illnesses and have higher uninsured rates which limits their access to healthcare. And finally, they are more likely to live in substandard housing or are homeless which makes them more susceptible to infectious diseases. Living in poverty also makes it difficult to abide by social distancing measures. Many low income families have to rely on one another to help make ends meet. Many have to go to work even in the absence of any health and safety measures. They also have no choice but to pool together resources like sharing cars and living spaces.
Moreover, Black parents have to sit with their children and explain to them that they may be stopped, arrested or even shot because of their skin colour.
“These are the realities for Black people living in North America today” said Peter Thompson, Chair of OPSEU’s Coalition of Racialized Workers. “Fixing the underlying conditions of systemic racism, all of which date back to when Black people were first brought here as slaves, is the reason for these protests” he added.
To be ‘shocked’ is not enough. To be ‘wowed’ is not a sign of solidarity. To be ‘complacent’ is not acceptable. But more importantly, to remain silent is a condonation that basic injustice and basic discrimination towards Black people does not exist. It is time to put an end to this unfair treatment because Black lives matter.
—– 30 —–
On behalf of our Sheridan faculty, counsellors and librarians, Local 244 of OPSEU stands in support of our LGBTQ+ community and is proud to be a part of the Pride Month 2020 celebrations.
As a union, we both believe in and promote equality and a harassment-free work environment, along with tackling discrimination in our communities, unions and homes.
The OPSEU Rainbow Alliance arc-en-ciel is an alliance that provides representation and support to our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, intersex, asexual, queer, questioning, two-spirited (LGBTTIAQQ2S) members.
One of Rainbow Alliance’s initiatives is a Safe Schools Campaign where members are working to make schools safe and inclusive for all and encourages schools to adopt proactive discrimination and harassment policies, along with ensuring inclusive curriculum and positive role models.
Here at Sheridan, we the faculty, along with ALL members of our great Sheridan community, support and uphold the ideals of diversity, equity and inclusion for all.
OPSEU Faculty Union Local 244
Sheridan College, Oakville Ontario
For more information on OPSEU’s Rainbow Alliance arc-en-ciel:
March 12, 2020
I won’t go into the pandemic facts; no doubt you are all keeping informed. There are some good websites below.
What might be news for you is that, like Sheridan, all Ontario colleges have suspended or strictly curtailed international travel. Laurentian University has closed their buildings and put all classes online because one of their professors was found to have Corona virus. Many of my Local President peers from across the province have reported that their colleges are making plans, or at least opening discussions on possible building closings and online alternatives to save this semester.
Your CAAT-A Union communication lines across the province are humming. Besides the paramount safety concerns, we must monitor and plan strategies for the Labour concerns that might arise from modified learning delivery. RM Kennedy, our Divisional Executive Chair summed it up succinctly.
Some of the issues we are centering on, include, but are not limited to:
- the assumption that faculty have the technological ability or even home infrastructure to teach online
- workload tracking
- intellectual property, in light of a mass dump of material online
- sick days for contract faculty
- complex accommodations for students (with workload implications)
At Sheridan we have started preliminary talks with the College. COVID-19 is the main agenda item at our Union College Committee (UCC) meeting coming up this Monday. I will bring up the pandemic concerns later today with our President and Vice-President Academic with whom I sit on the Senate Executive Committee. I expect that they too are in discussions.
Although I would like to have more information for you, I felt it important to let you know that your Local Union is very concerned and active. I will report back as new information surfaces. For sure I will update you on what we learn at the UCC on Monday.
Wash your hands, stay home if you’re sick or if you know that you have been in contact with someone who has the virus. These are strange times, we will adjust.
Some pertinent links:
Laurentian Classes Cancellation
Live Coronavirus Tracker (refresh to update)
Ontario Ministry of Health
Charter Challenges: Cancellation of the College Task Force & Back-To-Work Legislation
It was on June 29, 2018, immediately after he became the Premier of Ontario, that Doug Ford decided to cancel the College Task Force, a committee created to address and resolve key issues from the last round of bargaining. As a result, the members of the Task Force filed a Charter challenge regarding this cancellation on September 5, 2018, bringing our Charter challenge count to two. Recall that in 2017, a Charter challenge was filed regarding Bill 178, the back-to-work legislation. The injustice of the cancellation of the Task Force, which was set up to resolve issues that were not resolved after we were unconstitutionally legislated back to work, is obvious.
Both of these charter challenges continue to work their way steadily through the courts. Affidavits and replies have been filed by both sides, and we continue to meet with our legal teams as we eagerly await dates for next steps.
On April 11, 2018, the Ford government announced that 60% (by 2025) of Ontario post- secondary funding would be linked to performance metrics determined by them through the SMA3 process. This is a remarkable jump from the 2-3% proposed by the previous government and raises many concerns for our sector around employment stability and quality of education.
The colleges are expected to have these metrics finalized by Spring 2020 for its implementation beginning in the 2020-2021 academic year.
The funding will be based on ten metrics – nine that are system-wide metrics and one institution-specific metric for colleges:
1. Graduate earnings
2. Experiential learning
3. Skills and competencies
4. Graduate employment
5. Institutional strength and focus
6. Graduation rate
7. Apprenticeship-related metric
8. Innovation: Industry Funding
9. Community / Local Impact
10. Institution-specific Economic Impact Metric
These metrics will be phased in over a three-year period beginning in 2020. In addition, colleges are also required to report on faculty compensation and faculty workload (reporting metrics). These reporting metrics do not affect performance funding.
Colleges that fail to meet the government set targets around these metrics stand to lose a significant portion of their government funding. Further, these measures are likely to have a negative impact on access to education, since students who require more supports aren't likely to be recruited or targeted by colleges concerned with meeting government set retention targets (Institutional strength/focus metric).
The implementation of the new SMA3s may result in serious change to the mandate of the colleges, and a potential violation of the Letter of Understanding in our CA on changes to a college's mandate or objects. The DivEx is consulting with the OPSEU Grievance Department on next steps in this area, while continuing discussions about the SMA3s and its impact with Council through EERC. We will keep you posted on further developments as they arise.
In February 2019, the MTCU invited the DivEx to a very last-minute consultation on the topic of
“Postsecondary Education: Sustainability and Renewal.” While named “faculty renewal”, the
content of the consultation seemed to be related to concerns about the aging PSE workforce
and “pension double dipping”, or in other words, employees who continue to work past 65 and
who also collect pension. In the consultation, the DivEx reiterated that this circumstance is
statistically insignificant in the college system. At the same time, we insisted on the value of
employees over the age of 65, and the fact that faculty often need to work later in their lives
because they begin their careers as professors later (on average at age 42). We also made the point that faculty renewal should be based on hiring more entry level faculty, not getting rid of older ones.
In June 2019, the DivEx met with the Ministry again to offer feedback on their discussion paper on sustainability and renewal. While we respect the government’s move to improve the system, we were deeply concerned by the narrow focus of the MTCU discussion paper. We were also alarmed that the MTCU report stigmatizes older workers. Their focus appeared to be on faculty who work full-time while collecting a pension. As previously mentioned, there are very few members in our system who fall into this category. We offered the Deputy Minister our comments, along with written feedback following the meeting, and asked for a meeting with Minister Romano to address any outstanding concerns or questions he might have. To date, we have not received a reply from Romano.
It appears that this entire misguided process is the government’s attempt to reverse the elimination of mandatory retirement that was enacted back in 2006. All of this is merely a distraction from the real issues facing the post-secondary education system in Ontario. The sustainability and renewal of post-secondary education would be best achieved through the following key actions:
1. Properly fund the public post-secondary education system.
2. Reinstate the Joint Task Force which has a mandate to improve the system.
3. Create full-time, permanent jobs that support the economy and quality education.
4. Ensure that students have access to education, unhampered by funding issues, and recognizing that education is a right.
In 2017, the Bargaining Team worked toward a Letter of Understanding that the parties would meet to discuss making our Collective Agreement compliant with the at-the-time unfinalized Bill 148 Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act. Bill 148 eventually did bring many positive changes for workers in Ontario, including equal pay for contract and permanent workers. Unfortunately, the Ford Government’s anti-worker repeal of Bill 148 with Bill 47 left us with few options to try to preserve the gains made by Bill 148 in our CA.
On October 21, 2019, we presented the last two viable issues left after the Bill 148 repeal: vacation pay for partial load faculty and the Employment Standards Act (ESA) personal leaves. In his recent decision, Kaplan did award the explicit inclusion of the ESA leaves into our collective agreement; however, he did not award any additional vacation pay for partial load faculty due to the collective agreement language that states that “A portion of the hourly rate for partial-load teachers is in lieu of vacation pay.” In our next round of negotiations, we will need to address this language and continue to fight for fairness for our contract faculty.
Several OLRB hearings occurred in 2018-2019, where the College Employer Council continued with its relentless delay tactics. One of the most important topics in question at these hearings concerned who belongs to the part-time academic bargaining unit. OPSEU argued that all academic duties are relevant, and thus should count towards determining an individual’s employment status. The Council argued that only teaching contact hours (TCH) should be counted. In late August 2019, the OLRB ruled in favour of Council, stating that only TCH, and not other academic ancillary duties such as coordination or curriculum development, were relevant in considering whether an individual falls within the part-time academic bargaining unit. This decision was a setback to recent arbitration decisions, such as the Parmar/St. Lawrence award, that allowed contract faculty to combine teaching and non-teaching academic work to make the case for sessional 12/24 roll overs. Nonetheless, DivEx sought a legal opinion on the implications of this OLRB decision which suggests that we still have solid ground to continue arguing for all academic work to be considered when determining an employee’s status.
Earlier this year, OPSEU filed a freeze violation against George Brown College in response to the College rolling back personal emergency leave days for non-unionized contract faculty. GBC did this after we filed the certification application to unionize part-time and sessional faculty, effectively changing their working conditions, claiming that they “had to” due to Ford rolling back workers' rights with Bill 47.
We had a hearing at the Ontario Labour Relations Board on October 3, 2019. The union's position is simple: that although this is a fairly unique set of circumstances in that the employment standards legislation changed twice after the certification application was filed in June 2017, the college was nonetheless wrong when it rolled back the personal emergency leave days without seeking the union's consent.
When Bill 148 came into effect January 1, 2018, changes to the Employment Standards Act resulted in enhanced entitlements to all workers, including those in the colleges. Contract faculty enjoyed those enhancements, which the college was obligated to apply, until Fall 2018, when the government passed Bill 47. While the colleges were obligated to apply the enhanced entitlements to the ESA, they were under no obligation to withdraw any of them, and their unilateral exercise of employer discretion in reducing those terms violates the freeze provision of the Colleges Collective Bargaining Act.
We are currently researching cases at Niagara, Fanshawe, and Centennial, where college administrators have unilaterally decided to roll back other enhancements, including wages or planned pay increases. In many cases, the colleges continue to assert that they have been directed by Council to enact these punitive measures, while we have made it perfectly clear that the union will consent, if asked, to changes that actually enhance conditions for contract faculty. OPSEU pressed further on the matter, and on November 4, 2019, Ed Ogibowski, Supervisor of the Organizing Unit at OPSEU, sent an official letter to Graham Lloyd, CEO of College Employer Council, shaming the CEC for its unprofessional and unlawful decision to withhold a scheduled wage increase for part-time faculty at Centennial. In addition, he also provides clear written notice to the CEC that OPSEU fully consents to the wage increase.
We encourage Locals to ask at your Union College Committee meetings, or in any forum where you are meeting with admin at your college, about planned or existing rollbacks to wages or leaves for contract faculty, as well as why they have chosen to reduce working conditions. Sheridan has not yet initiated a roll-back, but they have not committed to keeping it so.
The Feet on the Ground program, run by the Workers’ Action Centre, began in February 2019 and will be concluding in November 2019. The purpose of the program is to train participants to develop leadership and community organizing skills. OPSEU sponsored 3 contract faculty (1 GTA, 2 non-GTA) to participate in this program. These members currently teach at Algonquin College, Niagara College, and Humber/Centennial College. Our participants have successfully held Contract Faculty Info Session presentations at their respective colleges, inviting contract faculty to learn about their rights, and to get the latest update on issues facing precarious workers. As the program begins to wrap up, the DivEx would like to thank our 3 contract faculty for their dedication and courage in participating in this program. It is our hope that they will continue their organizing work at their respective colleges, and that their Locals will continue to support them in their work.
With the new Articles 26.10 D and 26.10 E language in the Collective Agreement, many colleges did not agree with the Union’s interpretation of how the Partial-Load Registry should be implemented. This led to 3 central Union grievances being filed by OPSEU in Fall 2018. Two grievances were heard by Arbitrator Knopf, and in August 2019, ruled upon. The CEC refused to consolidate the third - and arguably most important - Union grievance, which relates to whether priority hiring is based on individual courses or course bundles. While this Union grievance is still in play, we await a ruling on an individual grievance out of Niagara College that deals with the same question.
The first grievance heard by Knopf questions the issue of the Registry itself: who maintains it, what information must be in it, and what information must be shared? The ruling says that the Colleges must maintain the Registry. The Registry must include all courses taught by partial- load faculty as of October 2017, regardless of their status when they taught the course (part- time, partial-load, full-time, sessional). In other words, courses that are taught while on part- time status must be recorded in the Registry as well. For courses taught prior to October 2017, the Colleges are not required to import faculty’s teaching history. If faculty can demonstrate that they have taught a specific course prior to October 2017, then it will also count as a previously-taught course in the Registry.
While the College is responsible for keeping and maintaining the Registry, it has no obligation to provide the Union with the copy of the Registry. However, Knopf strongly encourages the College to provide specific information on individual cases when requested by the Union, in order to quickly resolve matters rather than moving through the grievance process.
The second grievance heard by Knopf questions whether courses taught by a partial-load member while not in partial-load status should have any priority hiring rights. While Knopf stresses the value in hiring someone who has previously taught the course, she declares that it cannot be possible for someone who is not in the bargaining unit (part-time/sessional faculty) to gain any type of partial-load rights. Even though a registered partial-load employee who only taught the course as a part-time faculty would have no hiring rights for that course, Knopf emphasizes that it would be prudent for the College to hire that individual over someone else with no course experience.
While this ruling provides some guidance to locals, many nuances still exist, and the full shape of the Registry will be clearer when we get a decision on the so-called bundling question. If your local is seeing a trend in hiring practices that violate the Registry, please let your DivEx member know.
The Division currently has 2 strong academic freedom cases scheduled for arbitration. The first, out of Humber College, considers a faculty member’s academic freedom rights in relation to a student’s final grade and the processes by which their final grade is determined. Does the college have the right to unilaterally assign a passing grade, without consulting the professor, even though the student has committed several academic infractions? Can the college violate its own Academic Regulations in hopes of pssing a student? Does the college have discretion to award a student a passing grade without any clear policy in place to do so? Hearing dates on this case are scheduled into 2022.
The second case, out of Centennial College, concerns a faculty member’s academic freedom as it relates to professional development activities. In addition, it questions who has the authority to decide academic activities during non-teaching periods and the limits that can be imposed on the employer’s demand to schedule their own activities during 11.08 time. This case was heard on November 7, 2019.
The DivEx is continuing to work with OPSEU legal and assisting Locals in putting forth strong academic freedom cases. If you think you may have an academic freedom case, please contact the DivEx immediately so that we can provide you the best support possible.
Given the Ford government's announcement that 60% of post-secondary funding will be linked to performance metrics, the DivEx is suggesting that Locals convene a meeting of their College Employment Stability Committee (CESC) to proactively gather information, and plan for mitigating any negative impact to faculty.
By starting these conversations now via the CESC process, which is well within the scope of Articles 27 and 28, we stand a chance of shaping the outcomes at our colleges.
The DivEx recommends CESC rather than UCC as the mechanism for these conversations because of the inherent timelines of the CESC. For example, as per Article 27.05 (iii), if a member of the CESC requests a meeting within 3 calendar days of the CESC process being initiated, the committee shall meet within 7 calendar days to discuss the planned staff reduction, the circumstances giving rise to it etc. Through CESC, these conversations will stay on track, meetings will occur regularly, and we will receive information in a timely manner from our colleges.
CESC discussions will also give us the opportunity to ask our colleges about their budgets and how they plan to address this potential funding shortfall. If you are unfamiliar with your college's budgeting process, use the CESC meetings to have them explain it.
The depth and breadth of knowledge from our Local leaders across the 24 college is immense. This, we have seen in action at our Divisional Meetings and Educationals, through the mentorship shared in our Google Groups, and through the committee work that individuals participate in on behalf of the Division throughout the year. What we have lacked is a way to amalgamate and share information about our Division, including useful tools and resources available to locals that new leaders would benefit from. Thus was born the Introduction to OPSEU and CAAT-A manual, or the College Faculty manual for short. The DivEx hopes that this manual will help facilitate new CAAT-A leaders transitioning into their roles by offering structured information about our Division, our members, and the resources available to all Locals. This manual can be used as a quick-access guide for information, as a tool for building local capacity, as well as to facilitate internal organizing through member education.
This manual is a living document and will be updated annually to reflect the changing landscape of our Division. At the request of the Local, a DivEx member can meet with your local to provide a more detailed walkthrough of the manual. Special thanks to DivEx member Pearline Lung for spearheading this project.
There are many more issues on the radar that DivEx is aware of and working on, including:
Here is the link to the Frequently Asked Questions and to the self-registration form:
In other news…
You have no doubt read about the contract disputes of the CUPE educational support workers; a strike was averted at the last hour on the Sunday night with a strike to begin Monday morning. And now the Catholic School Board and the OSSTF are going to vote in the next few days on whether they will be going on strike. If they do, we will support them just as they supported us during our strike in the Fall of 2017.
The point is, our next round of bargaining is coming up in a year and a half, so perhaps we can judge by what happens to our high-school colleagues as a view to how the Ford government will negotiate with us.
In its intransigence to unionize part-time teachers in the Ontario College System, the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) has ruled that only teaching hours can be counted to decide whether a contract teacher is part-time, partial-load or sessional. This has a dire implication for eroding the current rights of our PL Profs. This means, for example, that a person who holds a contract for 6 hours of teaching and another contract for 3 hours of curriculum development is considered a part-time employee (6 hours of teaching or less a week), not a partial load employee (7-12 hours of teaching a week) and that a person who holds only a contract for curriculum development (or other ancillary academic duties) but no contract for teaching contact hours, is a support staff employee, not an academic employee. Our Divisional Executive is currently engaged with OPSEU lawyers to fight this decision.
More news as events unfold.
President, OPSEU Local 244
The CEC, our old “friends” from the last strike, are up to their old tricks once again. The College Employer Council is (once again) obstructing efforts to count the votes from the precarious, part-time workers at our Colleges who are trying to unionize.
OPSEU head office has started to circulate an electronic petition. A copy of this petition will be delivered to the CEC, the president of each College, and the board of governors of each College. You can help out the plight of our precarious part-time workers by signing the petitions:
At this time, there is no word as to whether or not the CEC is going to be sending out the College presidents with Timbits in an effort to pacify us.
Greetings Sheridan Faculty,
October 15 Day of Action: With the anniversary of the Strike of 2017 approaching, two of our major wins are threatened. To raise awareness amongst ourselves and to the provincial government, we are asking that you sign petitions outlining our dissatisfaction as a first step towards political action.
With a swipe of his pen, our provincial premier cancelled pages 117 and 118 of our Collective Agreement. That Letter of Understanding outlined the scope of deliberation and makeup of the joint union/management Committee charged with exploring the directions of the Ontario Colleges into the next 50 years. What does Premier Ford have in mind? OPSEU, for our CAAT-A Division, is challenging the cancellation. The College Employer Council, the other signatory to the task force initiative, is not. They must like the idea.
What’s next - cancelling pages 27, 29 (Full-time salaries), 51, 52, 53 (Partial-Load salaries)? How about Article 11 (Workload limits)? How does 20 to 22 Teaching Contact Hours/week (TCH), sound to you as per pre-1986 workloads (pre-Collective Agreement)? I’m sure it would be music to the College Employer Council’s ears. Just increasing everyone’s workload by three TCHs at Sheridan would do more than decrease the quality of education. 600 profs X 3 = 1800 TCHs, if the average prof teaches 5 three-hour courses, that would be a savings of 1800/15 = 120 jobs; it all adds up to massive lay-offs.
And our sacrifice of 5 weeks of pay to address the ‘precarious work’ part-timers suffer, which would have been ameliorated by Bill 148 – is now also under threat of nullification.
Please bolster our legal challenge by signing our petitions next Monday October 15 between 11:00 and 2:00. Your Faculty Union will have tables set up at each campus where you can sign petitions, grab a Girl Guides cookie and chat about the union initiatives mentioned in this email.
Davis – Cafeteria, just inside the doors of the cafeteria
HMC – Old Security desk by A145 lecture hall
Trafalgar – C-Wing pit, past the bookstore over the bridge
John Dewey - “It is advisable that the teacher should understand, and even be able to criticize, the general principles upon which the whole educational system is formed and administered. He is not like a private soldier in an army, expected merely to obey, or like a cog in a wheel, expected merely to respond to and transmit external energy; he must be an intelligent medium of action.“
Please recognize the pronoun use does not accommodate current accuracies, but as in its time (1895) was considered inclusive. JU
Your Local Faculty Union, which played a major role in lobbying for and participating in the Formative Faculty Evaluation Policy, now intends to spread the self-improvement initiative to management. In the fullest sense of Academic Freedom, where managers are elected from the Faculty body for limited terms before returning to Faculty, we are hoping to enhance the transparency between management decisions and Faculty responsibilities to our students. We are currently working on an anonymous survey to be distributed annually, whereby Faculty can evaluate and comment on their managers’ successful leadership.
More on this transparency initiative in the coming months with the expectation that the first MESS Survey will take place this Spring.
Please be sure to come by our tables next Monday.
Last week, our Divisional Executive received a letter that the newly installed provincial government has announced that they are terminating the Taskforce that was implemented under the Kaplan Award following our strike – even though it is in our CA, page 117.
The Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities states that they will consider the work already undertaken by the Taskforce in order to establish their future direction. We will be holding them to that task and working hard to put forward our unresolved issues concerning precarious work, faculty complement and collegial governance at every possible table, including some initiatives here at Sheridan. You will hear more about our local plans early next semester. We are also seeking advice as to whether we have any legal options given that the Taskforce was created out of an arbitrated settlement.
I'm sure you have many questions about what this means and what actions are being taken. To ensure you have the most up to date information, make sure you have subscribed to receive local 244 emails by emailing email@example.com from your personal email account. Don't forget to put your name in the body of the message if your email address doesn't make it explicit who you are (I'm talking to you, firstname.lastname@example.org).
You can take a gander at the letter sent by OPSEU to the Minister here.
The Faculty Voice is a newsletter from the CAAT-A divisional executive. It has some great information regarding Bill 148 negotiations, the charter challenge, the part-time and sessional vote to decide OPSEU, the gains made for partial-load faculty, academic freedom, and other topics that have been on our minds. You can grab a copy here or in the sidebar.
If you haven't received a copy of the newsletter in your email from OPSEU, head down to https://opseu.org/ and sign-up.
The newest version of the CBA is now available. It includes all of the modified text due to the most recent round of “negotiations” with the College Employment Council (CEC) as well as the additional text due to the Kaplan award that came out of the arbitration process. You can find a copy here, in the sidebar, or at the OPSEU website.
Please join us for a General Meeting on Monday, 29 January, at the following times and places. There is a lot to discuss since the end of the strike. We hope to see you all there.
11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
2:00 – 300 p.m.
Time: 4:00 – 5:00 p.m.
The agenda and minutes of the last meeting are available via the email sent to your private email account. If you have not received an email, please sign up for the list by sending an email to email@example.com from your private email address.
Following the on-going mediation process, mediation took place over last week and the arbitration happened on Saturday the 16th. We will be getting a new CBA based on the arbitrators award sometime next week, although there is a media blackout so no further information is available at this time. Looks like we will all find out together what the arbitrator has decided.
Well, here we are. If you have problems with your current SWFs, your modified workload for the Fall semester, or your SWF for the Winter semester, contact your steward.
Local 244 has joined our fellow locals in CAAT-Academic in filing union-college grievances regarding the College's failure to adhere to the CBA despite it being clearly mandate to do so in Bill 178 (the Bill that sent us back to work).
In good news, Sheridan is having some parties to spread some holiday cheer next week! It might be a good chance to snag some of those mini candy-canes for your kids, since none of us can afford actual presents this year. Details are here.
Our local 244 blog is the place.
We are on the picket lines to protest the Management Council's unwillingness to recognize our aspirations for provincial collegial governance, fairness for contract faculty, and cost of living wage correction.
Besides picketing please:
Here are photographs of student, partial load, and faculty support from the October 25 OPSEU Rally outside the office of Deb Matthews, the advanced education minister:
And the article on the strike by the CBC'We're ready to talk ... let's go!': College faculty rally on Day 10 of strike
You can watch the video of the OPSEU Strike Flash Mob at Davis Campus here:
Thanks to my Ontario NDP colleague Cindy Forster for holding the government to account. It's time to get serious about providing equal pay for equal work, including college faculty.Posted by Catherine Fife on Tuesday, 24 October 2017
And see photographs of the strike here:
Have you seen the latest “facts” from the College Council? Our bargaining team has provided a response that has a pretty compelling image of just how serious College Council seems to be about bargaining.
You can also check out the latest bargaining video.
Your local executive is hard at work preparing for any eventuality, regardless of whether Monday features classrooms or picket lines. If you haven't already, make sure you sign up for your OPSEU strike pay at https://members.opseu.org. If you don't have your OPSEU ID number you can email firstname.lastname@example.org and we can help you out.
If you want to keep yourself informed please email email@example.com with your personal email address if you haven't already so we can add you to the mailing list. The local cannot use college email, mailboxes, posters, etc… so a personal email address is the best way to keep in touch.
The latest bargaining update is here. The union bargaining team has requested additional bargaining dates, but the College Council is considering its options. Maybe they will finally consider the option of bargaining!
The College Council recently distributed some “facts” about the current proposals. The Union bargaining team has analysed those “facts” and found them to be better classified as "fiction".
There is also an important press release regarding the potential date upon which a strike COULD start. The bargaining team is still working hard to negotiate a settlement.
The latest bargaining update is out and it's a doozy!
While the bargaining team continues to work towards a new contract, it's important for our members to be prepared in case of a strike. As such we are asking you to take the following actions:
The times for Davis and HMC will be from 10:00 – 4:00 PM:
Trafalgar from 10:00 – 5:00 PM
Our tables will be set up in the same spaces we use for our elections:
Davis: the hallway area by the stairs that lead down to the bookstore
HMC: the hallway area close to Starbucks
Trafalgar: hallway across from the bookstore window
If you cannot attend at any of these times and locations, please, before the 14th, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the union office at extension 4065 and ask for a mail-in ballot to either be sent to you through inter-office mail, or to your home in which case please supply us with your address. Please note: your ballot must be received by the OLRB before September 21. It will be a segregated ballot which will only be counted if the number of segregated ballots could change the outcome of the vote.
Here are two important documents to consider:
At the end of the second round of meetings between our CAAT Bargaining Team and the Colleges' representative Council, we have an impasse. In the links below you can read our Team's summary of events and plans for going forward.
We will be holding General Meetings across Sheridan on September 11 with a member of the Bargaining Team in attendance.
There are two documents that deserve your attention:
The latest Bargaining Team Bulletin:
Bargaining Begins in July. The latest Bargaining Team Update gives the background themes and forward looking goals to collegial governance that underlie our bargaining demands. Sheridan is a leader in this progressive initiative. And here is a link to the Bargaining Team's Video on Collegial Governance.
For those who wish to dig deeper into the history and rationale for the 2017 round of negotiations, I have sent a more comprehensive Bargaining Team letter to your off-campus email address. If you have not received that email, and wish to receive further private emails, please send your off-campus email address to email@example.com.
Here is a quick synopsis of what will transpire between now and September 30, 2017, when our current contract expires.
We bargain collectively as the Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology - Academic Division. We are a division of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union. This past Fall, delegates from the 24 colleges met and elected a bargaining team. You can read about the whole process and about the membership of the Bargaining Team in their first Bargaining Bulletin found here - https://opseu.org/news/facing-challenges-together-caat-negotiations-bulletin-issue-1 . All Bulletins are linked to the column on your left.
The Sheridan Survey results have been emailed to your personal email address.
If you haven't sent us your personal email please do so as soon as possible to receive Local 244 correspondence, and confidential Bargaining updates.
In other news:
Looking to learn more about your SWF? Download this handy guide. You can also keep an eye on this space for an online tool that you can use.