In lockstep with the explosive growth in the College, there has been an exponential growth in issues for our colleagues. Along with the physical student numbers, everyone is also trying to stay on track with a steep learning curve for new processes and technologies, which include multiple communication tools and social media apps seeking our attention and time.
These are challenging enough, but we now seem to see and hear about a very serious shift in focus by the College administration. That being, that Counsellors, Librarians and Faculty no longer appear to have any credibility or weight in any issues raised by our members about students, but also in cases of complaints tabled by students. While we don’t want to suggest that all of us stop being who we genuinely are and how we try to bring engagement to our work with students, we do suggest that you are very cautious in what you say, how you say it and that you carefully document any interactions with students that might lead to student complaints. Students now appear to have greater credibility than our members, which has led to unfortunate outcomes for our colleagues. Beverley Stone may provide some details or examples of these.
As for issues like academic integrity, many of our colleagues have been inflicted by “moral injuries”, from not being supported when raising issues of students’ disregard for academic integrity and having the freedom to incorporate more rigorous counteractive assessment tools or processes. While all of us continue to hold the line against further deterioration of standards within our courses and programs, it is just another load of stress in the effort. As Stewards, please report any issues or potential issues immediately, so that we can support our colleagues at the earliest stage and counsel your colleagues to be cautious in what they say or how they say it in class.
There have also been reports of harassment and bullying by students against our members, in particular but not limited to female colleagues, which has been raised at UCC. However, until our members lodge formal complaints with the College and/or police reports, the College does not see it as a major issue yet. We plan to do a survey of members on this matter, to get some data in our further discussions at UCC.
SAT’s are in committee for revisions and through the UCC we were able to gain a spot on this committee. Jessica Srivastava is our Officer on this committee, who will seek input from all of us, as well as keeping the LEC aware of how it’s progressing. If you have suggestions for how SAT’s can be made more credible or useful, please let Jessica know.
We are still needing to remind Administration that terms like “Curriculum Guide” should be removed from the College language, along with the impossible expectations of “duties” for this fictional role, which does not conform to the time allowances available under the Arbitration Decision for providing “curriculum guidance”.
The good news is, that our Bargaining Team for Contract Negotiations in 2024 has been elected and the most important item is that our own Bob Delaney is the designated Partial Load member of this Bargaining Tea. Congratulations to Bob in bringing Partial Load issues to the table, as well as representing Local 237!
There will be Demand Set meetings into the new year, where members will have an opportunity to add their specific concerns for consideration in the next contract.
As previously approved by our members, we have now reached the maximum amount in our Strike Fund, so the College has been directed to stop deducting that amount from our paychecks. There will be a GMM at the end of January, 2024, where we will discuss the Strike Fund, as well as other matters, such as a Strategic/Operational Plan for our Local. Prior to this, there will be information shared with our members as well as surveys and Q. & A. Zoom sessions to provide background and context for our members.
From the CAATA Strategic Pre-Bargaining meetings in Toronto, we also heard that there will be a slight increase in member deductions for LTD for about 1 year or so, starting in about March 2024. This is to balance out the additional premium costs from our recent salary increases, which had to be covered by “borrowing” from other insurance budgets covered by OPSEU. There will be further communications to explain this very soon.
Also, at the CAATA meetings, Sarah Powell received support for her Pay Equity Initiative, which Sarah will provide regular updates on this very important issue.
As you can see, there are many issues and initiatives underway, as well as our coming to the end of our current contract in less than a year. This means that the most important priority going into 2024 will be soliciting feedback and engagement from our colleagues. We will work together on what means & methods we can all do to achieve these goals.
I wish all the best for you and your families as we finish the semester and head into the Holidays!