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May 2021

 

Spring Activities:

Local 237 General Members Meeting May 26. Please pre-register. Use this form to RSVP. It helps us to know if we will have a quorum.

Fall SWFs: Check the 2nd box on your SWF (WMG) if there was no SWF discussion with your Chair prior to issuing the SWF or if you are not sure of workload (online/remote/in-person) delivery for Fall. You must receive your fall SWF by May 13 (Trades/Apprenticeship) or May 20 (for regular programs). If you don’t—let the union know at letterbox237@gmail.com

Spring Teaching-Requirements vs Requests: The college has made numerous requests of faculty, but keep in mind that a request is not a requirement. The recent email from Barb Kelly stated, “The existence of the Essential Elements (course information, evaluations, content and grade items), of which the instructional plan is part of course information, provides a consistent framework for our students.  As you prepare your courses over the next few weeks, please review to ensure all elements are present.” The college also wants 40% of the evaluation to be complete by the midpoint of the course. If your Chair mandates you to incorporate these requests, the member should oblige, but contact the union and grieve the directive. Remember: it’s your class, and you still have academic freedom.

Recorded lectures: Faculty are not obligated to record and post lectures. Some faculty have expressed concern about recording and uploading lectures to eConestoga. There is concern about ownership of their voice, image, and teaching materials and how the college may use the recording in the future. While the college can request that faculty record and post lectures, you cannot be required to do so or disciplined for not doing so.

 

E3 Participation: Faculty should attend if they have time or are interested, but attendance at E3 does not count as part of your 10 Professional Development days.

 

 

Why Should You Become a Union Steward?
By Maureen Murphy-Fricker

I was not looking to become a Steward but here I am…

 

Even though I was invited by a friend and person I respect to become a steward, I was very reluctant. I thought, “How could I possibly help others when I barely understood my workload…not to mention the Collective Agreement!”  I didn’t even see myself as a union activist; it sounded way too scary at the time. But I’ve grown a bit since then, and lately, I’ve been doing some organizing, informing, grieving, and more importantly…communicating.

 

Most of my day is spent trying to answer member questions and trying not to make things worse than when I started. To stay positive, I often find myself looking at this:

 

 

 

 

It is a 2’ x 3’ stained glass, and it hangs in my so-called “home office”. I stare at it a lot these days, not because I have a ton of time on my hands or wish I were sleeping under a tree somewhere, but because I don’t always have easy answers to members’ questions or simple solutions to complex issues. It helps to calm me on challenging days and keeps me focused on things that matter like positivity, diversity, and transparency.

 

I can tell you that being a steward is not without its challenges, for very rarely do members contact the union when things are going well. Staying positive, I am proud to be doing what I call the “primer coat” of union work, mostly because I think of it as an extension of teaching. We are there to lay down or build upon an already strong foundation. Just like the work of teachers and counsellors, stewards impart knowledge to empower others. This is the primary goal of union stewardship. 

 

Yes, there are bright days when achieving small victories makes this work worthwhile and no, it’s not always easy or a bed of roses. Yet, the “weeds” (whatever they may be) eventually can give way to growth. This happens when stewards, with heads, held high, confront management with equal and diverse voices.

 

The stained glass hangs higher than it should, but it forces me to look up to look through it even on some ‘cloudy’ days. Similarly, stewards do their work with integrity and transparency – heads up and minds open. I’d like to say that I put a lot of sweat and tears into this art piece, but I didn’t. I relied on an expert to produce something that I could never do on my own. Stewards also rely on each other for collective knowledge, wisdom, and experience. We call this our Local Executive Committee (LEC). I am so grateful to be associated with this group. 

 

Members need someone they can turn to daily as the representative of the Union, and that could be you! So, please consider becoming a steward and joining LEC. You will help ensure that our workplace is a bright and positive place for growth and change.

 

Steward Vacancies

Please be informed that the following Steward positions are up for election:

 

  • Steward at Large, Cambridge

  • Steward, Business, Guelph Campus

  • Steward at Large, Guelph

  • Steward, Trades and Apprenticeship, Waterloo

  • Steward at Large, Waterloo

  • Steward, Communications

  • Steward, Business, Doon

  • Steward, Health Sciences

  • Steward, Life Sciences

  • Steward, Wood Skills

  • Steward: Stratford Campus

  • Steward: Ingersoll Campus

  • Steward: Brantford Campus

 

There are also executive positions available for Chief Steward, Secretary, Trustees, Delegates & Alternates, and Committee Members. Note that you must be elected as a Steward to become either Chief Steward or Secretary. Contact letterbox237@gmail.com (Maureen or Anne) for Nomination forms.

 

Some Final Reminders:

Professional Development: Don’t forget to book your 10 PD days in the faculty portal. PD is important to maintaining your professional currency and vocational relevance. It is an important part of your role as a content expert. Read, listen to podcasts, attend (virtual) conferences, or engage in personal research. PD days expire on August 31 each year and cannot be carried over.

Vacation: Remember to book your 43 days vacation in the faculty portal. Vacation days cannot be banked or carried over unless there are exceptional circumstances.

Union Drop-In: May 26 is the last Wednesday Zoom drop-in day for any union questions or concerns. Contact: murfric237@gmail.com if assistance is required after that day.

Partial Load Committee: All Partial Load faculty are encouraged to complete the PL Survey by June 4th. Your views, experiences, and input are important. You can win a $25 gift card just for completing the survey.

Stay connected: Bargaining updates will be sent during the Spring/Summer months. Make sure we have your up-to-date email address. Send your contact updates to letterbox237@gmail.com . You can also follow Conestoga Faculty on Facebook and Twitter.

 

 

www.local237.ca

letterbox237@gmail.com

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