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January 2022

Dear Fellow Local 237 Members,

 

Happy New Year! I hope you and your families enjoyed a happy and healthy break. I wanted to provide a brief update as we return to work, but as I was writing, I realized it was becoming a lengthy update. My apologies for this. If you would like to focus only on the sections that are relevant to you personally, feel free to click through the non-relevant sections:

1.       Work to Rule and Return to Work Meetings

2.       Work from home equipment/laptops

3.       Unsafe Working Conditions

4.       COVID-19 Screening

5.       OPSEU Meeting Wednesday at 6:30 pm

6.       Work to Rule/Strike Captains

7.       Virtual Elementary & High School

8.       Feedback Request from Local 237

 

1.       Work-to-Rule and Return-to-Work Meetings

 

Due to the work-to-rule campaign full-time faculty are asked not to attend the return-to-work meetings being held this week. Some coordinators may need to attend these meetings if the meetings are expressly written into their duties. If you fall into this category, you are asked to please advise Union Local 237 by sending a quick email to letterbox237@gmail.com.           

 

If you are missing a meeting this week you are recommended to inform your chair that you are unable to attend. Please feel free to adapt the following message to your own use:

 

Please accept my regrets for this week’s all-faculty meeting. While I look forward to attending our “Welcome Back” meetings each semester, due to the work-to-rule campaign, I will not attend, as participation in the meeting is not a requirement under the collective agreement. Please let me know if there is any information that I require from the meeting.

 

If you are a partial-load faculty, you can attend the welcome back meeting if you have received a separate paid contract to attend (i.e. if you are being paid specifically to attend the meeting, likely at a rate of $20 per hour). If you are not being paid for the meeting you are asked not to attend it as this would be working over and above your contract.

 

2.       Work from Home Laptops

 

This is a reminder that faculty can request to borrow a device or piece of equipment (laptop, headset, etc.) from the college if they need it to work from home. There is no requirement for you to purchase your own device or software. Information about equipment can be found here. You will need your chair’s approval to receive the device or equipment.

 

3.       Unsafe Working Conditions

 

We have heard from some faculty members who are aware of unsafe working conditions that may exist when returning to campus. All employees of Conestoga College have the right to refuse unsafe work without repercussions according to Section 43 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, Ontario (OHSA). The OHSA [subsection 50(1)] states, "the employer is expressly prohibited from penalizing, dismissing, disciplining, suspending or threatening to do any of these things to a worker who has obeyed or sought enforcement of the OHSA" [subsection 50(1)]. Faculty, counsellors, and librarians are responsible for communicating safety concerns to their Chairs or Supervisors and to work with them to find appropriate measures to allow the work to be done safely. If you intend to initiate a work refusal, you are encouraged to reach out to Local 237 for support throughout the process. We also advise that if you are aware of the unsafe work condition now, it would be prudent to reach out to your supervisor at least a day before returning to work.

 

4.       COVID-19 Screening

 

Faculty, counsellors, and librarians are reminded to complete the COVID-19 screening questions before visiting any campus. If you are sick do NOT attend campus. Instead, either use your sick time or arrange with your supervisor to work from home for the day. Please do not attend campus if you are sick, even if you pass the screening questions. COVID-19 symptoms are evolving, and the screening tool may not have the most current symptoms. (In addition, COVID aside, it would be nice if the new culture of campus became such that when you are sick you don’t go physically into work). If you face repercussions for taking sick time or refusing to attend campus due to illness, please contact Local 237 (letterbox237@gmail.com).

 

5.        Provincial All-Faculty Meeting Wednesday Jan. 5 at 6:30 pm

 

There will be a province-wide all-faculty meeting with the Bargaining Team, on Wednesday, January 5th from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm. Please register in advance for this webinar: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_2UQs9M8ySmG0x7X87wi2bg 

 

6.       Work-to-Rule/Strike Captains

 

Local 237 is currently recruiting Work-to-Rule Captains/Strike Captains. Until we have a fair agreement from management, we will be continuing our labour action. Work to Rule captains will help to coordinate our local activities and, should we need to strike, Work-to-Rule Captains will become Strike Captains. All members are asked to consider volunteering for these important positions. No experience with the union is needed.

 

7.       Virtual Elementary & High School

 

Today’s announcement that elementary and high schools will be going virtual for the next two weeks may create hardship for some of you. If you require accommodation, please contact your chair or supervisor as soon as possible. If you are unable to receive satisfactory support, please let us know and we will try to assist.

 

8.       Feedback Request from Local 237

 

I know that many people have concerns about returning to work and thoughts and questions on the work-to-rule campaign. We have set up a short Google form to solicit questions and feedback. Please take a quick moment to fill out the form: https://forms.gle/hurS7vCah7Smrpmo9

 

You can remain anonymous or provide your name. The form has two questions: A) Please share any concerns you have regarding returning to work in January 2022 or returning to campus in February 2022. B) Please share any thoughts or questions you have regarding the current work-to-rule campaign.

 

 

In closing, if anyone would like to reach me, I can be emailed at apiscitelli@gmail.com or you can schedule a Zoom meeting with me using the following link: https://calendly.com/apiscitelli

 

Anthony Piscitelli

Acting-President, OPSEU Local 237

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