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April 07, 2020

 

Hello Local 237 Members:

 

Local 237 has been in contact with the College, several times this past week.  As a result of our meetings we know that despite these uncertain times, the College is focused on how to deliver as many Spring/Summer courses as possible and as many intakes as demand allows. What we also know is that the intakes will not include any new start programs/courses where the majority of the students are international students. It is not expected that international students will arrive on time for the May 19, 2020 start date.

 

  1. Partial-Load Faculty

 

At this time, we do not know the impact on contract faculty hours until the spring/summer SWFs for full-time faculty are finalized.

 

 

We are recommending that contract faculty create a CRA MyAccount if you haven’t already. Instructions are available at . Then if there is an impact on your contract, you will have the access needed to apply for benefits such as the CERB (Canada Emergency Response Benefit).

 

  1. Full-Time Faculty

 

Conestoga was in sound financial shape heading into this crisis and is probably better positioned than many other colleges to weather the impact of COVID-19. Some of you have asked about layoffs. The best answer at this time is that none of the conditions in our Collective Agreement have been triggered that can initiate layoffs. If you wish to know more about the process of layoffs please refer to Article 27.05 -27.09 on pages 63 to 68, in your Collective Agreement.

 

On April 2, 2020 the Union requested that the College Employment Stability Committee hold a meeting to discuss the current stability of employment for full-time faculty. At the meeting the Union and the College discussed sharing the following statement:

 

“The President of Local 237 called a meeting of the Employment Stability Committee. The results of the meeting are that there is no employment instability to report at this time.”

Many of you also saw the article in The Record on March 31, 2020 where President Tibbets said “The college has no layoff plans.” The article also refers to reducing employees through the retirement incentive hiring freeze.

 

What we do expect are some changes to workload assignments. This means that faculty will be signing SWFs remotely. The College and the Union will be meeting on Monday April 6, 2020 to discuss the process for signing SWFs. 

 

During our meeting on Friday April 3, 2020 the Union asked how the work involved in converting and delivering courses remotely/online would be recognized on the spring/summer SWF. The College is not at this time planning to recognize this work.

 

The Union pointed out that several Colleges were planning to recognize teaching remotely in one of the following ways:

 

1.    Assigning each course a new type 1.1 instead of 0.85 for an Established course (one taught before), for preparation type (refer to Article 11.01 D1 on page 12). It appears that at least 2 colleges have done this as a past practice.

 

2.     Another college is planning to recognize the additional work by adding 5 hours under complimentary functions and will limit the assignment to one or two courses.

 

 

3.    Other colleges will support the workload by  hiring “instructional designers” to  transfer the content to online

 

 

There is also a group of colleges that have provided the same answer as Conestoga and that is that assigning a new Type 1 is not open for discussion.

 

The Local is aware that it required additional work just to convert to remote teaching for the last few weeks of your winter courses. The College is hearing this from your Chairs and from the Union. Although the SWF cannot provide all the hours it takes to deliver content remotely, it should provide more time than when a course is delivered in a classroom. In your discussions with your Chair be frank about the hours you will need to develop and deliver the course(s) that you are assigned.

 

When you get your SWF electronically, review it carefully to determine if the assignment includes all the details of your workload. If it does, then check “Mutual Agreement of Assigned Workload.” If it does not then check the middle box “Proposed Workload referred to College Workload Monitoring Group.”

 

The process for having your workload reviewed by the Workload Monitoring Group is described starting with Article 11.02 A6 on page 18 to Article 11.2 G on page 22.

 

The learning conditions may not be ideal but all of you whether you are teaching remotely or counselling remotely, have done remarkable work for the students at Conestoga College.

Please take care of yourself and stay safe,

 

Lana-Lee Hardacre

OPSEU Local 237 President 

 

 

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