In the coming weeks, Full-time faculty will receive their Standard Workload Forms (SWF) for the winter; many of them will think, “Hmmmm….”
Concerned about the numbers on your SWF? Uncomfortable approaching your manager again for another SWF discussion? Maybe even feeling a bit intimidated?
As a next step, you have the choice to refer your SWF to the Workload Monitoring Group (WMG). You can do this simply by checking the box at the end of your SWF within five days of the date on your SWF and sending it back to your manager. Yet many faculty—despite having SWFs with way too heavy workloads—do not choose to use this option. As your Local Executive Committee (LEC), we’re here to de-bunk some of the myths that we often hear from faculty that fuel hesitancies about going to the WMG.
Myth #1—Referring my SWF to the WMG is an aggressive move. My manager won’t like it.
Not true. The WMG process is part of the Collective Agreement, something that has been agreed to by both the union and the college. It is not unreasonable that faculty and managers will have disagreements. When they can’t resolve those disagreements on their own, the WMG takes the decision out of the hands of faculty and managers and comes to an agreement on their behalf. The WMG meetings themselves are always professional and collegial in tone. It’s not adversarial—it’s just business. In fact, some faculty who have taken their SWFs to the WMG have commented that the process was helpful—not harmful—to their rapport with their manager, serving to dissolve tensions around the lack of agreement. And it helped both them and their managers in understanding the rules in the Collective Agreement about SWFs a little better.
Myth #2—Going to the WMG will feel like an interrogation.
Not true. Again, the WMG meetings are professional and collegial in tone. There are both college reps and union reps present. LEC members can meet with you ahead of time—often more than once—and support you in preparing. It’s a bit of work to prep., but we find that most faculty can pull together things like samples of assessments and LPs that substantiate their requests for things like higher evaluation factors. And while it works well if you attend your WMG in person, if you really can’t face the prospect of attending yourself, then we can attend on your behalf.
Myth #3—If I check the box on my SWF to refer to the WMG, then I have to go—there’s no “turning back.”
Wrong again. If you have concerns about your SWF and you do not believe that another discussion with your manager will make a difference, selecting the box to refer to WMG (and getting it back to your manager within the five-day limit) will keep that option open for you. You can still change your mind. You might find that it serves to stimulate another conversation with your manager, who might be motivated to initiate that further discussion once they get your referral. But again, it keeps the option open—you have the choice to withdraw your request at any time.
Other questions? Other myths? Want to know more about the WMG experience? Your Local Executive Committee members are here to answer all your questions.