Winter start-up is an especially busy time, particularly for Partial Load faculty who are just now receiving official contracts and timetables. The seemingly added task of tracking hours and not engaging in struck work could be interpreted as counterproductive- the work needs to get done regardless…right?
Undoubtedly faculty are feeling anxious, annoyed, and perhaps even angry by our current labour action. The CEC and college have, after all, done an excellent job of gaslighting and taking a bargain-in-the-media approach. If we were to believe the information disseminated by our college president, we are essentially greedy, lazy, professors who don’t care about students while the CEC is fair, inclusive, and reasonable in their expectations of faculty; we don’t need any concrete changes to the collective agreement. To show how fair they are, they are going to impose conditions that appear beneficial. They will likely add a few more perceived perks, too. However, they aren’t addressing the fundamental issues that we all face, specifically workload.
Recently, a number of members have expressed frustration and anxiety about not having enough time to do their job properly if they only worked their SWF or contract hours. If you are anxious because only working your SWF/contract hours are not sufficient, consider that your problem isn’t with work-to-rule, it’s with your SWF/contract. This is exactly what work-to-rule is intended to highlight to management.
For more details regarding issues we are attempting to negotiate, click HERE.
But I Like My Manager!
That is fantastic! We have some great managers who respect faculty and the Collective Agreement. For people working under such managers, you may not share the same anxiety that others are facing, and therefore find it difficult to engage in work-to-rule. Bargaining and strike action is not personal (even though it can feel that way sometimes). It is a labour process. All members should continue to treat their managers with respect and work to fulfill their obligations within the timelines assigned to them.
As our recent restructuring has shown, we are all just one manager away from a completely different work experience. We are trying to make that experience equal for all members. Listen to the struggles your co-workers are experiencing today, because tomorrow they may be your struggles too.
Things Aren’t So Bad, I Got A Raise!
Did you? Current pay increases are capped by Bill 124 at 1%. The inflation rate reported in Ontario October, 2021 was 4.9%. A pay increase of anything less than inflation is a PAY CUT. While both parties are bound by the limitations of Bill 124, the CEC granting this raise is not necessarily beneficial. Your Bargaining Team is asking for the ability to revisit the wage increase should Bill 124 be overturned. The CEC does not agree.
Depending on where you sit on the payscale and corresponding tax bracket, you may be receiving a paycheque today that is LESS than your usual take-home pay. For questions related to understanding your pay rate, reach out to your HR representative.
Understanding The Law
Labour negotiations and processes are not black and white. The CEC will choose to interpret legislation and the Collective Agreement to their benefit, just as OPSEU looks to best represent you, its members. There is, however, clarity when it comes to our right to job action.
Under the Canada Labour Code, “… During a strike, employers can use tactics to exert pressure on employees and unions but cannot punish individuals for exercising their right to engage in strike activities.” What we are witnessing presently is management’s attempt to apply counter-pressure to members to force compliance. This ‘carrot and stick’ management style is not new to the college. You have the right to engage in strike activities as interpreted by OPSEU and are supported by your local, CAAT-A division, and OPSEU.
Just as with our previous strike, the outcomes of our efforts are felt across the province (and beyond). Now is NOT the time for apathy. Inaction will have a devastating effect on our ability to negotiate fair working conditions in the future. If you have not done so, please watch Grant’s video found HERE.
Ask For Help
We are in this together. If you have questions or concerns, reach out to your Local Executive members.
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”
– Helen Keller