Smoke, moths, and Covid 19
It’s all a bit much, isn’t it? This is a time we need to care for our mental health. Covid persists and there is no end in sight. The fall term has started. Moths and smoke have added to the environmental stress. Last night I watched some old Carol Burnett with my son and had some good belly laughs. May you find the laughter where you can, but please reach out for support if you need it. These are challenging times.
New Contract and Retro Pay
Thanks to those who participated in our ratification vote on September 3rd; the membership voted overwhelmingly in favor of the deal. The college now needs to get approval from the Board of Governors. Once that is done, we will begin editing the new collective agreement. HR has provided the wage increase information to Payroll, so once the Board has given its final approval, the college will write your retroactive cheques. We hope that you will get your money by the end of October. My thanks again to the Bargaining Team for their work in getting a deal in such a hostile environment.
Anti-Racism work and Orange Shirt Day
The VCCFA is pleased to be participating in a faculty led steering group that is planning how we will begin to approach racism within ourselves and this institution. As a first step, we are engaging with a local clinical counsellor, Sacha Medine. Sacha explains the work he does this way: “I work to create work environments that are more socially just and inclusive for people from all social locations. This work gets called a number of things including Social Justice, Anti-Oppressive Practice, Diversity Training, Multicultural Practice, etc. My goal is to help teams find ways of working actively and collectively to resist structures of harm. This means holding onto generosity and the knowledge that no individual is to blame for systems of oppression, while also holding everyone accountable to not replicating their degrading practices.”
We look forward to inviting all of you to participate in this work once we have a framework for moving forward. My thanks to Sara Yuen, Sarah Kay, Tanya Cowie, Karen Brooke, Nona Coles, Bobbi Mand, Taslim Damji, Carolyn Moi, Lynn Horvat, and Jennifer Chow for their work on this initiative.
Finally, it is Orange Shirt Day on September 30th. Orange Shirt Day is intended to call attention to 165 years of residential school experience, to raise awareness, and to acknowledge harms of the past. I invite your participation.
Governance Elections – Nominations now open
Elections for Education Council and the Board of Governors are this month. Nominations are open now and close on September 25th. Faculty participation in governance is high, and we thank all those who currently serve or are considering running this time. Student participation is less robust. If you have students who are articulate and savvy and care about VCC, you might consider mentioning that they run. There are four student vacancies on Education Council and two on the Board of Governors.
A special thank you to Garth Manning whose term as faculty rep on the Board of Governors is coming to an end. We thank you for your voice and your service on the behalf of faculty.
Cuts in ABE and LINC
Cuts in ABE proceeded this summer and cuts in LINC occurred at the start of this month. The VCCFA continues to deny the necessity for these cuts. We have launched a grievance regarding the ABE cuts, and we continue to challenge the college about the LINC cuts at every forum we can. The VCCFA will organize a meeting for affected faculty in both areas in the coming weeks. We are angry that the college has chosen to increase the immense stress faculty face at this time by adding on financial hardship and fears around job security. These cuts are unnecessary, and we will continue to fight them.
LOU (letter of understanding regarding Covid 19 related collective agreement variances)
As you will recall, we negotiated an LOU with the college in the spring. This LOU addressed variances to the collective agreement such as suspension of appraisals and evaluations during the life of the LOU (April 1- August 31, 2020). We are currently negotiating with the college for our fall LOU. Some of the things we are asking for are:
- Suspension of evaluations and appraisals until December 31, 2020
- Protection of regularization for Term faculty whose schedules change significantly due to Covid 19
- Carry -over of unused Common and Adjudicated PD funds
- Flexible registration (to encourage the filling of classes)
- Reimbursement of costs related to working from home
- Limiting of class sizes
As a reminder, we do have good language around “distributed learning” (a bit of an old-fashioned term) in our collective agreement (particularly 6.6.4 in the grey pages at the back) which commits the employer to providing to faculty the resources they need to develop and deliver online courses. Please do let us know if you don’t feel this commitment is being upheld.
We have learned that there will be yet another Associate Vice President position added to the admin team. We understand this position will be posted, and we are pleased about that. We were concerned at the number of administrators who were promoted without process in the last restructuring. We are equally concerned at the number of “interim” administrators who have been interim for, in some cases, years.
Campus Master Plan
We had a positive meeting with Ian Humphreys (VP Administration and International Development) the other day. Ian got us up to speed on the latest plans, and we reminded him that we expect to be at all the decision making tables as the plan roles out.
New VCCFA Logo and Website
It has been our pleasure this spring and summer to work with VCC students from the Digital Graphic Design Program who have redesigned our VCCFA logo and website! We are thrilled with the work the students have done! They are just putting finishing touches on the website now, but we should be able to share it with you soon! Stay tuned! Our thanks to the students and to Anne Emberline, the DGD Department Head. You have all been lovely to work with.
General Meeting and Department Faculty Lists
Our fall General Meeting will be September 24th at 3:00, via zoom (what else?) This is the meeting when we approve our budget. Please plan to attend.
Over the summer, Audrey, our office manager, made a request to Department Heads to please send us an updated list of current faculty, including terms and auxiliary. When you get a chance, please send this list along so we can be sure that all faculty are receiving our emails.
As always, Frank, John and I are here to take your questions, comments, concerns and complaints. Reach out at any time.