We have been bargaining with the college since the fall and will be taking a break in May to accommodate holiday schedules. The break is also tactical, as we want to have the option to use our power by way of a strike vote if we need to. Job action or the threat of job action is very motivating at the bargaining table, and so it is always best to leave that option on the table at a time of year when such things would be most effective. Talking about job action and strategizing are normal tactical pieces of the bargaining puzzle and we should not be afraid of them. It is our power, and we sometimes have to use it. We will be having a general meeting on June 1st (over zoom, details to follow closer to the time). Please plan on attending so any questions or concerns you have can be answered.
Although there have been some decent and even exciting* administrative hires lately, the swelling ranks of administrators are irritating when cuts to ABE loom, and when we have had to fight for months to have laid off EAL faculty recalled. The college’s budget is extraordinarily tight, and so there is very little leeway when it comes to spending. Still, the college chooses to hire more administrators rather than fully support its developmental programming, and this choice keeps some faculty living a yoyo life of insecurity and stress.
*While we are troubled by this tendency, we are excited by the college’s commitment to decolonisation and indigenization and support the recent hire of a Dean of Indigenous Initiatives.
Harassment and Bullying
We work with a lot of members who are part of harassment and bullying cases, and these are difficult situations for everyone involved. We are working with the college to improve harassment and bullying processes so that situations are caught and handled earlier and wherever possible, informally. In the event that a formal investigation is undertaken, we want the college to institute restorative support systems that will help individuals and departments return to some kind of functioning work environment.
Vacation hours’ issues
Regular instructors have been reporting many discrepancies in their vacation leave balances. If you notice anything amiss that does not jive with your records, please let John know:
Various People Services Glitches and errors
Since the problems in January that resulted in close to one hundred people not getting contracts or being paid, things have improved, but there are still errors occurring. For example, we have discovered that some department leaders who have partial release are only getting a partial DL stipend. This is not correct.
We are also still hearing about glitches in the processing of term contracts and other HR issues. We have been meeting with the college and discussing ways to improve systems and discover sources of the problems. My thanks to the Department Heads who met with people services to provide their suggestions. Please let us know of any new problems that arise or if any issues from the past have still not been rectified.
Restart of Appraisal Process
The appraisals of permanent faculty will be beginning again soon. We have met with the college and agreed that we will start a new cycle of appraisals, taking four years to cycle through regular faculty in alphabetical order. Please reach out if you have questions or concerns. As a reminder, appraisals for regular faculty are meant to be for the benefit of the faculty member and provide feedback on areas they could improve in their teaching practice. In contrast, evaluations for terms can potentially have consequence, as a negative evaluation can mean a person is not offered further work. Please do reach out if you have questions about any of this.
Sign Language Interpreter program
Douglas College is cancelling its Sign Language Interpreter program and VCC will be taking it over beginning this fall. This is exciting for VCC and for the community as a whole because there is such a chronic need for interpreters, and there isn’t another program this side of the Rocky Mountains. We look forward to welcoming the faculty from Douglas and to supporting our own faculty in the ASL and Deaf Studies program through this time of transition.
McGregor Childcare – potential job action
As some of you will have heard, the McGregor Childcare workers, who are part of the BCGEU, took a strike vote about a month ago. The college applied to the Labour Board to limit picketing to one small door in building B. We wrote in support of the BCGEU folks, and said as long as there were no pickets on the bridge between building A and B (so our faculty could enter building B that way), we would support the pickets at any other doors around building B. The daycare workers have been offered a .5% wage increase, which is a disgrace when you look at what the other unions are settling for. They deserve better! We will keep you posted about this.
As always, I welcome your comments and questions –