Dear College Faculty:
As you know, the CEC has imposed employment conditions on college faculty following last week’s strike vote. Instead of returning to the bargaining table to hammer out the final details of a contract, they’ve taken a different approach: escalating tensions.
Despite the results of the strike vote, your bargaining team has no wish to compromise student learning. On the contrary. Their demands are designed to improve student success, not harm it. So instead of a strike, the team is recommending work-to-rule for all faculty: full-time, partial-load and probationary.
In a traditional strike situation, the Colleges Collective Bargaining Act forbids any employer reprisals on any members, including partial-load and probationary members, for participating in the work stoppage.
The same principle applies to work-to-rule, which is just another form of strike action.
Your employers would be reckless to think otherwise. It goes without saying, but please know that we will meet any employer reprisals, or threats of reprisals, against any and all college faculty members for participating in bargaining team-coordinated activities with the same vigour with which we would respond during a strike.
Please take this commitment to heart. Because no bully tactics stand a chance against the power of OPSEU/SEFPO.
Should any member – permanent, partial-load or probationary – experience any actions, or threats of action, that you consider punitive because of your participation in bargaining team-coordinated activities, contact your local president immediately.
Finally, always remember that solidarity is the keystone of any labour activity. When your bargaining team and local presidents call for action, don’t hesitate to step up to the plate. The employer will exploit any cracks in the membership. It’s time to close ranks and send a strong, unmistakable message: let’s get back to the table and bargain a new collective agreement – now.
We have had a few questions about committee work from LECs. To be clear, we are instructing our members of all of these committees to let their supervisors know that they are stepping down as of Dec. 18 and will need a new SWF for Winter. The underlying principle of work-to-rule is to withdraw labour and cooperation with management. Continuing to engage in this work alleviates pressure on management and, ultimately, extends the work-to-rule actions. If this is purchased union time, then you have that time and should direct it to support the work-to-rule organizing.
We have also received questions about uploading material to the LMS. We are happy to provide clarification around our direction regarding the use of College LMS:
We note that LMS platforms are the simplest way for the Colleges to take possession of faculty materials without our consent, and that they are therefore the simplest means by which the Colleges may attempt to complete courses in the absence of striking faculty,
Therefore, Action #7 on the attached file does read: “Upload as little as possible for the upcoming semester on college LMS platforms.” This is not to say that faculty should not provide necessary (or even unnecessary) information to students; it only to say that faculty should use College LMS platforms as little as possible for the distribution of that material. It is also consistent with the general principle that faculty should adhere strictly to the letter of regulations (in this case, your College’s technology use regulations) when working-to-rule.
At no time will a work-to-rule mean that we don’t give students materials or record classes, but it would be a good idea to distribute your course materials to students via “DropBox” or Google Drive (preferably with password-protection), and to make recordings available to your students via YouTube, Loom, Vidyard, or, Google Drive (again, password-protection is recommended).
We believe that these measures would maximize the effectiveness of our current work action (and therefore minimize the need for further escalation), and maximize faculty ownership over their own work product.
We hope that this helps clarify some of the initial questions and areas of concern. On December 22nd, we will send out the information regarding Phase 2. Phase 2 will begin January 3.
We will also be sending out further information as often as possible to help ensure you have what you need for support.
JP, Jonathan, Katie, Michelle, Ravi, Rebecca, Shawn