Newsletter – November 2020


Volume 10, Issue 2


President – Liz Mathewson

George Fogarasi

Victoria Maystruk

Table Of Contents

Pre-bargaining Update

On November 20 -21, 140 delegates and alternates met virtually for the CAAT-P pre-bargaining meeting. By noon on Saturday we elected our 2021 CAAT-A bargaining team.  It was a tough election with amazing candidates.  We believe we have elected a team that bring previous bargaining experience, newer members and more importantly, fair representation from across the system.

At the end of January we will schedule a demand setting meeting for Local 352.  At this meeting we will identify local demands, determine our priorities and submit our list to the bargaining team.  Prior to the meeting I ask that everyone consider what is important to you in the Collective Agreement.  In many cases demands may simply be, no concessions.  Alternatively, demands may include strengthening existing language or introducing new language.  Regardless, this is your opportunity to participate in our democratic leading to the negotiation of a new Collective Agreement. 

In 2017 we made gains; Article 13 provides Academic Freedom and Intellectual property rights language; the partial load registry provides the framework for seniority, and as a union were viewed across Canada as the union that stood up for precarious workers. 

Protecting Your Collective Rights

By Liz Mathewson

This is the second article in a series providing members with an overview of the grievance process and your  union support in the event of a violation of your Collective Agreement (CA) rights and protections. 

In the previous article I reviewed the complaint stage.  Failing settlement of a complaint under Article 32.01, a member may file a grievance.

Grievance Stage:

Article 32.02 outlines the timeline for filing a grievance; however, filing a grievance can be stressful for members.  This action  indicates that a complaint could not be resolved between the supervisor and the member and requires an additional process to reach resolution.  Filing a grievance also ensures timelines are followed by both parties (union and college).  It is important to note grievances can be put into abeyance (or on hold) to continue a process of resolution; however, failing to file a grievance within the timelines may result in the member losing the grievance.  To that end, the union encourages the filing of grievances. 

Carriage Rights:

OPSEU members have Carriage Rights which means individual members determine how his or her grievance will proceed.  Other unions have grievance committees who determine the course of a member’s grievances. However,  in OPSEU, members drive the process.  When you decide to file a grievance, we recommend you work with the Chief Steward or another steward to support you in the process.  We will provide you with previous grievance decisions and arbitration awards, and offer advice on how to organize and present your argument.  In addition, we will assist you in determining the desired outcome for the grievance.  We will assist you with understanding what this might look like. For example, we will ask questions such as “what do you need the employer to do to make you whole again? and “what remedy will return you to your previous pre-grievance state of being?” 

Grievance Meeting:

The employer will book a grievance meeting within 15 days of receiving your grievance. Management will advise you of those who will be attending the meeting. Typically, these would include the College  President or her designate, an HR Consultant and possibly someone to record the meeting.  Occasionally, the college will ask if the grievor’s supervisor can attend the grievance meeting.  It has been our practice to object to the supervisor’s presence, as it creates additional anxiety and a power imbalance; however, the choice is always up to the member.

During the meeting you will have the opportunity to outline your grievance, answer questions posed by the employer and review the remedy desired.  Your union will be present to support you throughout the entire process.  Following the meeting we will meet to debrief.  

The employer must provide you with a response within 15 days.  If the college determines an investigation is required that cannot be concluded within the 15 days, the employer will request an extension.  

In the event your grievance is not resolved to your satisfaction, you may proceed to arbitration by notifying the college within 15 days of receiving the college’s grievance response.

In the next article in this series, I will provide an overview of the arbitration process. 

End of Semester

Grade Bumping

Final grades come in, and you have a few students who have failed by a few points. Do you bump the grade up? It’s always a difficult decision, informed by your professional knowledge, learning outcomes and the specific context of the student’s abilities. It’s a tough call, but it is your call. Management cannot dictate grades. This is a matter of academic expertise and academic freedom. Management does not evaluate students. Faculty does.

Course Evaluations

There has been a hiatus on college wide ‘evaluation’ of courses and instructors due to a group grievance that was filed on the premise that course evaluations have been found to be biased — biased based on gender and biased based on race. If you wish to elicit feedback on your teaching as part of your journey realize that some of that feedback is bound to be flawed; it should never be used as the basis of a comparison between faculty or as faculty evaluation.

Partial Load Faculty Updates

Bridging Benefits

Partial Load faculty may be eligible to bridge benefits between contracts.  If you are considering bridging, please contact a steward or HR for clarification.

ROEs (Records of Employment)

ROEs will be available to faculty within 5 days of their final pay following the completion of the fall semester.  If you do not have access to your ROE by this date, please contact HR.

Bargaining Advisory Committee (BAC)

On behalf of the Bargaining Team, the Divisional Executive (DivEx) is inviting Partial-Load members to submit applications for a position on the Bargaining Advisory Committee (BAC). They are looking to fill 8 Partial-Load member positions on the committee. These individuals will sit alongside 24 local delegates (1 delegate from each local) to collectively form the BAC.

Below is a PDF that summarizes the role, expectations, and general structure of the BAC in relation to bargaining. Please review this PDF prior to submitting an application. If you have other questions relating to the committee or role of its participants, please contact the DivEx at

Application Details

Required application documents:

  1. Completed questionnaire (see below)
  2. CV (.docx or .pdf)
  3. A statement of interest expressing why you want to be a part of the BAC and what skills or attributes you would bring to the group (300 words max) – you may submit it as a video, audio, or written statement (.docx or .pdf).

Please send completed applications to

Deadline for application: Friday December 11, 2020.

Selection Process: 

The DivEx will review all submissions and select members with consideration towards equity, background, diversity, experience, college size, and regional representation. Successful candidates will be notified by early January, 2021.  

When to Contact Your Union Steward

Most people hope they will never need to contact their union steward.  In a perfect world, your SWF, or contract would be perfect, your rights within the Collective Agreement would never be violated, and you would never need to file a grievance or complaint.  Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world.

Many disagreements can be resolved through a discussion between faculty and their supervisor.  The union will always encourage a discussion of your concerns between you and your supervisor.  You may consider asking a union steward for advice prior to the meeting regarding the process and your rights.  You may also want to discuss the outcome of a meeting with your supervisor to review next steps.  The union would recommend against meeting with your supervisor if the complaint is a result of behaviour by your supervisor under discrimination, bullying and psychological harassment including sexual assault/violence.  Under these complaints the union will assist you in filing a complaint or grievance.

Is it time to ask for help?

We have prepared the following scenarios to help you determine if you need union representation or support.  You can ask for support under any circumstances. 

Scenario one: You may be questioning if you have a complaint that falls under the CA, Occupational Health and Safety, or a Fleming College policy. 

This is a good reason to contact a steward.  All meetings between you and your union are confidential unless you provide information that requires disclosure (child/elder abuse, harm to self or others). 

All stewards have a duty to provide fair representation to our members.  Stewards take this duty very seriously.  Fair representation means stewards will not act in a manner that is considered arbitrary, discriminatory or in bad faith.  To that end, a steward my need to disclose a conflict of interest; however you can be assured another steward will support you. 

During an informal discussion, where you provide information to your steward they will take notes and refer to the Collective Agreement.  The steward may need to consult with another steward or an OPSEU Regional Representative before they can provide advice and options.  Meeting with the supervisor is often the first recommendation.  We understand that speaking to a supervisor can be difficult.  Sometime members just want the union to know a behaviour is happening. Due to the confidentiality of these meetings, stewards will not take complaints further unless you ask.  OPSEU members have carriage rights which means YOU determine next steps. 

If you decide to take a complaint forward to your supervisor we will review the CA timelines for filing a complaint and will keep detailed notes of this discussion for future reference or follow up.

In the event you and your supervisor are unable to resolve an issue, you may decide to take the complaint to Workload Monitoring Group or, following a formal complaint meeting with the supervisor, submit a grievance. 

In this edition of Coloquium, we have included part two in the series outlining the steps to a grievance.

Scenario two: You have been called to an investigation meeting

Regardless of why you have been called to participate in a college investigation, you are strongly advised to consult with a union steward prior to the meeting and advise the college the steward will be with you at the interview. 

To protect the privacy of everyone involved in the investigation, the college does not provide the union with details in advance of a meeting, rather, the college asks for a steward to be on standby during a specific timeframe in anticipation a member may be in need of union support. 

We strongly recommend that you do not participate in an investigation without a steward regardless of whether you are a witness, complainant or respondent.  Stewards are experienced in support members within the investigation process and can access resources through OPSEU head office depending on the nature of the investigation. 

Scenario three: Your supervisor invited you discuss “something that happened last week”.

This is always a good time to seek support from a steward.  At this point you are not clear if this is going to be a good news story or a discussion that leads to some form of discipline.  In this case, you can advise the supervisor that you will be bringing union representation or, you can ask the steward to be on standby during the scheduled meeting.  While the supervisor may have intended the conversation to be that of fact finding, the focus can change.  At any point in the discussion you feel you need union support, stop the meeting and contact your steward. 

Scenario four: Your supervisor called a meeting and told you should bring a union steward.

Please follow this direction and reach out for support.  The supervisor is sending you a clear message.  The union will be there to support you and to protect your rights under the Collective Agreement.  On occasion the union is asked, why do we protect people who are in the wrong?  Your union protects all members’ rights under the collective agreement.  That is our duty to fair representation and we take that very seriously.

List of stewards

Better Together

By Victoria Maystruk

Sometimes it takes a while for all the pieces to fit together.

We’re 10 days later getting this newsletter cobbled together than we originally intended, but that’s the way things seem to go these days.

The final article in this newsletter was written last month based on what was happening systematically and locally in academic decision making. We decided not to run it right away. And although many will not share the perspective, we think it has aged well. The release of the auditor general’s report on Ontario’s COVID-19 response leaves no doubt that corporations should not be allowed to manage public services and advise public service decision making.

As I returned from my morning run today, Ed Sheeran’s Beautiful People was playing and it occurred to me – this is who Fleming is in my mind and what I love about getting to work with each and every one of you.  The authenticity and passion, hardwork and compassion you offer each other and your students is undeniable. It is not always easy, but never doubt that the work you do makes a difference.  And while each and every one of you is incredible on your own, we are better together.

“Heck, even Julia Child couldn’t cook like Julia Child. At least not alone.” Diary of a Mom (Photo from WGBH)

A group of people preparing food in a kitchen

Description automatically generated

SWF Checklist

By Liz Mathewson

The following checklist is provided to full time faculty to assist in reviewing your proposed SWF.  If you are unclear on any part of your SWF, or if you have questions, contact your steward.  If you are in disagreement with any part of your SWF, please contact your chair within 5 days of receipt. 

Reviewing Your Personal Information

  • Check the dates at the top of the SWF; do they cover the next semester?
  • Check the box marked Co-ordinator; is it marked correctly?
  • Check the box indicating Probationary* status; is it correct?
    • Probationary faculty cannot be in overtime; look at the Total Workload hours and make sure the number is not greater than 44.00

Reviewing Assigned Courses

  • Are all the courses listed?
  • Is the preparation type correct:
    • 1 = new prep; not taught before;
    • 3 = first section of a course that teacher has taught within the previous 3 academic years;
    • 5 = another section of a course that the teacher has taught within the previous 3 academic years following a “3” prep type.
  • Are the student number correct?
  • Is the evaluation factor correct? 
    • Has it been changed since the last time you taught this course?

Reviewing Complementary Hours (below the line)

  • Are there six (6) Comp Hours (allowance)/week?
  • Are all required meetings documented?

Upcoming Events

December 8, 2020: 2 – 4pm — Coffee Time with Your Union.

Join the stewards of Local 352, Academic Union at Fleming College on Tuesday December 1st. Watch your email for an invitation to join. This is an informal meeting of union members. If you have specific questions you would like us to respond to please email: There will also be opportunities to ask question during the meeting.

December 7, 2020 — LEC Meeting

The Union Stewards meet on the first Monday of the month to discuss issues of concern. Please let your steward know if there is anything you would like discussed

Corporate Structure – What is it Good for?

Any introductory business course will provide an introduction to the standard top down hierarchical business structure. 


Levels in the Management Hierarchy (Attribution: Copyright Rice University, OpenStax, under CC-BY 4.0 license)

We see a Corporate level (Executive Management), followed by Strategic Business Units (Middle Managers) and finally tactical (Front line Management).  Nike, Coca Cola, Apple, Philips, Adidas and other corporate giants all follow this structure.

In practice at Fleming we see this same model in action as we have the Executive Level — President and VPs, Middle Managers — Deans and Front Line Managers — Chairs.

Here’s the rub – why are we using the same hierarchical structure as corporate behemoths at a local community college?  How can the same structure used in a multinational industry possibly aid us in delivering our core business to our target market?

A hierarchical model works well in stable environments with little variability and is optimized for control.

Our strategic plan speaks to change, innovation and empowerment.  We could use our size to our advantage; we should be able to be more nimble, agile and responsive if we don’t let unnecessary bulk and bureaucracy get in the way.  We need less old-school thinking, and more trust, organic networking and flexibility – especially in times of change and uncertainty.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s