Past CUPE 4600 COVID-19 Updates

COVID-19 Update #4 March 20th, 2020

Hello CUPE 4600 Members, 

Below you will find some important updates regarding COVD-19 related issues. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us. 

Letter from Dean in lieu of Teaching Evaluations

Further to our previous updates regarding management's decision to no conduct teaching evaluations this term, they have now indicated that any CI who requests it will receive a letter from their Dean in lieu of a student evaluation.

It's not entirely clear what the letter will look like or how it will work in practice. CUPE 4600 is seeking further details from management. If you have questions about this, please let us know at info@cup4600.ca.

Changes to TA Hours & Duties

Some TAs are being notifed of changes to their hours or duties as a result of the move to online teaching. If you have any questions regarding your rights, what you can be asked to do and what you can't, and how to ensure you get paid for any overtime you  are asked to work please be in touch. 

Summer Terms Moved Online

COVID-19 presents an unprecedented challenge to the Carleton community, one that requires flexibility and patience from all of us. The more than 3000 members of CUPE 4600 are already working hard to keep Carleton University functioning and ensure students are able to complete the term successfully. Your union is in regular communication with management, working to jointly find solutions to the many and varied issues that the current situation gives rise to.

Unfortunately, there was no discussion whatsoever with CUPE 4600 regarding today’s announcement that the summer terms would be moved entirely online. Your union learned about it the same time you did by reading

President Bacon’s recent email update.

For Carleton management to make a decision of this magnitude without even a cursory consultation is frustrating and deeply concerning. It risks doing significant harm to the union’s relationship with management, at a time when trust and open communication are needed more than ever.

During our last conference call, just a few days ago, management indicated they were still thinking through what changes might be required to future terms. This makes today’s announcement all the more frustrating.

Prior to today’s announcement, CUPE 4600 had already begun to hear from union members regarding how the move to online teaching was affecting their working lives. We’ve received numerous accounts from members who have had to do a significant amount of extra work to ensure that students are able to successfully complete the term.

Concerns raised by union members include paying out of pocket for equipment and supplies required to do their jobs, the extra time involved in learning new teaching platforms or interacting with students in new ways, uncertainingy about any number of courses that can’t easily be moved online, and stress related to how this uncertain situation might impact their job security or future employment prospects.

At this point, Carleton management has offered no additional compensation for the extra work being done by union members and no financial support for individuals who are quickly learning new platforms or buying necessary equipment to carry out their teaching responsibilities. Heck, at this point management won’t even agree to sign off on a tax claim form so that members could claim some of their essential home office costs, something that wouldn’t cost Carleton a dime but would offer some small material support for union members.

CUPE 4600 members want to deliver the quality education that students deserve, but they can’t do that without adequate support from Carleton management.

Our next scheduled meeting with management is on Monday. If you have any comments, concerns or issues you would like us to raise, please contact us at info@cupe4600.ca.

COVID-19 Update #3 - March 19th, 2020

Hello CUPE 4600 Members,

Below you will find an update on conversations between CUPE 4600 and Carleton management regarding the impacts of COVID-19. Please contact us at info@cupe4600.ca if you have any questions or workplace concerns. 

 

No loss of pay for any member due to ramifications of COVID-19. Your union has confirmed with management that no CUPE 4600 member will suffer any reduction in wages as a result of the effects of the COVID-19 situation. This includes any Unit 1 (TA/RA/SA) member whose duties are cancelled or shortened. The payment of wages will continue as normal.

No interruptions in payroll. Management has stated that steps have been taken to ensure payroll continues uninterrupted. If you do encounter any issues with the payment of your wages, please contact us at info@cupe4600.ca.

No extra compensation for additional work by Unit 2 (CI) members. Your union has stressed the need for CIs to receive some extra compensation to support the significant additional work you are being asked to do. Management has yet to respond.

Teaching evaluations will not occur this term. Management has chosen to not conduct teaching evaluations this term. CUPE 4600 stressed that our preference was that evaluations still take place but that the results could not be used for to initiate any action plans or the disqualification of a member. Management opted instead to fully cancel teaching evaluations, citing the difficulty in administering them during the current situation.

Management’s approval of T2200 tax forms still uncertain. CUPE 4600 has asked management to provide a guarantee that any T2200 tax forms filed by union members will be approved. The T2200 is a form that allows employees to claim some of the expenses related to working in a home office. For several years, Carleton has, as a matter of policy, refused to approved T2200 forms submitted by CIs, alleging that CIs are provided everything they need to do their jobs by management. Under the current circumstances, it seems only fair that management would approve T2200 forms. This would help provide some financial relief to CI members who are currently being asked to significant extra work to keep their classes functioning.

Status of Spring/Summer terms unchanged at this point. Many union members have inquired about the upcoming Spring/Summer terms. As of this writing, and to the best of the union’s knowledge, there is currently no plan to cancel or otherwise alter any courses scheduled to occur in the Spring/Summer terms. That said, we recommend that Unit 2 members who hold teaching contracts this summer begin thinking about alternate modes of course delivery. It seems increasingly likely that Carleton management may choose to extend online course delivery into next term. We expect further details on upcoming terms from management shortly.

COVID-19 Update #2

Hello CUPE 4600 Members,

CUPE 4600 has just participated in a conference call hosted by Carleton management regarding COVID-19. Also attending were representatives from the Carleton University Academic Staff Association (CUASA), and PSAC 77000, which represents post-docs.

Your Union representatives relayed many of the questions that you sent in to us. While the situation remains very fluid and the practical impact of management's decisions still remains unclear, we do have the following information to relay:

Both CUASA and CUPE 4600 expressed concern that campus is still open at all, even if in person classes are cancelled. We believe doing so still puts staff, faculty, and students a risk.

No CUPE 4600 member, whether you are a Unit 1 (TA/RA/SA) or Unit 2 (CI) member is obligated to come to campus for any reason. If you have work-related duties that require you to come to campus and you do not wish to do so, you should first contact your supervisor. In the case of Unit 1 (TA/RA/SA) members, that would be the course supervisor and/or Department Head. In the case of Unit 2 (CI) members, that would be the Department Head. If they cannot accommodate you, contact your union immediately at info@cupe4600.ca.

In person tutorials are also cancelled, along with all in person classes. Whether tutorials occur in some other online format is up to the discretion of the course supervisor. Additionally, TAs cannot be required to attend office hours if they would prefer to not do so.

CIs have total discretion on how to structure the remainder of your courses.  What this means in practice is unclear, but CIs should understand this to mean you have wide latitude to finish the course in a format with which you are comfortable. If you are comfortable moving to an online platform, you are free to do so. If, however, you are not comfortable moving to an online platform or would prefer not to, you are free to explore other options. For example, this could include posting readings online and asking students to write reflection papers or assignments based on those readings.

No one should work additional hours. At this point, there is no guarantee of any additional pay for extra work you may feel obligated to do as result of Carleton's suspension of face to face teaching. CUPE 4600 continues to push for clarity from management about how they will handle compensation for the potentially expanded workload, but there are a this point no commitments regarding additional compensation.

TAs should closely track their hours. You can use the TA Hours Tracking Sheet found at the bottom of this page. If it appears you will go over your hours, TAs should contact their supervisor to notify them, and cc the union at info@cupe4600.ca. TAs can be compensated for overtime, but it needs to be approved in writing by management first. As a reminder to all TAs, you cannot be asked to work more than 15 hours in any one calendar week, or more than the total hours listed on your Assignment of Duties (AOD) form. If your course supervisor or Department requests that you do so, please contact us immediately.

CIs should, at this point, not plan on receiving any additional compensation. CUPE 4600 will press management on this point but, as stated above, nothing has been agreed to at this point.

The union has requested that no student evaluations of teaching occur this semester. Any student evaluations would obviously be influenced by this chaotic situation, and so should not be administered at all.

CUPE 4600 will be insisting that management honour any T2200 tax form requests. Carleton management is asking CIs to rely on their own resources, equipment, and work from home. This means management should honour any T2200 tax forms submitted by CIs, which would provide a small amount of tax relief in recognition of what CIs are being asked to do. 

The situation continues to evolve rapidly, as does Carleton management's response. We encourage members to stay updated via Carleton's COVID-19 information page.

As well, we fully appreciate that how this situation will impact Unit 1 and Unit 2 members is still very unclear. Please contact us with any questions or concerns you may have and we will continue to bring them forward to management.

COVID Update #1 March 13, 2020

Hello CUPE 4600 Members, 

Most of you have no doubt seen today’s update from management regarding Carleton’s response to COVID-19, which cancels all classes on Monday and Tuesday next week, and moves all classes after that online for the remainder of term. 

 

Your Union has been seeking information from management for more than a week on their COVID-19 preparations, along with a clarification regarding the specific impacts this planning might have Unit 1 (TA/RA/SA) and Unit 2 (CI) members. 

 

Unfortunately, details from management have been sparse thus far, and we learned today’s news at the same time you did. So we’re also working to understand how this will impact you and your working conditions. 

To that end, if you have questions or concerns regarding the move to online teaching or Carleton’s COVID-19 response more generally, please email us at info@cupe4600.ca

Carleton management is hosting a conference call at 2:30pm today with union leaders from across camps. We will bring your questions and concerns to management during that call. 

Some useful resources regarding COVID-19 which members should be aware of include: 

Again, if you have any questions about how COVID-19 or Carleton’s response may impact you or your working conditions, don’t hesitate to be in touch.