Posted December 20th, 2019

Hello CUPE 4600 Unit 2 (CI) Members, 

 

This message provides an update on the status of collective agreement negotiations between your Union and Carleton management. Please review the below information and, if you have any questions or concerns, or would like to get involved in the bargaining process, don’t hesitate to contact us at info@cupe46000.ca

 

Contents
 

  1. General Update

  2. Strike Committee & Possible Strike Vote

  3. Incumbency & Job Security

  4. Teaching Evaluations

  5. Discipline & Discharge

  6. Job Description

  7. Upcoming Bargaining Dates

  8. Are We Going on Strike?

  9. Who Decides If We Go On Strike? 

  10. How Can I Get Involved?

  11. For More Information

 

1. General Update

 

Your Bargaining Team has now met with the employer 8 times since June 19th, 2019. 

The majority of these meetings have been half-day sessions. Your union has requested full-day sessions in order to move bargaining towards resolution. More details on upcoming dates, including how you can attend bargaining as an observer, can be found below. 

Discussions continue on a wide range of issues, and detailed descriptions of some specific items can be found below. Monetary proposals, covering wages and benefits, have not yet been discussed. 

Please note that management is continuing to push changes to incumbency that would significantly reduce CI job security. See #3 below for more details. 

2. Strike Committee & Possible Strike Vote 

 

Given the state of negotiations, particularly on core issues like incumbency and teaching evaluations, your Bargaining Team feels it may be necessary to conduct a strike vote early in the new year. 

 

While every attempt will be made to resolve negotiations at the bargaining table, management has so far shown little interest in backing off of their incumbency proposals. Your Team has made it clear that any attempt to undermine CI job security is unacceptable. In order to make it clear how seriously Unit 2 members take their incumbency rights, we may need to demonstrate to management that the Union is willing to strike to defend them. 

 

Additionally, while no strike action is planned at this time, getting prepared to have the option takes considerable time and work. To that end, the Strike Committee has been struck and is in the early stages of logistical planning for possible job action. 

 

If you would like to get involved in the Strike Committee, contact Pierre at mobcor@cupe4600.ca 

 

3. Incumbency & Job Security

 

Unfortunately, Carleton management seems determined to go head with a significant attack on the job security of all CIs. 

 

As you may recall from a previous update, the employer was proposing massive changes to the incumbency system, changes that would significantly weaken the job security of most CIs at Carleton. You can find that update at this link

 

After pushback from your Bargaining Team, Management has offered a revised proposal on Article 16: Hiring, Incumbency, & Seniority. This new proposal, which still contains some of the most egregious elements from the previous version, would:

 

  • Eliminate the requirement that Department’s, when posting jobs, to contact CIs to indicate all of the courses for which they are the most senior incumbent;

  • Eliminate the right of CIs to be given another course when they are the senior incumbent are are displaced by a Visiting Scholar;

  • Creating new rules around how CIs get incumbency in a course, which would significantly undercut what little job security Unit 2 members have. Currently, any CI that teaches a course once receives incumbency in that course. The proposed change by management would mean that CIs must teach a course 3 times within a continuous two-year period before receiving incumbency in that course;

  • Reduce the amount of time CIs have to reply to job offer from 7 calendar days to 3 calendar days.

 

While management has moderated their initial proposal somewhat, the core attack on incumbency remains. 

 

The majority of CIs do not teach the same course 3 times within one continous two year period, so they would never receive incumbency. 

 

Without incumbency, CI job security becomes even more tenuous and uncertain than it is now. 

 

Your Bargaining Team has clearly stated to the employer that they will not accept any attack on incumbency rights. 

 

4. Teaching Evaluations

 

Management has rejected your Bargaining Team’s proposal on Article 18: Teaching Evaluations. 

 

As you may recall, the Union had proposed a moratorium on using the results of the current Student Evaluations of Teaching system until a new, more effective system could be developed. The Union further proposed the creation of a joint Management-Union committee to undertake this work.

 

The Union’s proposal was in line with a recent Arbitration ruling at Ryerson, in which the Arbitrator ruled a nearly identical evaluation system must be put on hold, pending a more effective system being developed. 

 

In their response, management has proposed a slight alteration to the current system. 

 

Currently, a CI may be disqualified from teaching a course if their teaching evaluation score falls below a 4.0 or the department average, in a course for which they had previously been required to complete an action plan. This potential disqualification is at the discretion of the Dean, in conversation with the Department Head. 

 

Management’s new proposal adds the following line: 

 

In exercising this discretion the University will consider: teaching innovations, adherence to applicable deadlines, responsiveness to student inquiries, compliance with the action plan for the course and other relevant factors. 

 

Management has expressed that the above represents a significant change to Article 18, and is a sincere attempt to respond to the Union’s concerns. 

 

In the view of your Bargaining Team, management’s proposal would entail no significant change to the evaluation system. The current language of Article 18 already includes language requiring management to discuss the context of the course before moving ahead with any action. Article 18.2(a) states that:

 

‘... the Academic department head shall discuss the circumstances with the employee, in order to determine whether to evaluation was anomalous or whether an action plan is required.’

 

Improvements to the teaching evaluation system was one of the key priorities identified by Unit 2 members prior to the start of negotiations. Your Bargaining Team will continue to push for actually substantive changes that help improve the teaching and learning experience of everyone at Carleton. 

 

5. Discipline & Discharge

 

Management has rejected almost entirely the Union’s proposal around Article 11: Discipline & Discharge. 

 

You Bargaining Team is seeking to secure language that would identify a clear and transparent discipline process, grounded in the principles of progressive discipline, with identified timelines and deadlines for any disciplinary action by management. Your current collective agreement contains only very basic and vague language around how CIs can be disciplined. 

 

Other than agreeing with the broad principle of progressive discipline, management has otherwise rejected the majority of the union’s proposals on this Article. 

 

6. Job Description

 

Your Bargaining Team has notified management that in January we will be proposing a joint committee be struck to develop and confirm a formal CI job description, something which does not currently exist with the collective agreement. 

 

A defined job description would assist members in knowing what work they can actually be asked to do and what they will be compensated for. 

 

It will also help both the Union and Management understand what duties and work CIs are engaged across campus, as their responsibilities frequently vary from Department to Department, sometimes in signifciant ways. 

 

7. Upcoming Bargaining Dates

 

Your Bargaining Team has notified management it is prepared to meet every day in January, from 10am-4:30pm, except for the January 10th, 16th, and 17th. 

 

Thus far, the employer has offered two half days and one full day. 

 

These dates are still being confirmed, and we will share them with the membership as soon as we can. 

 

8. Are we going on strike?

It’s still too early to say whether job action will be necessary. At this point, both sides remain committed to resolving contract talks at the bargaining table.

That said, CUPE 4600 needs to prepare for the possibility that a strike or some other form of job action may be necessary if the employer refuses to budge on issues CIs have identified as important for this round of bargaining. In nearly every previous round of bargaining, the Administration has refused to budge on important issues until a strike is imminent, often just hours before a strike is set to commence.

9. Who decides if we go on strike?

The members of CUPE 4600 decide if a strike will occur or not. If your Bargaining Team feels it has reached an impasse at the negotiating table, it will ask the general membership to hold a strike vote.

Even if a majority of members vote yes during the strike vote, a strike is still not inevitable. CUPE 4600 has only been on strike once in its history. But successful strike votes are almost always necessary to convince the Administration to take our concerns seriously and resolve things at the table.

You can find more information about bargaining and strikes via our Quick Guide to the Bargaining Process, Strike Votes, and Going on Strike.

10. How can I get involved?

Negotiations will only be successful if union members become directly involved in supporting the bargaining process. And there are lots of ways to do so! Contact us at info@cupe4600.ca for some ideas and suggestions. 

Another important way you can support and stay up to date on the bargaining process is to join the Team at the table. By agreement with the employer, a number of CUPE 4600 members are able to sit in on bargaining sessions on any given bargaining date. If you are interested in joining a session, contact Dan Sawyer at info@cupe4600.ca.   

 11. For more information

If you have any questions or want to get involved, don’t hesitate to get in touch. 

If you are interested in attending a bargaining session as an observer, contact us at info@cupe4600.ca

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October 11th, 2019

Hello CUPE 4600 Unit 2 (CI) Members, 

This message is to update you on the status of Unit 2 (CI) bargaining. Please review the below information and don’t hesitate to contact us at info@cupe4600.ca if you have any questions or would like to get involved in supporting the bargaining process. 

In particular, please review management’s proposed changes to the incumbency rules in Article 16. These changes, if accepted, would have significant negative impacts on your job security. Your Bargaining Team would appreciate feedback on these changes, which you can send to us at info@cupe4600.ca.

Your Bargaining Team has had 3 meetings with management so far, most recently on October 9th. 

We are pleased to announce that we have come to an agreement on a bargaining protocol (outlining how both parties will bargain) and new language under Article 8 The Joint Committee for the Administration of the Agreement (JCAA).

The Unit 2 Bargaining Team also gave the Employer language asking for a moratorium on the use of student teaching evaluations (SETs) for hiring and firing decisions until a joint committee between the Union and the Employer has come to a mutually agreed upon way to evaluate Contract Instructors’ teaching in a more fair and equitable manner. The Team is currently finishing up drafts on a number of other non-monetary articles, which will be shared with the membership as soon as possible. 

At our meeting on October 9th, management provided the union a package of proposed changes to Articles 13, 15,16, 17, 19, and has struck out the Letter of Understanding Regarding Trial Multi-Term Agreements. 

 

The major changes proposed by management are, in summary:

Article 16: Hiring, Incumbency & Seniority

What is particularly concerning to your Bargaining Team are proposals by the employer that would massively and negatively impact the job security of all Contract Instructors at Carleton. The proposed changes by management to Article 16 include:

  • Removing language that guarantees employees shall be contacted indicating all of the courses for which  they are the most senior incumbent and/or qualified member with the most seniority; 

  • Allowing Departments, when there are no incumbent or when the first qualified member with seniority is unable or unwilling to teach the course, to hire any individual, regardless of seniority, or union status;

  • Removes the obligation of the Department to offer another course to any CIs that are displaced by a Visiting Scholar appointment; 

  • Reducing the period that CIs have incumbency in a course from 60 months to 36 months; 

  • Creating new rules around how CIs get incumbency in a course, which would significantly undercut what little job security Unit 2 members have. Currently, any CI that teaches a course once receives incumbency in that course. The proposed change by management would mean that CIs must teach a course 3 times within a continuous two-year period before receiving incumbency in that course; 

  • Changes to emergency hires that would allow management to circumvent the rules that state hiring must proceed based on seniority

Letter of Understanding Regarding Multi-Term Agreements

Management provide a copy of this Letter entirely struck out. When questioned about whether this meant management intended to eliminate all Multi-Term Agreements (MTA), they verbally indicated that wasn’t necessarily the case. At this point, they have provided no further proposals or documents related to MTAs that would indicate otherwise. 

As you may recall, the introduction of MTAs was a change that happened in the last round of bargaining. It allowed for the creation of a limited number of two year contracts to be offered to Contract Instructors. 

 

Article 13: Grievance Procedure

  • The University wants to be able to grieve the Union and to take the grievance to arbitration if not resolved by the parties

 

Article 15: Postings and Applications

  • That the Collective Agreement will be available on the Carleton website (no longer specifying under the Labor Relations Academic Staff Agreements page)

  • Changes in how applicants respond to offers to reflect electronic communication over previous language referring to fax and regular mail 

 

Next Steps

The Bargaining Team cannot recommend that the Membership accept these changes. These changes would amount to concessionary cuts to job security in a bargaining context where we have been told the Employer is bargaining as though Ford’s Bill-124 has passed and been enacted in law (which it has not). We do not believe it is a demonstration of valuing the work of our Members that the Employer is asking for cuts to benefits and wages under the proposed 1% cap, and in their first round of Articles given to us,  asking our Members to give up job security too.

The Unit 2 Bargaining Team will continue to bargain with the Employer in good faith and will respond to their proposals at the table and we will counter with Articles that have the best interests of our Membership at their core. We strongly believe that Contract Instructors deserve job security, fair wages, good working conditions, and decent  benefits for themselves and their families.

We appreciate your ongoing support and  remind you that two Members are welcome to observe our Bargaining Meetings as long as we can give the Employer 24 hours notice. It is a great way to be involved and see how this process works. Our next scheduled meeting with the employer will take place on Monday, October 28th, from 10:00am to 1:00pm. 

 

If you have any questions or concerns feel free to contact me via email at president@cupe4600.ca.

 

In solidarity,
Meg Lonergan, Lead Negotiator Unit  2 Bargaining Team
President of CUPE 4600

Unit 2 past bargaining updates