The work of the SCFA executive moves forward on several fronts.
Our local and common agreements have just over a year to run. We are beginning to plan for bargaining. This includes forming a local committee led by our VP Negotiations, Victor Villa, and participating with the locals of 20 other colleges and universities in the Federation of Post-Secondary Educator’s province-wide process. We have to consider the timing for bargaining, potential allies and partners, and our demands. Secondary scales, which often affect non-regular members, is emerging again as a major provincial issue. Secondary scales include employers paying for the same work on different salary scales, capping the pay of non-regular members, and limiting the access of non-regular members to the seniority list. These issues of equity affect many members in the post-secondary system and threaten all of our working conditions. The recent strike of college instructors in Ontario revealed that only 20% of faculty had regular contracts. We believe that parts of our local agreement include secondary scales.
We also feel it is important to eliminate secondary scales across the system. In the coming months, we will survey you on your issues for bargaining and put out a call for members to participate in the work. Please consider getting involved.
Our VP Negotiations, Lui Marinelli, is working on a couple of important grievances. One involves the regularization language in our local agreement. We believe that the college must give any sort of newly available work as regular work to members with regular contracts. In other words, the college should not give short-term contracts to members with regular contracts. Lui’s article deals with the significance of the regularization grievance in more depth. The other important grievance comes from the college’s introduction of a Manulife program called “Drug Watch” as part of our benefits package. Along with other locals across the province, we believe that “Drug Watch” represents the introduction of a formulary (a list of drugs which the carrier will cover or not) that we rejected at the common table during the last round of bargaining. We have heard of the negative effects on members of other unions who agreed to a formulary in the last round.
Other issues that we raised at our recent Joint Labour-Management meeting include the safety and security of members and the effects on workload, educational programming, and student experience of the college’s sudden introduction of a large number of international students in January. Among other things, we feel that the college has taken advantage of our professionalism.
We will have a General Meeting on Tuesday, March 6 at 4pm. The agenda for the meeting will include a preliminary discussion of suggested changes to the SCFA Constitution. The membership will also be asked to vote on a motion to pay for release of the chair of the SCFA PD committees. Our VP Liaison, Rebecca Jacobson, has been working on our new SCFA website; we will be able to show you the final, updated version at the meeting.
My term as President ends at our AGM in the spring. In the meantime, I hope that I will be able to do more outreach to members, distribute SCFA membership cards and t-shirts, and give away our beautiful SCFA mugs. I would especially like to meet with our members at the college’s Nelson campuses. The chocolate is all gone; my goal is to have no membership cards, t-shirts, or mugs by the spring.
I hope that you have a great rest of your semester!