Category: News

Message from the President

News

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!

Duff Sutherland

President’s Message

News

President’s Message

 

For the first time in sixteen years, we have a new party in power in British Columbia. The SCFA and our provincial body, the Federation of Post-Secondary Educators, are non-partisan organizations. However, we have supported change that would lead to more accessible, affordable post-secondary education delivered by institutions that emphasize teaching and research rather than “leadership” and “innovation.”

We saw immediate change with the removal of tuition on ABE, ESL, and Prep courses. We are hoping for more including a return to an entirely publicly funded system rather than one that relies heavily on rising tuition, extra student fees, and mounting (and precarious) tuition fees from international students. Our students pays too much for their education. They work too much while taking courses and start their working lives with unacceptably high debt. Van City reported that BC students have amongst highest average student debt in Canada, averaging $30,856 in 2015. This is not news to SCFA members. We see the effects of these pressures on our students every day in our classes. We often know about it first-hand from our adult children who are taking post-secondary education. Nevertheless, it is an issue that we can work on together with the SCSU and now is the time to push for change with a new government.

So much for politics! The other focus of the SCFA this year is to engage you in your association. You should have an SCFA membership card now. It has contact information on it for Lui Marinelli, Chief Steward, Rebecca Jacobson, VP Liaison, and me. Union cards are humble but important things. They show you are a member of the SCFA and they connect you to a labour movement in which it has not always been safe to have a card. It would great to see cards on every member’s office bulletin board.

We are also trying to get you involved in the SCFA through activities, and events in which we share values. Members carried the SCFA banner in the Nelson Pride parade, and in the Castlegar “Take Back the Night” rally. The SCFA, along with PPWC and SCSU, was a sponsor of aboriginal services’ Orange Shirt Day. The SCOPE committee also put on a great event to celebrate the professional achievements of our members, and to provide a chance for us to have a social. Our Non-Regular committee representative, Leesa Dean, is planning to promote Fair Employment Week at the end of October. We are hoping to have a steward committee up and running by the end of the month.  All of this is part of our engagement project. Tell us how we are doing.

A final piece of positive news. FPSE now has a standing committee on Decolonization, Reconciliation, and Indigenous issues. Sue Hackett has agreed to be the SCFA’s first representative on that committee. We live in our hopes of something better.

I hope that you have a great semester.

 

Duff

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