Sunday 15 March 2020
Yesterday, I voiced concerns to Senior Vice-President, Corporate Services, Pam Skinner and Human Resources Director Nicole Perreault about faculty having to be physically present at the College for meetings on Monday, given the valid health concerns that some members had raised. I spoke to President Sean Kennedy this afternoon who said that management has heard those concerns and, as a result, has announced that all remote work will begin tomorrow. Only “essential services”—which does not include any Local 242 members—will be required to be on campus. I thanked Sean for making this prudent decision, given the extraordinary and rapidly evolving circumstances that we are all facing.
Unfortunately, the medical consensus is that the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to get much worse before it gets better. It is the view of Local 242 that the overarching priority at this time has to be the health and safety of all employees and students. Of course, we all want our students to be able to successfully complete the term and hope to work collaboratively with management to do so; however, all of that has to be done within the context of health and safety as the top priority.
The meeting between Pam Skinner, Nicole Perreault, Local 243 President Bob Holder and I is still scheduled to proceed tomorrow (Monday 16 March) at 2pm although it will now be done by phone. I hope to have more information after that meeting about semester completion plans, including the implications on workload for all full-time and partial-load professors, and also hope to ensure that our counsellors are appropriately accommodated. I will continue to communicate any further information that I learn to the membership.
Finally, as a union, it is incumbent upon us all to look out for and take care of each other. These are challenging times, but our support and care for one another will help us through these challenges.
President, OPSEU Local 242