Some quick and relatively easy things you can do (and not do)
to make life at the college (relatively) friction-free
For all members:
➜ If a meeting with a manager turns into any kind of discipline, including verbal discipline, you should end the meeting and tell your manager that you will not continue without union representation.
➜ Human resources is not your friend. Many members may be under the mistaken belief that hr is a neutral third party who has employees’ best interests at heart; nothing could be further from the truth. hr is only concerned with protecting the college’s interests; your union’s only concern is protecting your rights. If you are called into any meeting with hr, you have a right to union representation and you should exercise that right. If you have any question about requiring union representation, please contact the faculty
➜ Don’t hesitate to exercise your new academic freedom rights. Academic freedom was an enormous victory for faculty in the most recent round of bargaining, and you shouldn’t be fearful of asserting it. If management is obstructing you in any way from delivering pedagogically-sound education to your students, contact your union steward or the faculty union office. It may be as simple as being told that you cannot use a particular textbook that you, as a professional, believe is best suited for your class; management can no longer do this because of academic freedom. The time to assert your freedom is now!
➜ As part of your academic freedom, you can structure your teaching and learning plans as you see fit and according to what you believe your students require. You are not required to supply lesson plans or lists of all in-class and online activities to your associate dean.
For full-time professors:
➜ Examine your SWF closely before signing and do not hesitate to use the five days you are entitled to take to review your swf before signing (see Articles 11.02 A 3 and 11.02 A4 of the Collective Agreement). If you have any questions about your SWF, contact your union steward or the faculty union office.
➜ You do not have to accept overtime if you have reason to do so (Article 11.01 j 3). Valid reasons for not accepting overtime include: not needing the extra money, the overtime workload is too onerous to complete, or responsibilities outside of work—such as family—require that you not work any overtime. Probationary faculty at Niagara College are not allowed to go over 42 hours in total on their SWF without a Dean’s approval.
➜ Other SWF limits include that your teaching contact day shall not exceed eight hours from the beginning of a day to the end, except if you voluntarily agree to extend that limit (11.01 l 1). The college must make every effort to provide you with at least 12 hours without assigned work from the end of one day to the next (11.01 l 2), and no more than four different course preps should be assigned to you, except by voluntary agreement which cannot be unreasonably withheld (11.01 d 2). Valid reasons for refusing more than four course preps include being on probation, having at least one new prep, and having too onerous a workload with the five or more preps.
➜ There is a “Faculty Member’s Comments” section of the SWF; do not hesitate to use it. For example, if you have made requests which have or have not been addressed by your supervisor, record that information in this section. If you require more space than what is provided in that section, attach a separate sheet to the SWF.
For partial-load professors:
➜ Know your seniority rights (see Article 26 of the CA). One partial-load member recently grieved an assignment; that member’s seniority rights for an assigned course, which made up the entire partial-load assignment, were not respected. We are pleased to report that the college was forced to admit that an error was made and the grievance was settled in the partial-load member’s favour. We have been happy to see a significant increase in partial-load faculty members visiting the union office to check on their rights. If you have any question about where you stand in seniority or anything else related to your rights under the CA, please contact the faculty union office.