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Called to Account

| May 27, 2016 | 0 Comments

When management chooses to attack the union and its representatives rather than do the right thing by its workers, they will ultimately be called to account.

https://opseu.org/news/grievance-board-blasts-jail-management-misconduct

In a stinging rebuke of both their conduct and motives, Herlich raked senior MCSCS management over the coals for their “conspiracy to target the grievor and teach him a lesson.” He singled out North Bay superintendent Lou-Ann Lucier for acting out of “anti-union animus.”

Herlich went on to slam the employer for abusing its own workplace discrimination and harassment policy, which it used to justify its conduct towards Bisaillon.

As a further act of reparation, Herlich ordered the ministry to post a notice in North Bay Jail promising, among other things, not to discourage union membership, interfere with the union’s representatives, or remove union notices. The ministry must also promise to “make Michel Bisaillon and the union whole for the damages they have suffered.”

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas said the board’s decision represented a huge win for the rights of working people to be represented by a union and to be protected against employer intimidation.

It is far better for everyone — and a lot less costly — to work collaboratively with the union toward mutual goals.

General Membership Meeting and Elections

| May 9, 2016 | 0 Comments

Thursday, May 26, 2016 at 5:30 p.m.

Location: Courtyard/TownePlace Suites Toronto Northeast/Markham (formerly the Holiday Inn), Woodbine Ave, just north of Steeles.

7095 Woodbine Ave, Markham, ON L3R 1A3

Directions: http://tinyurl.com/kogyxpg

Refreshments at 5:30, meeting begins at 6:00 p.m.

Updated Agenda:

  • Election of 2016-18 Officers and Delegates (*all elected 2016-18 stewards eligible to run for office)
  • Contract faculty update and provincewide mobilization presentation
  • Reports from Officers
  • Proposed Amendment to Local 560 Budget for hiring office staff
  • OPSEU assistance for Fort McMurray residents

Parking is free — do not pay using their lot machines, the union will cover parking costs for our members. Please ensure you sign in when you arrive at the meeting. Child/Elder care will be reimbursed. A light supper will be served.

If you have any questions contact us by email or phone as usual. We look forward to seeing you!

Phone: 416-495-1599 Email: union@opseu560.org

Retirement Planning Sessions May 16 & 17

| May 4, 2016 | 0 Comments

Three representatives from the CAAT Pension Plan, Mohamed Kaba, Kristin Biefer and John Cappelletti, will be visiting Seneca College to deliver the following presentations for Plan members:

Retirement Planning
Date: Monday, May 16, 2016
Time: 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Location: Newnham Campus, Room: A3505, Building A

Date: Tuesday, May 17, 2016
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Location: Newnham Campus, Room: A3505, Building A

Following each session, the presenters will be available to answer questions participants may have about their pension benefits. We encourage you to attend a session to learn more about your benefits under the Plan.

Member Discounts

| April 28, 2016 | 0 Comments

Member DiscountsDid you know that membership in OPSEU entitles you to receive discounts at various merchants? From car insurance to mobile phones and venue admissions, you can save money by shopping “Team OPSEU”. For a list of current discount offers, see https://opseu.org/information/shop-opseu-enterprises-member-discount-programs or click the Member Discount link in the right hand column below.

Notice of Steward Elections April 25-27 2016

| April 17, 2016 | 0 Comments

We will be holding steward elections for full time and partial load faculty, and full time counsellors and librarians. Any member of the bargaining unit who is a union member is entitled to run for office as steward if nominated by another member [no seconder is required].  If you wish to run but cannot be present, you can provide a letter for your nominator that indicates you will stand for office if nominated.

Please see the schedule set out below for the time, date and place of meetings for the election of stewards for Local 560. We will update the blank spots as information is confirmed.

Date Campus Work area Time Room Officer
April 19 Yorkgate/Vaughan All faculty  4 pm
TBA Jane All faculty
April 26 S@Y SELS/LAT/A&S 12:00 S2172 Singer
April 26 S@Y SCA/Media 12:15 S2172 Singer
April 26 S@Y BioSci 12:30 S2172 Singer
April 26 S@Y Computer Studies/ICT 12:45 S2172 Singer
April 26 S@Y SSW 1:00 S2172 Singer
April 26 NH FOB incl SELS Noon A2534 Olivo`
April 26 NH Technology 12:30 A4050 Olivo
April NH Fashion /Cosm 12:40 A2534 Burtch
TBA NH Counselling/Library 1 pm A2534 Olivo
April 25 King All faculty 1pm Law lodge Agnew
TBA Markham All faculty Olivo
April 27 Peterborough All faculty/aviation 12:45 Pboro airport Singer

If you have any questions contact Larry Olivo at lolivo@opseu560.org.

Benefits You Newsletter

| February 22, 2016 | 0 Comments

beneyouthumbnailThe Joint Insurance Committee has just released the January 2016 version of “Benefits You” with information about your benefits. In particular, it has a couple of answers to questions Partial-Load Faculty may have.

Fairness for Contract Faculty

| February 11, 2016 | 0 Comments

Contract faculty deserve equal pay for equal work, yet the colleges continue to exploit them by paying as little as possible. Furthermore, our part-time faculty live under a constant threat of losing their positions entirely should they “rock the boat”. These dedicated faculty should be treated with respect and paid accordingly.

fairness4cfdual

Contract Faculty Day of Action Feb 11

| February 10, 2016 | 0 Comments

fairness 4 cfOn every college and university campus, contract faculty, full-time faculty members and students will stand together with signs and leaflets supporting fairness for contract faculty at a location that is symbolic for your campus.

The goal: 1) Visible support on your campus for contract faculty on February 11. 2) A photo record of your action to put together with photos from other college/universities to show our collective strength.

Why: Contract faculty are teaching a growing number of students across the province. At colleges and universities, our issues are the same: Contract faculty are struggling to make a living, with few benefits and little job security. It’s not fair.

It is time for action! It is time to stand together!

ON February 11, 2016 (or even before or after the 11th)

Please send a photo with a message of support for contract faculty.

STEP ONE

Get a large piece of paper and a marker

STEP TWO

A) Write a support message on the paper. Examples:

‘I Support Good Jobs for Contract Faculty’

‘Equal Pay for Equal Work’

‘Faculty Working Conditions = Students Learning Conditions’

‘It’s tough to put ‘students first’ if you put faculty last’

B) Identify your college or city, and, if you are comfortable, yourself: faculty, student, supporter.

fairnesspeopleSTEP THREE

Take your photo and share it

Twitter: #Fairness4CF

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/552670834895545/

Website: send to info@contractfacultyforward.ca

Press Conference: In Toronto at noon, with international and local speakers on fairness for contract faculty highlighting that across the province, we are taking action together.

Is Seneca College Violating Ministry Standards?

| January 25, 2016 | 0 Comments

Seneca students potentially short-changed by over 25% of instructional hours

The Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities publishes system-wide program standards for all types of programs at Ontario post-secondary education institutions, indicating amongst other things their required vocational standards, essential employability skills, and general education requirements. The distinctions between standards for various levels of academic programs (e.g., diploma, degree, certificate) and the expectations for each type of credential are outlined in the 2010 Ontario Qualifications Framework, available at
http://www.tcu.gov.on.ca/pepg/programs/oqf/oqf.pdf

One element of the standards for each program is the number of instructional hours required by the province for each particular credential. Given that several programs have seen cuts to instruction hours in the last year (under the auspices of V.P. Academic Joy McKinnon), and in light of rumours of further cuts, it is appropriate to compare the number of instruction hours provided in Seneca College’s various programs to the instructional hours dictated by the Ministry in the Qualifications Framework.

To begin with, the Framework stipulates that the “typical duration” of an Ontario College Diploma program is “four semesters or 1200-1400 equivalent instructional hours”. Let’s do the math to calculate where Seneca’s diploma programs fall in that range of instructional hours.

The Seneca website lists weekly teaching hours for all required courses in all of its programs (including General Education options) for the 2014/15 school year (although curiously, it fails to do so for the current academic year). From these numbers we can arrive at a total of the hours of instruction for each semester.

To do so, we multiply the number of weekly instructional hours associated each each course in a semester, multiply that number by the 13 weeks in which classes are held each semester, and then add two instructional hours per course for exam week.

Looking at the popular International Business diploma program, we can see that, upon graduation, students are expected to have taken a total of 22 courses, with a cumulative total of 73 weekly instructional hours (or average of 18.5 instructional hours per week).

Multiplying the weekly hours by the 13 weeks of classes per semester plus exam week, it appears that students of the International Business diploma program receive the following total instructional hours:

  • Semester One: 16 hours x 13 weeks + 10 exam hours = 218 instructional hours
  • Semester Two: 21 hours x 13 weeks + 12 exam hours = 285 instructional hours
  • Semester Three: 18 hours x 13 weeks + 10 exam hours = 244 instructional hours
  • Semester Four: 19 hours x 13 weeks + 12 exam hours = 278 instructional hours

The total is 1025 instructional hours15% below the minimum number of 1200-1400 instructional hours for Ontario College diploma programs specified in the Framework.

The 2014/15 curriculum for another diploma program, Police Foundations, saw students taking a total of 22 courses (with a cumulative 65 weekly hours of instruction) over the four semesters, for a total of 845 scheduled classroom hours plus 44 hours of exams… a grand total of 889 instructional hours, or 26% below the minimum 1200 instructional hours specified in the Ministry’s Framework.

Moving on to Advanced Diplomas, the Ministry’s Framework outlines that the typical duration of an Advanced Diploma program should be “Six semesters or 1800-2100 equivalent instructional hours”.

Seneca’s website indicates that, in the 2014/15 academic year, students in the Business Administration – Entrepreneurship and Small Business program were required to take a total of 33 courses (with a cumulative 104 weekly hours of instruction) over six semesters. This would result in a total of 1,352 classroom hours plus 66 exam hours, for a grand total of 1,418 instructional hours over six semesters – 21% or 382 instructional hours below the 1800 minimum stipulated for Advanced College Diplomas by the Ontario Ministry of Colleges, Universities and Training.

Caveats abound: students in co-op programs or field placements receive additional instructional hours, and students in highly technical programs often receive additional hours, whether in a lab or on a shop floor. Additionally, these figures assume an average of 2 hours per course for final exams, which may not be the case for all classes.

However, there are additional causes for concern: students whose classes fall on Mondays receive fewer instructional hours, whether due to holidays or, more recently, “Experience Seneca”.

It is somewhat difficult to identify the precise causes for Seneca’s apparent failure to comply with Ministry directives regarding typical instructional hours for diploma programs. It may be driven by a misguided notion that providing less instructional time for students to learn new material from professors will somehow improve retention and student success.

But the examples above, if correct, suggest that students in several Seneca College programs are denied instructional hours that are deemed appropriate by the Ministry. Several Seneca diploma programs appear to offer students literally hundreds of hours fewer than the Ministry’s Framework directs. These are hours to which we believe students are entitled.

The facts and calculations presented in this article are true to the best of our knowledge and based on information provided on Seneca College’s website. The publishers invite you to send feedback to union@opseu560.org. We will be happy to publish any necessary corrections in our next edition of The Local.

General Membership Meeting – 27 Jan 2016

| January 13, 2016 | 0 Comments

Location: Courtyard/TownePlace Suites Toronto Northeast/Markham (formerly the Holiday Inn), Woodbine Ave, just north of Steeles.
7095 Woodbine Ave, Markham, ON L3R 1A3

Directions: http://tinyurl.com/kogyxpg

Refreshments at 5:30, meeting begins at 6:00 p.m.

AGENDA
1.  2016 Budget Approval
2.  Contract Faculty Update and Mobilization discussion
3.  College Standards

Free parking, childcare and eldercare reimbursement, refreshments.