JACFA Update: Issues Unresolved, Boycott On

June 14, 2018

Dear Colleagues,

At our final meeting with College directors yesterday, we were not able resolve our outstanding labour relations issues, namely the payment of non-permanent teachers and JACFA release. The College was only willing to offer a commitment to further discuss the issues in the upcoming fall session. According to the GA mandate, this did not provide us sufficient grounds for calling off the boycott.

This means that JACFA will be proceeding with the boycott of the August Welcome Back Breakfast, as mandated by the May 16 General Assembly motion.

In preparation for the Boycott, we have prepared a short Q+A for teachers.

Has the date of the Welcome Back Breakfast been announced?

No. But our exchanges with the College indicate that they still intend to proceed with the Breakfast in the event of a boycott. We expect an announcement of the date shortly.

How should teachers participate in the boycott?

Teachers should plan to participate in an alternative activity to coincide with the Welcome Back Breakfast that falls within teachers’ responsibilities as defined under 8-4.00 of the Collective Agreement. These activities could be individual, such as the preparation of courses, or collective such as a departmental meeting. Many departments have organized meetings in anticipation of the boycott.

Should teachers be on campus during the time of the boycott?

According to 8-3.06 of the Collective Agreement, a teacher “normally performs his/her duties on College premises”.  This means that teacher does not necessarily have to be on campus to be considered working. Having said that, if a teacher wants to ensure that their work is registered during the time of Breakfast, being on campus would certainly help that cause.

Does the College have legal grounds to sanction teachers for participating in the boycott?

A teacher’s responsibilities are clearly spelled out in 8-4.00 of the Collective Agreement. Nowhere does it say “attending a breakfast with College administrators”. It is JACFA’s assessment, after consultation with FNEEQ legal counsel, that the College has little legal grounds to compel teachers to attend the Breakfast.

Should the College nonetheless exert pressure on teachers to attend, JACFA will prepare itself to challenge the move legally and/or politically. In the event that scenario occurs, the executive will be communicating its response and any directives to teachers via email.

Why should teachers participate in the boycott?

As we have conveyed in many different instances, the College has of late moved in worrisome directions in its dealings with JACFA: in its lack apparent willingness to negotiate—where first written offers are presented as “final offers”, in its demonstrated willingness to act unilaterally, in its targeting of union resources. This is a marked departure from the culture of collaborative labour relations we have been used to in the past 40 plus years.

This boycott sends a clear and decisive message that we do not accept this new “John Abbot Way”, and we as a union will do all that we can to defend a collaborative and respectful work environment for teachers.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

In solidarity,

The  JACFA Executive