We hope this message finds you well, that you had a restful summer, and that your adaptation to the current challenging working conditions is going smoothly. We wanted to provide you with an update on some of files we are working on.
Health and Safety for on-campus teaching
Following our General Assembly in May we have been in regular contact with the College administration to present, explain, and follow up on our demands for the College’s return-to-campus protocol. While not all of the issues have been resolved, we are encouraged by the integration of some of our demands in the current protocol. Thus far, we feel that our input has been effective in encouraging the College to err on the side of caution in its directives. We are continuing dialogue with the administration on the outstanding issues.
An area of particular ongoing concern is the College’s current policy on the wearing of masks in the classroom. We continue to advocate our position that masks in the classrooms should be mandatory, unless the teacher deems it to hinder learning/teaching. Currently, College directives state that masks in the classroom are optional, unless deemed necessary by the teacher. We believe the latter approach puts too much onus on the teacher to enforce the wearing of masks. For those of you currently teaching on campus, we encourage you to contact us should you encounter difficulties in this regard.
Additional government resources for teaching during pandemic
Over the summer, the government announced additional funding for Cegeps to facilitate adaptation to conditions created by the pandemic, to the tune of $22 535 200 for the entire college network. The moneys are to be divided in the following way:
- $17 million to facilitate pedagogical adjustments required by social distancing, including the reduction of class sizes, and/or the implementation of new teaching methods, and equipping of classrooms
- $ 4 million to release teachers to provide support for online teaching and learning
- $1.5 million for the hiring of mental health specialists
Since the new funding touches upon the distribution of teaching resources, we have reached out to the College to discuss the matter. In that process, we will be mindful of the fact that in adjusting teaching to the pandemic reality, all teachers have experienced significant increases in their workload, whether they are teaching completely online or partially on campus.
On a related note, we understand some departments have had to reorganize their on-campus class sizes and/or labs to respect social distancing requirements. In order to ensure our members’ rights are protected, we wanted to assure everyone that the provisions regarding the calculation of workload (CI, or Charge Individue) remains in force. This means that any change to a teacher’s normal contact hours, preparations, and/or students should be duly reflected in their CI and/or contract. We strongly encourage you to contact us if you have any questions in this regard.
Collective Agreement negotiations
Meanwhile, collective agreement bargaining continues at the Central and Sectoral tables. The coalition of public sector CSN unions (CCSPP) just today deposited a “counter-offer” to Quebec’s Treasury Board. To see the details of this counter-offer, which comprise demands around salary, retirement and parental benefits, please see the attached “Info-Négo” (in English and French) . While the CCSPP has chosen to name this a “counter-offer”, it is important to note that the government has not provided us with an official offer in writing. Various proposals from the government were floated verbally during initial discussions. It is in light of those proposals that CCSPP has opted to recalibrate their demands in this “counter offer”.
The Sectoral table took a hiatus for the months of July and half of August, but has now resumed negotiations. There have been no official changes to FNEEQ’s bargaining project since we passed a slimmed-down, prioritized list of demands (in English, in French) in the spring, and which was subsequently presented to the Comité patronal de négociation des collèges (CPNC). In the interim, however, FNEEQ has filed for mediation, which means that our right to strike kicks in at the beginning of October. While negotiations at the Sectoral table have only just resumed, it appears that the CPNC might be digging in its heels in relation to FNEEQ demands that would improve working conditions for teachers in Continuing Education. We will keep members informed of how negotiations develop, and in the meantime would like to invite teachers who have a particular interest in getting more deeply involved in mobilizations to please contact the JACFA Executive.
JACFA work for the fall
Consistent with the College’s protocols, JACFA’s work will largely happen online for this session, including member consultations, committee meetings, and General Assemblies. Should you need services from the union office, the surest and fastest way to get ahold of someone is through our email: jacfa@johnabbott,qc.ca.
We are currently planning a General Assembly for some time late September, where we will be considering our insurance renewal with La Capitale, and getting updates on the Collective Agreement negotiations and ongoing local labour relations files. The executive will also be presenting a more complete workplan for the year.
Wishing you a safe and fruitful semester,
The JACFA Executive