A raise for everyone.
For the four years of the contract (2010 – 2014), we get 0%, 0%, 2%, and 2% respectively. It’s less than we deserve, but we were working within an immovable Provincial guideline. That raise is is retroactive to May 2012, and will be paid in February (more information coming soon).
Automatic right of first refusal for Sessionals.
Instead of having to apply for the “right of first refusal,” departments will now automatically email Sessionals who have earned it, and there are a lot of people who’ve earned it this semester. (Click here for more about Sessional rights.)
“Continuing” status for four ELC/ITP teachers.
They were officially “temporary” workers before, but they’re “continuing” now, which grants benefits, sick days, and even wage increases to a small group of teachers who ought to have been treated as full-time employees to begin with.
Departments are now required to adhere to a strict priority sequence when they assign TA and TM positions. The new sequence favours grad students within departments over grad students outside of departments, and grad students over undergrads. It acknowledges that TA/TMships are primarily a form of both funding and training for graduate students.
Workload review forms.
Course supervisors are now required to perform workload reviews for TA/TMs every semester, and TA/TMs have the right to both see the review and have a union rep present at meetings about the reviews.
Substitute-teaching pay for ELC/ITP.
ELC/ITP instructors will now be paid their regular contact rate for substitute teacher, whereas before they were paid an arbitrary rate that didn’t recognise education, experience, or cost of living. This is the first ever increase in sub pay. They will also be given a very modest lump sum, in lieu of actual retro-pay, which will be divided based on how much they’ve subbed. (ELC/ITP instructors should talk to their shop stewards about this.)
ELC/ITP Probationary Periods
Instead of a probationary period of six months–which is long given that ELC semesters are only 8 weeks long — it’s been lowered to four months. It is very difficult for an employee on probation to assert their rights, therefore getting the probation period lowered is a small but meaningful improvement.
Benefits and Leave
TAs, TMs, Sessionals, and ELC/ITP instructors are now all under the same “benefits and leave” section of the collective agreement. Previously the benefits and leave language for different employee groups was scattered throughout the collective agreement. This made it difficult to find the rights which applied to particular groups. Now there will be just one section to look at to see all of the benefits and leave rights you’re entitled to.
ELC/ITP Employment Evaluation
ELC/ITP instructors will now receive an in-class evaluation once per year, which is extremely useful to working teachers. Departments often choose not to perform them for Sessionals–even though they’re supposed to according to our Collective Agreement–so asserting this right for ELC/ITP is very important.
Centralized Job-Posting System
We now have a single website that will advertise all TA, TM, and Sessional jobs, and they will all be posted at least six weeks before the start of semester and for at least two weeks, which means that you can check them once during that two-week window (not including last-minute positions that sometimes come up), and you can check for the whole campus. This is a big deal.
The site will make it way easier for people who teach in multiple departments—grad students and sessionals alike—and it’ll take pressure off of small departments that don’t necessarily have enough TA/TM positions for their grad students because some of them can get jobs in other departments without jeopardising their positions within their departments. It’s a win/win/win: grad students and sessionals, departments, and HR. The site isn’t up yet, but once it is, it’ll make life on campus a lot easier for all of our members.
Creation of the Joint Working Group
TSSU and the administration will be sitting down and talking about the issues that will be on the table in the next round of bargaining, which means that we could potentially agree to several items before this contract expires. Even if that doesn’t happen, though, “pre-bargaining” our issues could potentially cut the time it takes to negotiate the next contract by, in all seriousness, years. This, too, is a big deal.
ELC/ITP Professional Development Fund
The “pro-D” fund recognizes ELC/ITP instructors as part of our academic community because it gives them one of the perks of faculty. The fund was never large at $3000, but it now carries over from year to year, which represents a significant shift to how those programs are treated.
The return-to-work agreement guarantees that no there will be no retaliation against union members for going on strike and limits the amount of pay that can be deducted from the strike to 1/10th of your biweekly rate per missed instructional day. You can check your pay stubs here to make sure they only took 1/10th per missed instructional day. (For more help visit: http://www.tssu.ca/2013/02/21/how-to-tell-ifhow-much-your-pay-was-deducted-during-strike-action/)
Instructional days are days when you had scheduled classroom time (Lab, Tutorial, or Lecture). Office hours and marking do not count as instructional days.
As you might have heard, BC has a new statutory holiday this year: Family Day. To compensate for this new holiday, the amount of workload reduction TAs & TMs receive for stat holidays increases by 10% (from 1 hour per Base Unit to 1.1). You should see this change reflected on your Time Use Guideline (TUG) for the current semester and all future semesters.
ELC/ITP Wage Scale Adjustments
The good people at ELC/ITP received an increase to their pay scale of 2% as of May 2013, and another 2% May 2014. This increase is equivalent to the wage increase that the rest of TSSU received, but it applies differently because of the ELC wage scale structure.
Academic Performance Uncoupled from Employment
Last year, we had a line struck from the TA and TM sections of the collective agreement that said that to get a TA/TM job, you had to have “satisfactory performance as a student.” Now, those jobs are awarded based only on the new priority lists.
These programmes won two things to do with seniority: it starts 13 weeks after they’re hired (instead of 13 weeks within a calendar year), and although it’s been in practice for a while, it’s now entrenched in the Collective Agreement that they’ll get their maximum hours based on seniority.
ELC/ITP Disciplinary Letters
If ELC/ITP instructors have a disciplinary letter in their file, they can now request to have it destroyed after 24 months (two years) instead of 36 (three years).
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Dario Nonis’ title changed from “Director” to “Executive Director” of Human Resources. We were only too happy to reflect that change in the collective agreement, but for some reason it took twenty-eight (28!) months to settle the point.
If any employer puts a disciplinary letter into your file, you’ll now be informed of it right away, and remember that after two teaching assignments have elapsed without any more such letters, you can (and should) request to have those letters sealed. After five years without incident, the University must automatically destroy any disciplinary letter.
Finally, just as you already had the right to request copies of your TUGs at any time, you can now do the same with your Workload Reviews.