There are a few hours to go before our strike deadline.
The negotiating teams are scheduled to meet once again this morning, but, as you will see from the most recent bargaining blog, this meeting comes on the heels of two relatively unproductive days at the bargaining table.
Our team continues to try to convince the board that settling before a strike is better than reaching the same agreement after one begins, but we are not seeing very much evidence that the Board side is preparing to address any of our mandate concerns, even on aspects of the agreement (such as terms-and-conditions) that are under the Board’s exclusive control.
We hope that the two teams will be able to make progress today. But Members should be prepared for the event that negotiations are unsuccessful this morning.
This you must do in the next few hours
In the event that we are forced to go on strike, there are things you should do before you are cut off by the administration from your online access.
- Check out expectations surrounding picket duty for the next few days.
- Review the complete list of todos here.
Among the most important things you should do in the next few hours:
- Fill in estimated hours for any hourly-paid employees you supervise for the current pay period (i.e. until Feb 21). You should use the form here.
- Ensure that ULFA has your alternate email address using the form here (unnecessary if you have already reported it)
- One major change from the list distributed yesterday: you no longer have to email HR about optional benefits: ULFA and the Board have reached agreement on ensuring that all benefits will continue.
Strike/lockout policy and teaching
We are hearing from various students and Members that there is some confusion about what our Job Action policy allows Members to do in their classes during a strike or lockout.
This seems to be particularly true of classes that are being taught asynchronously, or on a flipped basis, and with regard to assignments that were originally scheduled to be called due during lockout/strike.
The rule can be summarised most simply as:
All classroom activities, assignments, and Member-led or initiated instruction must stop at 11am this morning and remain stopped for the duration of the lockout/strike.
The only exception is for classes that are in progress at 11am this morning. In those cases instructors may continue their class until the end of the allotted time as part of their strike duties (unless told otherwise by their dean). After classes that were in progress at 11am are over, all instruction must stop.
This means that under our job action policy you may not call assignments due during the strike or lockout, assign readings, lead tutorial groups, require students to follow asynchronous lectures, or assign additional work to your TAs. Doing any of these things means that you would be in violation of our strike protocol and could be subject to sanctions including loss of strike pay.
I find the handiest way of understanding it is to imagine that the strike represents a “pause” button on your class activity. If we do go on strike today at 11am, you stop all activity at that moment (with the exception of finishing classes in progress if you wish and have not been told otherwise by your dean). When the strike and lockout ends, you should resume your classes as if it was 11:01 the day the strike began.
We ask that people observe this rule for three reasons:
- Classroom teaching is the main pressure point we are using to bring the strike to an end as quickly as possible. If you work against this by continuing classroom activities, you are potentially prolonging the strike and harming your colleagues.
- Students are extremely anxious about issues involving tests, essays, and classroom assignments, an anxiety made more severe by the Administration’s reckless decision to turn off the main means by which they can contact us — our email.
- The Administration have said that they will lock us out of all teaching as of Friday at 11am: this means your students will be receiving conflicting information about what they must and may do in their classes and many will assume (correctly) that they are not required to do assignments during a lockout/strike. Insisting that they do work despite the lockout may expose you to grade appeals.
So please: Cancel all deadlines and assignments that fall after 11 this morning until such time as we all return to work.
Thank you very much for your collaboration. The stronger our solidarity, the shorter the disruption that is keeping us from working with the students we love. Please do your part to help make this Job Action as short as possible by supporting your colleagues in their withdrawal of service.
Please direct individual questions to the Shop Stewards rather than ULFA staff
The potential for a strike is a new thing in many of our professional lives, and, not surprisingly, very many Members have individual questions about their own situations. Currently they are addressing these to our staff members, Eva Cool, Aaron Chubb, and Karl Laderoute.
ULFA staff are currently extremely busy managing the logistics of our potential job action and they are finding it very difficult to provide timely responses to these important individual questions.
For this reason, we would like to ask Members with individual questions about the strike and lockout to direct their questions to the Shop Stewards. These are Members who have volunteered to serve as a point of contact for questions and suggestions about ULFA business. Asking them also allows us to discover trends in questions and develop additional resources for all members. Here is a list of the Stewards with their email addresses:
Chief Shop Steward:
- Jerimy Cunningham (Arts & Science) – firstname.lastname@example.org
Arts & Science:
- Athanasios Zovoilis (Sciences), email@example.com
- Jeff Davidson (Social Sciences), firstname.lastname@example.org
- Steve Urquhart (Humanities) email@example.com
Dhillon (& Calgary):
- Danaka Porter, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Dawn McBride, email@example.com
- Paula Cardozo, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Yale Belanger, email@example.com
- Saurya Das, firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you very much for your support. I hope we do not have to meet on the picket lines, but look forward to seeing you there if we do!