(Files by Catherine Garrett-MyPGNow)
The Faculty Association of the College of New Caledonia (FACNC) is one of 11 post-secondary unions moving forward with a Labour Relations complaint against its institution, Vista Radio has learned.
According to the faculty, the College refuses to adhere to collective agreement provisions which allocate time and compensation for the development of online courses and materials.
Filed in conjunction with ten other unions, the complaint alleges several violations of the BC Labour Code (54 and 88), which would allow employers to negotiate changes to job expectations and allow the board to address issues with an employer.
The Union has also filed grievances, proceeding through arbitration, over CNC failing to provide adequate time to move to online course delivery, violations of copyright and intellectual property, and the misuse of offers of early retirement.
“We are very concerned, not only with the additional work our faculty have taken on in trying to provide the immediate courses that students require and not extending the costs of their education but also our intellectual property,” Jan Mastromatteo, VP Chief Steward told Vista Radio.
“We are also concerned with things like safety at the college, and we have gone forward with at least one unsafe workplace complaint as well.”
The Faculty Association claims it approached CNC between March and October 2020 to create a COVID-19 letter of agreement.
The letter would be an assurance that adjustments to jobs, such as the transition to online learning, would be temporary.
“It included a number of rights and provisions around things like workload, already in our collective agreement, that we were willing to put on hold during this crisis,” said Mastromatteo.
Months of trying, with no result, she says.
“The employer finally said ‘No, we’re not interested.’”
Mastromatteo says this left the faculty with no choice but to move forward with the complaint.
“The College of New Caledonia really didn’t consult with us, they just sent out notices about things like medical leave, safety concerns,” she said.
CNC has also insisted that faculty and staff have been working from home voluntarily, despite the majority not having an alternative, she added.
“This means that little or no support has been provided for faculty now working from home, or the expenses related to their work.”
The grievances eventually started to parallel concerns of other faculties across the province.
As a result, the Provincial Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of BC (FPSE) has endorsed and coordinated the sector-wide filing with other members.
- Faculty Association of the College of New Caledonia
- Capilano Faculty Association
- Douglas College Faculty Association
- University of the Fraser Valley Faculty and Staff Association (88 only)
- College of the Rockies Faculty Association
- Selkirk College Faculty Association
- Camosun College Faculty Association
- Academic Workers’ Union (Coast Mountain College)
- Vancouver Community College Faculty Association
- North Island College Faculty Association
- Nicola Valley Institute of Technology Employees’ Association
The employers are represented by the Post Secondary Employers Association.
The proceedings are still in preliminary stages, and a final verdict will be posted to the Labour Relations Board website when a decision is made.
CNC provided the following statement on the matter:
“The College of New Caledonia will take the appropriate steps to address the concerns raised by the Faculty Association of CNC through 1) its collective agreement with the Faculty Association and 2) the laws of British Columbia.
Several of the matters raised by the Faculty Association of CNC are the subject of an application to the BC Labour Relations Board relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. CNC will vigorously defend our activities at the Board in serving students during the pandemic, as well as the significant support that we continue to provide to the CNC faculty.
Other aspects that the Faculty Association has raised are proceeding through arbitration, in which an independent third party will review concerns with the collective agreement. CNC believes we have complied with all aspects of the collective agreement and will reflect those positions in our submissions.
CNC is dedicated to student success in difficult times and working closely with all employees to make that possible.”
CNC has six locations across the province, including Prince George, Fort St. James, Mackenzie, Burns Lake, Quesnel and Vanderhoof.