Hi Everyone, and Happy New Year:

The main things I want to discuss in this message are: (1) hiring; (2) the Teaching Intensive Stream; and (3) shop safety. First, though, I want to mention something important for anyone on a limited-term contract: you remain an OCADFA member for 6 months after your contract ends. This point is particularly significant to sessional instructors, for the following reason: once you’ve taught 5 or more 0.5 courses as a sessional, you *must* be short-listed for any course you teach the next time the course is offered. Under the right circumstances, this provision can be powerful, and it applies regardless of whether you’re currently teaching here. So, if you have been teaching sessionally for a while and suddenly stop getting calls, we should talk.

Now, on to the main items at hand.

New Hires

Those of you in the Faculty of Art received an email from Vlad Spicanovic at the end of the fall semester, in which he discusses five tenure-track hires that Art plans to make in the coming months.

It’s good that our Employer finally is taking steps toward dealing with its over-use of sessionals. However, the credit for this initiative belongs not to the administration, but rather to Bill Leeming and the negotiations team. In mediation last winter, we argued that the Employer would deal with this issue only if the arbitrator laid out quotas and deadlines. The arbitrator listened, and we got a requirement that the Employer make 10 tenure-track hires before September 2015.  It’s a great example of what can be accomplished by a well-organized negotiations team, in dialogue with the membership.

Something else worth clarifying is that it’s only sort of right to say these positions are “new.” They may well be distributed differently than in the past. However, in terms of numbers of tenured and track-track faculty, we’ve still got lots of work to do in terms of pressing the Employer to stop its over-reliance on casual/precarious labour, and to create real jobs with real futures that allow all of us to be the best teachers we can be. And, as we’re now entering a negotiations year, we’ll be talking about this more in the months to come.

Teaching Intensive Stream

Just a quick update here, to say that we have sent our grievance regarding TIS compensation to mediation. This means that our complaint will be heard by an independent mediator/arbitrator, with the intention of having that person mediate an agreement between OCADFA and the Employer. We are in the process of hammering out a timetable for this process, and we will update you as soon as we know more.

Shop Safety

We have been hearing a lot about this lately, from techs and profs both: concerns about working conditions, lack of proper safety training for students, where liability lies if something goes wrong, and so forth. If you have concerns about these or related issues, we’d like to hear from you—partly so we can pass the information along to the Joint Health and Safety Committee, but also because we have concerns that some administrators may be trying to keep legitimate concerns from being addressed. Specifically, we have seen disturbing evidence that some administrators are forbidding people from discussing these concerns, which, aside from being poor management, may interfere with faculty responsibilities as listed in the Memorandum of Agreement (Article

This seems like a good place to reiterate something that I don’t think can be said too often: if you think something’s wrong, it probably is….and in any case it’s worth speaking with us.

Finally, I want to remind Faculty who are Continuing, Tenure-Track or Tenured, and Academic Staff who are Probationary or Permanent, that the next deadline to apply to the Professional Development Opportunity Fund (for things such as conference travel) is January 10. The form and policy can be found on-line here: http://www.ocadu.ca/Assets/documents/professional-development-opportunity-policy-form.pdf

Here’s to a great semester and year, and thanks for all you do for the quality of education here.