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KFA Update: Remote Work Framework

Dear KFA Colleagues,

Many faculty members have reached out with concerns regarding the Remote Work Framework (“the framework”).  We want to assure all members that the framework was arrived at though a negotiation between the KFA and the Employer, and that your rights under the KPU-KFA Collective Agreement have not been violated.  

Our advice is to follow the Employer’s direction to fill out the framework.

Further Context

The primary purpose of the Remote Work Framework is for the Employer to comply with WorkSafeBC requirements and ensure faculty members are covered by WorkSafe. WorkSafeBC is the legal entity established through the Workers Compensation Act under which both the Employer and faculty members (“workers” under the act) have specific responsibilities. One of these joint responsibilities is to maintain a safe work environment.

You may ask: we have been doing remote work for years—what has changed? In short, working conditions resulting from the pandemic raised the Employer’s awareness of the extent of their WorkSafe obligations surrounding remote work.

Originally, the framework appeared as something called the “Remote Work Agreement” in 2021. At that time, the KFA position was that the Employer was contracting out their responsibilities to faculty members, and that the Employer needed to properly negotiate the agreement with the Kwantlen Faculty Association. The KFA then filed a grievance on the issue and sent this advice to faculty.

After many months of negotiation, the Employer and the KFA reached agreement in Summer 2022 that a new form would be sent out to faculty, and this form would be a Remote Work Framework rather than an agreement. The Employer sent a communication to faculty on August 25, 2022 on the matter of the framework.

On Friday, September 16th, 2022 the Employer informed the KFA that they had further consulted with WorkSafeBC. Our understanding is that, as result of these consultations, the Employer realized the definition of remote work was significantly more all-encompassing than initially thought. Coupled with this newly realized information was the fact that very few faculty members had signed the agreement. Thus, the Employer was open to significant risk due to their obligations under WorkSafeBC. The net result is the new message from the Employer that faculty must sign the agreement by September 30th if they are performing or anticipate engaging in remote work off-campus. Faculty continue to have the right to work remotely from campus.

Since September 16th, the KFA has been considering whether or not the negotiated Remote Work Framework is still appropriate given its new wide-ranging application.

After consideration, our advice remains to follow the Employer’s direction to fill out the framework.

 

In Solidarity,

Mark Diotte

First Call for Nominations for 2022 KFA Elections

Dear Kwantlen Faculty Association Members,

In accordance with Article 7 of our Constitution and By-Laws, this is the first call for nominations for the following positions on the KFA Executive Committee:

  • Member-at-Large
  • Faculty of Health Representative
  • School of Design Representative
  • Qualifying Studies & Access Representative

Nomination Period – September 27- October 17, 2022
The nomination period runs from September 27- October 17, 2022, at noon. Nomination forms are to be sent to the Chief Returning Officer (C.R.O.), Raphael Lagoutin. Three calls for nominations will be made during this time period. In the event that the call for nominations results in only one nomination being received by the close of the nomination period, the nominee shall be acclaimed at the General Meeting on October 17, 2022. If there is more than one nominee, an online election will be held.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me. You can find more information about the election process on our website.

Raphael Lagoutin, Vice-President, Negotiations

Officer Responsible for the Election

KFA Online Open Office Hours Schedule for Fall 2022

Dear KFA Members,

We are pleased to announce the KFA Open Office Hours schedule for Fall 2022. Representatives from the KFA Table Officers and/or Executive Committee will be available on Teams (via the links in your Outlook Calendar) at the times designated to take questions, provide updates, and chat about anything that’s on your mind regarding your work at KPU. Please drop in if you’re around!

If these times don’t work for you, or your matter is more confidential, please remember we are also available by email (see https://yourkfa.ca/contact/, or send a message to a Table Officer or Executive rep directly) or phone (604-599-2200 – voicemails will be returned as soon as possible).

October:

  • Tuesday October 4 , 9:00-10:30 am, via Teams
  • Wednesday October 26, 2:00-3:30 pm, via Teams

November:

  • Wednesday November 16, from 3:00-4:30 pm, via Teams

December:

  • Tuesday December 13, from 1:00-2:30 pm, via Teams
     

We look forward to meeting with you!
Sincerely,

Mark Diotte, Diane Walsh, Raphael Lagoutin, Betty Cunnin, Rachelle Hollaway, Emma Baggott, Kristie Dukewich

A Message from Your KFA President, August 2022

Dear Faculty Colleagues,

Welcome back to another busy Fall term. I hope you found time to relax and even enjoy some travel this summer.  I trust that you will find this KFA update informative and please feel free to reach out to me directly with any questions or concerns.

Labour Day 2022
Your KFA Table Officers would like to wish you a happy Labour Day long weekend!

Labour Day has been a statutory holiday in Canada since 1894 and originates in the 1872 Toronto printers’ fight for a nine-hour work day. The Toronto printers’ strike was ultimately successful in achieving the nine-hour work day, and those events led to the Trade Unions Act of 1872 which made it legal to belong to a trade union. Since that time, local, provincial, and national solidarity has led to improved working conditions for unionized and non-unionized workplaces alike—improvements such as minimum wage, sick leave, maternity and parental leave, and the right to a safe work environment.

This Labour Day, your Kwantlen Faculty Association encourages you to reflect on unionized labour in British Columbia. Over the Summer, unions such as the BCGEU have been leading the fight for fair wages and working conditions within an inflationary context. You might ask: what does this have to do with us? Well, it is the negotiations and strike or job actions of unions such as the BCGEU that lead to a bargaining and wage framework for the entire public sector. While we have continued to work through the summer as usual, our BCGEU and other union allies have been on the front lines fighting for our wages. The KFA encourages you to support the struggles of all public sector unions. Together, we can achieve real gains at the bargaining table.

Locally, the Vancouver and District Labour Council is hosting Labour Day at Trout Lake Park with the New West and District Labour Council event at Holland Park in Surrey

A comprehensive list of 2022 Labour Day events across Canada can be found at https://canadianlabour.ca/events/labour-day-events-2022/

Bargaining
Please join me in welcoming incoming KFA Vice President Raphael Lagoutin who will be leading negotiations this round. As alluded to above, no provincial framework or mandate has yet been set by the BC Provincial Government. This has somewhat hindered both parties’ ability to freely bargain and discuss monetary items. We will continue negotiations in Fall 2022 and more updates will follow.

Conflict of Interest Update
Many faculty members have raised concern about the recent changes to KPU’s Conflict of Interest (COI) Policy and your KFA shares these concerns. On May 31st 2022, we put out a communication to members encouraging anyone who has concerns about the policy to post them on the policy blog. As a result, we went from seven (7) comments to over fifty comments in a very short time.

The new policy has now been approved and posted, and, perhaps as a result of our work, an important change was made to the policy in C. Statement of Policy Principles, 4. Outside Activities, c.

This policy requires that employees notify their immediate supervisor or appropriate vice-president as quickly as possible where that employee is simultaneously employed with another institution or organization, or involved in any outside activities, and where that employment or outside activity may potentially compromise or diminish the employee’s ability to fulfill their employment obligations to the University as outlined above.

The KFA position is that the policy now reads that reporting only occur “where that employment or outside activity may potentially compromise or diminish the employee’s ability to fulfill their employment obligations to the University as outlined above.” The original wording of the draft policy meant reporting must occur whether or not there was a real or potential COI. The addition of the word “and” makes all the difference. If this language is relevant to your situation, please reach out to the KFA for support and/or confirm with the Employer whether or not you need to report under this policy.

It is worth emphasizing that this change to the Policy is an example of collective action at work. Faculty members mobilizing and organizing can result in significant changes at KPU. Thank you all.

LOU #13: Over enrolment
As you may know, Letter of Understanding #13: Joint Committee on Class Size Past Practice was negotiated in the last round of bargaining. The KFA understood that the joint committee would discuss the past practices of class sizes for approximately 50 courses. We now believe that the Employer understood that the joint committee would discuss the past practices of class sizes for upwards of 500 courses. Since the parties “fail[ed] to agree on specific increases to registration limits” (LOU#13), the matter went to arbitration.

Arbitrator Ken Saunders helped the parties negotiate a settlement agreement whereby a Department might “opt-in to allow specific courses to be over-enrolled…by up to 5 students (i.e. 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5).” In essence, decisions about over-enrollment are departmental decisions made on a course by course basis. Further, should the class remain over-enrolled past the stable enrollment date, faculty would receive compensation of $225 for each student payable on specific dates. The goal is to achieve a target of 75% of 3000 students (2250) by January 31, 2023. For the full agreement, please log onto  yourkfa.ca. Once logged on, you should find the agreement here: https://yourkfa.ca/assets/media/SETTLEMENT-AGREEMENT-Over-enrolment_FINAL-1.pdf  

Please see the following tool developed for Over-enrolment Tracking and scroll down to “tracking” under “Over-enrolment Report.” While the numbers still need to be verified, it appears as though there were 435 over-enrolled seats out of 742 spaces in Summer 2022, and, to date, 708 seats of 1010 spaces in Fall 2022. If the numbers on the tracking tool do not match what is happening in your area, please be in touch.

While we encourage you to consider the over-enrollment process in your department, and we may be a bit shy of our overall target so far, this data also tells us that the Employer’s premise of “if you increase class size, they will come” was incorrect since there are seemingly a few hundred unfilled spaces each term—at least with the data we have to date.

Please contact the KFA with any questions.

Post-65 Benefits
Over the past year, the KFA has received many inquiries about Post-65 benefits, and members have asked us if improving these benefits is a priority and whether age-based benefits are discriminatory.

In the first instance, members have been informed that KFA priorities are set by the membership. As an issue important to some members, improving Post-65 benefits was one of the bargaining priorities approved by the general membership for this round of bargaining. 

When we last reviewed the faculty numbers reported by the Employer to PSEA, we observed a total of 1002 faculty members. Of these, 94 are post-65 members, 116 are aged 61-65, and 166 are aged 51-55. So, while we have about 10% post-65 faculty members, 38% of us may potentially consider this issue pressing in the coming years, and it is likely a concern for all of us who hope to have a full career at KPU.

People often ask me about my personal position on post-65 benefits. The answer remains the same: I don’t have a particular position other than to say that my task is to work on behalf of members and this is why improvements for post-65 members are one of many bargaining priorities this round. There is no guarantee, of course, but it is something the KFA bargaining team will be pursuing within the balance of representing the needs of all members.

Is the current state of post-65 benefits discriminatory? Unfortunately, the answer is “no,” despite how we may personally feel about the topic. There are legal cases challenging post-65 benefits on the basis of discrimination, but until these cases are resolved there is no discrimination according to the law.

The matter is covered in the BC Human Rights Code Section 13 Discrimination in Employment. Section 13 (1)(b) means, among other things, that a person must not be discriminated against on the basis of the “age of that person.” Yet, 13 (3) States that “Subsection (1) does not apply [emphasis added]…(b) as it relates to…a bona fide group or employee insurance plan….” The quoted language means that such discrimination is legal as it relates to an insurance plan, and at KPU we do have a bone fide insurance plan in place. As recently as 2020, the BC Human Rights Tribunal confirmed that bona fide employee insurance plans are not discriminatory.

What can we do? As mentioned, we try to negotiate improvements at the bargaining table. We also await the outcomes of the legal challenges to the current state of law on this important issue.

Observations: Trends and Patterns
Over the past months, KFA Table Officers and Executive Representatives have been observing various trends and patterns at KPU.

One trend in the Spring and Summer that you may have noticed is the numerous time release positions the Employer has made available for faculty. What you may not know is that the KFA is an integral part of making sure these positions are “guided by the principles of fairness and transparency” as per the Collective Agreement. In each instance, the Employer approached the KFA with the idea for a time release position and the KFA was able to work with the Employer to ensure that the provisions of the Collective Agreement were followed. This is a clear example of where working with Deans, Associate Deans, the VP Academic, and other administrators can lead to positive outcomes for faculty. 

Despite this positive collaboration on time release, other concerning trends have occurred. The most obvious trend is what we refer to in “union-speak” as a “management rights grab.” This happens when an Employer seeks to expand their ability to control and direct the workforce in whatever manner they best see fit; often, this occurs with little regard for faculty members or their interests at KPU.

What does this look like? One example is the initial draft language of the Conflict of Interest Policy, which would have required reporting of all external employment under threat of discipline.

We see it too in increasing violations of the Collective Agreement which necessitate more Union grievances.

Another trend is a quickness to discipline faculty members, sometimes excessively. Please know that if you are called to any meeting with the Employer, for any reason, you have the right to Union representation. We can help you understand you rights and we can defend the processes laid out in our Collective Agreement.

The most startling trend we have seen over the past few months is what appears to be increased hostility to faculty members seeking accommodations. These are faculty members who may be ill, may be injured, may be caring for critically ill loved ones, or who may be facing other adverse circumstances. We are seeing these members, who are already in a difficult position, being subjected to invasive and unprecedented inquiries, to unreasonably delayed processes, and to denials of their accommodations. There seems to be a general unwillingness on the part of the Employer to help a fellow person in need. Just this past week we have filed three grievances related to these matters, on behalf of six faculty members. While words such as “decency” or “dignity” may seem old-fashioned, it is our genuine hope that we can reach agreement with the Employer to find a fair, transparent, and dignified process going forward.

You have the right to KFA representation in all processes related to accommodations; stay tuned for an upcoming KFActs on this topic later in Fall 2022.

If there is a trend or pattern in your area that the KFA ought to be aware of, please be in touch.

Welcome Kristie Dukewich!
The KFA warmly welcomes Kristie Dukewich who will be joining our KFA Table Officer Team as a Member-at-Large in Fall 2022.

 

In solidarity,

Mark Diotte

KFA President

 

 

 

 

KFA Online Open Office Hours Schedule for Summer 2022

Dear KFA Members,

We are pleased to announce the KFA Open Office Hours schedule for Summer 2022. Representatives from the KFA Table Officers and/or Executive Committee will be available on Teams (via the links in your Outlook Calendar) at the times designated to take questions, provide updates, and chat about anything that’s on your mind regarding your work at KPU. Please drop in if you’re around!

If these times don’t work for you, or your matter is more confidential, please remember we are also available by email (see https://yourkfa.ca/contact/, or send a message to a Table Officer or Executive rep directly) or phone (604-599-2200 – voicemails will be returned as soon as possible).

May:

  • Wednesday May 25th, 4:00-5:30 pm, via Teams

June:

  • Thursday June 23, from 2:30-4:00 pm, via Teams

July:

  • Wednesday July 27, from 1:00-2:30 pm, via Teams

Aug:

  • Monday August 29, from 1:00-2:30 pm, via Teams

Sept:

  • Tuesday September 20, from 12:00-1:30 pm, via Teams

 

We look forward to meeting with you!
Sincerely,

Gillian Dearle, Diane Walsh, Mark Diotte, Betty Cunnin, Rachelle Hollaway, Emma Baggott

External Employment & Conflict of Interest Draft Policy

Dear Faculty Colleagues,

The KFA has concerns about the draft of Policy HR1 Conflict of Interest that has been posted for comment on the policy blog. In the Policy, #4. Outside Activities (c) reads:

This policy requires that employees notify their immediate supervisor or appropriate vice-president as quickly as possible where that employee is simultaneously employed with another institution or organization or where their involvement in any outside activities may potentially compromise or diminish the employee’s ability to fulfill their employment obligations to the University as outlined above.

Employment other than at KPU is not necessarily a conflict of interest, and it is the position of the KFA that notification to the Employer of outside Employment must be limited to specific and identifiable potential conflicts of interest if they arise; otherwise, such notification falls outside the scope of the policy. The simple act of having another job is not an identifiable conflict of interest.

If the requirement of immediate reporting of employment outside of KPU to your supervisor is of concern to you, we encourage you to comment on the blog even if the same comment has already been made. It is our observation that the volume of comments on a particular matter indicates the seriousness of the concern among faculty members.

https://wordpress.kpu.ca/policies/2022/05/19/hr1-conflict-of-interest/

 

In Solidarity,

Mark Diotte

Acting President, Kwantlen Faculty Association

Last Call for Nominations for 2022 KFA Elections

Dear Kwantlen Faculty Association Members,

In accordance with Article 7 of our Constitution and By-Laws, this is the last call for nominations for the following positions on the KFA Executive Committee:

  • President
  • Vice-President Negotiations
  • Member-at-Large
  • Science & Horticulture Representative
  • School of Business Representative
  • Faculty of Health Representative
  • School of Design Representative
  • Qualifying Studies & Access Representative * (until end of term, May 31, 2023)
  • Non-Regular Faculty Representative
  • Status of Women Representative
  • Education Policy Committee Representative
  • Occupational Health & Safety Committee Representative
  • Pension Advisory Committee Representative
  • Professional & Scholarly Development Committee Representative

Please see the attached document titled “Responsibilities of an Executive Committee Member” and By-law 4.2 for information about these roles. Please also see the new KFA Conflict of Interest policy.

The KFA recognizes that strengthening our Union requires understanding the needs and experiences of all our members. Currently, our KFA Executive lacks Indigenous and racialized faculty, and faculty with disabilities. To help us build a stronger Union, we encourage nominations from Indigenous and racialized faculty and faculty with disabilities to join the KFA Executive.

Nomination Period – April 7-27, 2022
The nomination period runs from April 7-27, at noon. Nomination forms are to be sent to the Chief Returning Officer (C.R.O.), Diane Walsh. Three calls for nominations will be made during this time period. In the event that the call for nominations results in only one nomination being received by the close of the nomination period, the nominee shall be acclaimed at the Annual General Meeting on April 28, 2022. If there is more than one nominee, an online election will be held.

The nominations received to date are as follows:

Nominee Nominator Position
Mark Diotte Raphael Lagoutin Vice-President Negotiations
Marc Kampschuur Panteli Tritchew School of Business Representative
Betty Cunnin Seema Ahluwalia Member-at-Large
     
     
     
     

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me. You can find more information about the election process on our website.

Diane Walsh, Vice-President, Negotiations

Officer Responsible for the Election

Second Call for Nominations for 2022 KFA Elections

Dear Kwantlen Faculty Association Members,

In accordance with Article 7 of our Constitution and By-Laws, this is the second call for nominations for the following positions on the KFA Executive Committee:

  • President
  • Vice-President Negotiations
  • Member-at-Large
  • Science & Horticulture Representative
  • School of Business Representative
  • Faculty of Health Representative
  • School of Design Representative
  • Qualifying Studies & Access Representative * (until end of term, May 31, 2023)
  • Non-Regular Faculty Representative
  • Status of Women Representative
  • Education Policy Committee Representative
  • Occupational Health & Safety Committee Representative
  • Pension Advisory Committee Representative
  • Professional & Scholarly Development Committee Representative

Please see the attached document titled “Responsibilities of an Executive Committee Member” and By-law 4.2 for information about these roles. Please also see the new KFA Conflict of Interest policy.

Nomination Period – April 7-27, 2022
The nomination period runs from April 7-27, at noon. Nomination forms are to be sent to the Chief Returning Officer (C.R.O.), Diane Walsh. Three calls for nominations will be made during this time period. In the event that the call for nominations results in only one nomination being received by the close of the nomination period, the nominee shall be acclaimed at the Annual General Meeting on April 28, 2022. If there is more than one nominee, an online election will be held.

The nominations received to date are as follows:

Nominee Nominator Position
Mark Diotte Raphael Lagoutin Vice-President Negotiations
Marc Kampschuur Panteli Tritchew School of Business Representative
     
     
     

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me. You can find more information about the election process on our website.

Diane Walsh, Vice-President, Grievances

Officer Responsible for the Election

Notice of Amendments to the KFA Constitution and By-Laws

Dear Kwantlen Faculty Association Members,

In accordance with By-Law 3.4.1, this is notice of changes for By-Law #5.5.1 to #5.5.7, #7.8.1 to #7.8.4, #7.9, #10.1 to #10.8, #12 and #12.2.

Please see the attached document for the wording changes.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Diane Walsh, Vice-President,

Officer Responsible for the Election

First Call for Nominations for 2022 KFA Elections

Dear Kwantlen Faculty Association Members,

In accordance with Article 7 of our Constitution and By-Laws, this is the first call for nominations for the following positions on the KFA Executive Committee:

  • President
  • Vice-President Negotiations
  • Member-at-Large
  • Science & Horticulture Representative
  • School of Business Representative
  • Faculty of Health Representative
  • School of Design Representative
  • Qualifying Studies & Access Representative * (until end of term, May 31, 2023)
  • Non-Regular Faculty Representative
  • Status of Women Representative
  • Education Policy Committee Representative
  • Occupational Health & Safety Committee Representative
  • Pension Advisory Committee Representative
  • Professional & Scholarly Development Committee Representative

Please see the attached document titled “Responsibilities of an Executive Committee Member” and By-law 4.2 for information about these roles. Please also see the new KFA Conflict of Interest policy.

The KFA Executive wants to encourage participation and representation from all faculty members, including and especially those who face any form of discrimination or socio-economic disadvantage. This might include, for example, differently-abled individuals, persons of colour, those who identify in the LGBTQ2S+ spectrum, and those who face any other form of disadvantage. If you see yourself in this description, please feel welcome and encouraged to participate and bring your voice to the representation of all faculty members of the KFA.

Nomination Period – April 7-27, 2022
The nomination period runs from April 7-27, at noon. Nomination forms are to be sent to the Chief Returning Officer (C.R.O.), Diane Walsh. Three calls for nominations will be made during this time period. In the event that the call for nominations results in only one nomination being received by the close of the nomination period, the nominee shall be acclaimed at the Annual General Meeting on April 29, 2022. If there is more than one nominee, an online election will be held.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me. You can find more information about the election process on our website.

Diane Walsh, Vice-President, Grievances

Officer Responsible for the Election