Bargaining Preparations Underway

by Bob Davis, Vice-President Negotiations

Your KFA Working Conditions Committee has been preparing for the next round of contract negotiations; you would have received an email linking you to the bargaining survey, which closed on Tuesday, December 11th. In conjunction with other information such as the kinds of grievances the KFA has been dealing with, results from the bargaining survey will help shape our bargaining priorities.

Our preparations for bargaining come at a time when other unions are at the bargaining table or have settled their agreements for increases in compensation: the BCGEU master agreement includes a wage increase of 1% every six months for the next two years, retroactive to March 31st, 2012. COPE at ICBC has settled their agreement along the same lines, and the BCNU has settled for 0 in the first year and 3% in the second.

With these unions in other sectors settling, the provincial focus is now on post-secondary education. While some locals of the Federation of Post-Secondary Educators (FPSE) are still working to complete the 2010 round of negotiations, most locals will be at the table for this round within the next month.

The UBC, SFU, and UVic faculty associations, which aren’t certified unions, have gone to arbitration to settle their agreements, while UNBC is still bargaining. Royal Roads has settled with a 2% and 2% wage increase over the next two years.

Support staff at colleges and universities in the province have been exercising their right to job action; BCIT support staff went on a one-day strike on Monday, December 3rd. CUPE and BCGEU members have also taken job action at Vancouver Island University, North Island College, College of New Caledonia, College of the Rockies, and BCIT’s Aerospace Technology Centre.

As public sector unions continue to bargain for a fair and reasonable wage increase, the KFA is aligning itself with other FPSE locals to get to the bargaining table. The Working Conditions Committee continues its preparations, and we will update you as progress is made.

Your Working Conditions Committee

Bob Davis, VP—Negotiations (Chair)

Terri Van Steinburg, President (Ex-officio)

Michael Adams (Science, Applied Science & Technology)

Gillian Dearle (Humanities)

Jeffrey Shantz (Social Sciences)

Anita Braaksma (Business)

Jennifer Wolf (Status of Women)

Pam Stadnyk (Community and Health Studies)

Bob Hiltz (Trades and Technology)

Wendy Belter (Learner Support)

Diane Walsh (Access)

Sandy Fraser (Design)

Raphael Lagoutin (Non-Regular Faculty)            

Your Labour-Management Relations Committee

The LMRC deals with both contractual and non-contractual issues, and can serve as an appeal body for specific University procedures or decisions not covered by the Collective Agreement. Should there be issues specific to the campus you are working on, please contact your campus representative: Al Sumal (Cloverdale), Wendy Belter (Surrey), Gillian Dearle (Richmond), and Balbir Gurm (Langley).

 

Lobbying Against Bill C-377 - An Act to Amend the Income Tax Act (Labour Organizations)

by Terri Van Steinburg, President

On October 30th, 2012, trade unionists from across Canada converged on Parliament Hill to lobby MP’s and Senators on Bill C-377 – An Act to Amend the Income Tax Act.

Bill C-377 is a private member’s bill sponsored by Conservative MP Russ Hiebert, South Surrey-White Rock-Cloverdale. The bill, which Hiebert says will make trade unions more accountable and transparent to their members, has passed Second Reading and is currently before the Finance Committee.

If this bill will were to become law, unions would be required to provide a detailed account of all spending over $5000, information which will be posted on the Canada Revenue Agency website. This bill is based on the argument that union dues are tax-deductible, so the public should be aware of how the money is spent. However, the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) contends that professional association membership dues for lawyers and doctors, for example, are also tax-deductible, yet those organizations are not being asked to engage in this kind of disclosure. You can read more about the CLC's opposition to this bill in its submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance regarding Bill C-377 here.

On the day of the lobby, I attended an early morning briefing session hosted by the Canadian Labour Congress, where attendees heard from Hussan Yussif, Secretary Treasurer of the CLC, who provided an overview of what’s wrong with Bill C-377. We also heard representatives from the New Democratic Party of Canada and the Liberal Party of Canada, both of whom oppose the bill.

Later that day, I met with and lobbied both Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, Ed Fast, Abbotsford, and Liberal Senator Mohina Jaffer.

The key messages in our lobbying efforts were

·         C-377 will create unnecessary red tape,

·         C-377 will be expensive to administer,

·         C-377 has the potential to intrude on the privacy of individuals, businesses, employers and unions,

·         C-377 singles out our unions and union members for unfair treatment under the law, and

·         C-377 may be unconstitutional and violate provisions of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Minister Fast wouldn’t commit to supporting or not supporting the bill because several amendments are being proposed. He indicated that he was waiting to see the amended version.

After we provided information and shared our concerns about C-377 with Senator Jaffer, she committed to not supporting the bill if it were to get to Senate.

You can find CLC President Ken Georgetti’s comments on Bill C-377 here.

Editor's note: On Wednesday, December 12th, Bill C-377 was passed by the House of Commons.
Ken Georgetti encourages Canadians who have Conservative MPs to continue pressuring them by asking why they chose to pass this problematic law and not listen to their constituents.


Tyee coverage can be found here.

The KFA Welcomes the new Coordinator of Administrative Services

By Gillian Dearle, Member-at-Large

Please join us in welcoming Kyla Rand as our new Coordinator of Administrative Services! Kyla has been keeping us organized in the KFA office since October 15th. Originally from Nova Scotia, Kyla graduated from Dalhousie University with a BA in English. She is actively involved with Food Not Bombs and Sister’s Women’s Health Network, and lives in North Delta with her husband and dog. Please feel free to drop by the KFA office in B201 to meet Kyla and have a cup of coffee!

Kyla Rand, Coordinator of Administrative Services

K. Rand, Coordinator of Administrative Services

Overwork Still an Issue for Chairs and Coordinators

By Gillian Dearle, Member-at-Large

Chair workload has increased dramatically was the message Table Officers heard at the KFA-hosted Chair and Coordinator Lunch on Thursday, November 8th. Chairs and Coordinators shared their struggles balancing their duties with their primary role as teachers, reporting that it is difficult to maintain work-life balance.

Several factors contribute to this problem:

·       The creation of Faculty Councils when Kwantlen became a special-purpose teaching University has

    increased workload; in several areas, the Chair or Coordinator is an Ex Officio Faculty Council

    representative. It is generally expected that Faculty Council representatives sit on Faculty Council

    committees, meaning an immediate workload increase.

·       Also, the change in status to a University was accompanied by a shift from two- to four-year programs

    in many areas, creating a workload increase for those Chairs and Coordinators.

·       Program Review, a major undertaking and a multi-semester process, was also identified as increasing

    workload, as Chairs and Coordinators are heavily involved in the process.

Workload increases mean that Chairs and Coordinators have difficulty scheduling their professional development and vacation time. For example, several Chairs and Coordinators report that the shift to early registration prevents them from being able to leave on allotted vacation time for more than a week at a time after June.

Some suggestions regarding how to ameliorate these situations arose from the meeting. Chairs and Coordinators should be meeting with their deans to discuss priorities and which items in the Tasks of a Chair/Coordinator are applicable. This list is meant to illustrate a series of possible duties rather than provide an exhaustive set of expectations.

Your KFA is here to support all members, including our Chairs and Coordinators. Please don’t hesitate to contact the office at local 2200 if you have any questions or need help with any issues.

December 6 Memorials for the National Day of Action and Remembrance on Violence Against Women Held on Each Campus

By Gillian Dearle, Member-at-Large

The Kwantlen Faculty Association hosted memorial services on all four campuses at noon on Thursday, December 6th to mark the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, which offers Canadians the opportunity to remember the fourteen women who were murdered at L’Ecole Polytechnique in 1989 and to reflect on the gender-based violence that many Canadian women and girls experience daily.

On the Surrey campus we were joined by Kari Michaels and Arzo Ansary from the KSA. Three MLAs also joined us, including Sue Hammell (Surrey-Green Timbers), Jargrup Brar  (Surrey-Fleetwood), and Dave Hayer (Surrey-Tynehead). Sarah Watt attended on behalf of the Surrey Women’s Centre.

The Canadian Association of University Teachers’ (CAUT) Statement on December 6th shares some devastating statistics on gender-based violence in Canada: “As reported by the Ontario Association of Interval and Transition Houses, a provincial association of first and second stage shelters and housing for abused women and their children: ‘Every six days in Canada, a woman is murdered by her spouse. We know that Aboriginal women experience violence at twice the rate of non-Aboriginal women and are almost seven times more vulnerable to homicide. On any given day, over 8200 women and their children are living in emergency shelters and transition houses to escape violence in Canada.’”

The CAUT Statement includes six action items, one of which includes supporting the National Action Plan to End Violence Against Women and Girls called for by the Ontario Association of Interval and Transition Houses in partnership with the Canadian Federation of University Women (OAITH.ca).  

Another important action item is to sign and circulate the Native Women’s Association of Canada’s petition calling on the federal government to initiate a commission on missing and murdered Aboriginal women.

National Day of Rembrance