July 31 Bulletin

Dear members, 
 
As per the recently signed letter of understanding (LOU) COVID-19 Impact on Course Development and Delivery, an additional one-time lump sum of $1,000 should have been deposited in members’ Professional Expenses Reimbursement (PER) account by July 31, 2020, to facilitate the acquisition of equipment and services necessary for preparing and delivering remote and online teaching in the 2020 Fall term. 
 
This email message serves as a friendly reminder that you may use this funding to hire a Research Assistant in accordance with the procedures set out in Articles 18 and 32 of the CUPE 2626 Collective Agreement and that this opportunity also applies to members conducting research during their academic leave. To this end, please note that the same procedures used to hire Research Assistants in any other circumstance apply when doing so within the context of the LOU COVID-19 Impact on Course Development and Delivery. We therefore encourage members to communicate with their respective academic units to inquire about the steps to follow to create a job posting for a Research Assistant position. 
 
Inter-union campaign against larger class sizes
 
Several APUO and APTPUO members have noted a significant increase in the enrollment numbers of their assigned courses for the Fall term. In response to the Central Administration’s decision to increase class sizes in tandem with the shift to the remote and online delivery of courses in the Fall term, the Inter-union Coalition of the University of Ottawa recently sent a letter to President Jacques Frémont outlining its concerns with this decision. You can view the letter here.
 
Under the terms of the APTPUO’s Collective Agreement, there is no provision regarding workload assignments that prevent significant increases in class sizes for our part-time colleagues. As contractual employees, part-time professors must contend with the stark choice of either accepting courses (often on short notice) with increased enrollments or forfeiting work. 

Update: COVID-19 Impact on Course Development and Delivery

Dear members,
 
Soon after signing the Letter of Understanding (LOU) COVID-19 Impact on Course Development and Delivery, the Central Administration and the APUO identified differences in how each party was interpreting Section 8 (Workload Reduction) of this document. As a result, the parties agreed to meet and, with the assistance again of Mediator William Kaplan, resolved these issues.

The APUO thanks Mediator Kaplan and the Central Administration for making themselves available and helping to resolve the issues. 

The purpose of this communication is to update you about the clarifications brought to the application of Section 8 of the LOU, and the possibility of using Professional Expenses Reimbursements (PER) funds to hire a research assistant to help with the preparation and delivery of distance or online courses.    

This LOU confirms, among other things, that teaching for the Fall 2020 term will be done remotely or online, with the exception of a few courses that necessitate in-person teaching. 

The deadline for Members to apply for a workload reduction using Section 8 of the LOU is July 31, 2020. 
  
Section 8 of the LOU (Workload Reduction)
 
As per Section 8 of the LOU:

If a Member does not consent to teaching remotely or online by reason of being unable to carry out their teaching workload, or a portion thereof, due to the exceptional circumstances, the Member shall inform their Dean in writing within twenty (20) working days (by July 31) following the effective date of this Letter of Understanding and may request that the Dean apply one (1) of the following four options:

a. Members can request that some or all of their courses for the Fall 2020 term be reassigned to a regular term in the next three academic years. Clarification: The fact that the LOU ends on April 29, 2021 does not invalidate this option. Members may request that some or all of their assigned courses be reassigned to a later term at any point within the next three academic years. To this end, we suggest clearly specifying to which future term(s) you would like the course(s) to be reassigned in your request to your Dean.
b. Members will be approved for a workload reduction as referred to in Article 30 of the Collective Agreementfor the Fall 2020 term, equivalent to 10% of their annual salary per three (3) credit course they were scheduled to teach in that semester. Clarification: A member may request a workload reduction for as many courses as are assigned in the Fall 2020 term (1 course = 10% workload reduction; 2 courses = 20% workload reduction; etc.).
c. Members may request and be approved for a leave of absence without pay, as referred to in Article 29.3 of the Collective Agreement, for the entire Fall 2020 term.  
d. Any other exceptional measure deemed suitable and feasible by both the Dean and the Member.  

For those electing for the above option ‘b’, some additional considerations to inform your decision include:

  • Salary: the first impact of option ‘b’ is a proportional reduction in annual salary. If you choose a 10% workload reduction (i.e., 1 course), your gross (prior to taxes and deductions) annual salary will be reduced by 10% for an entire year, from September 1, 2020, to August 31, 2021. Aside from the obvious impact on your net (take home) salary, you also should consider the impact on your pension.
  • Pension: As explained in article 30.4.2 of the APUO Collective Agreement, members who avail themselves of the course reduction option may choose to contribute to their pension on the basis of their regular salary and receive prorated credits for years of service. Alternatively, members may choose to contribute to their pension on the basis of their nominal salary and offset the difference in pension contribution for the workload reduction percentage for both the Employer and themselves, thereby reducing their net (take home) salary.
  • Academic leave: As stated in article 30.4.3(a) of the Collective Agreement, academic leave credits for a period of reduced workload shall be computed by the Dean, rounded to the nearest half (0.5) year. Members requesting one (1) or two (2) course reductions during the 2020 Fall term will still receive full academic leave credits. Your Dean should specify the exact number of academic leave credits you will gain in your reduced workload agreement. If you are unsure of the calculation, please feel free to contact the APUO
  • Progress-Thru-the-Ranks (PTR): As stated in article 30.4.3(b) of the Collective Agreement, each year of service during the reduced workload shall be considered as a portion of a year of university-level experience equal to the portion of a full workload. Given that the salary reduction partially overlaps over two (2) academic years, you should ask your Dean to specify the exact impact on your next two (2) PTR increases. Again, if you are unsure of the calculation, please feel free to contact the APUO.

We are also taking this opportunity to remind all APUO members that they should be comfortable requesting any of the four options listed above without fear of reprisal. Both pre-tenured and tenured members have a right to fair and equitable working conditions that accommodate the challenges with which one must contend. It is important to note that neither your colleagues nor representatives of the Employer (including Deans) need to be made aware of the individual and private circumstances surrounding your request. If Members have concerns regarding their request for a workload reduction, we encourage them to communicate with the APUO

Professional Expenses Reimbursement and Research Assistants

As per the LOU, members will receive an additional one-time lump sum of $1,000 to their Professional Expenses Reimbursement (PER) account to facilitate the acquisition of equipment and services necessary for the preparation and delivery of online or remote teaching in the 2020 Fall term. This includes hiring a research assistant in accord with the procedures set out in  Article 18 and Article 32 of the CUPE 2626 Collective Agreement. This additional PER and the possibility of hiring a Research Assistant also applies to members conducting research during their academic leave.

Update: Letters of Understanding – COVID-19

Dear members,
 
We are pleased to inform you that on June 30, following an intensive day of mediation with the Central Administration, the parties agreed to two more letters of understanding (LOUs): COVID-19 Performance Assessment of Members and COVID-19 Impact on Course Development and Delivery.
 
Firstly, we must express our sincere gratitude to you, our Members, for your continued support and especially the support you provided during the negotiation of these LOUs. Our success is directly linked to your ongoing mobilization, your participation in the various surveys we sent over the last few weeks, and your vocal support of your Association.  
 
We also want to thank the Central Administration. Successful negotiations require work from both parties. The APUO will continue to work with the Central Administration to identify creative solutions to mitigate the effects of the pandemic on members’ work and to preserve the quality of education. 
 
Here is a summary of the LOUs: 
 
COVID-19 Performance Assessment of Members
 
The Employer must consider information included by Members in their annual reports, contract renewal applications, promotion, tenure, and continuing appointment applications, and academic and professional leaves applications indicating how the exceptional circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic detrimentally impacted their teaching/professional activities, scholarly activities and/or academic/administrative service activities. “This information will not unreasonably affect the outcome of performance evaluations and career recommendations and decision processes under the collective agreement.” 
 
Members can view the LOU in full here
 
COVID-19 Impact on Course Development and Delivery
 
This LOU confirms that teaching for the Fall 2020 semester will be remote or online, except for individual courses that the University believes necessitate in-person teaching. With this in mind, this LOU:
 

  • ensures that the APUO will be consulted on any changes that may affect members’ working conditions before a partial or full return to in-person teaching;
  • protects Members’ academic freedom in choosing the most appropriate way of teaching remotely;
  • confirms that Members will be provided with support from the Teaching and Learning Support Service (TLSS) and from faculty personnel;
  • allows Members who start to deliver a distance learning course to decide if they continue to deliver it exclusively in a distance learning mode even if the Central Administration decides that students may return to campus;
  • protects members’ ownership (copyright) of all materials developed for remote or online teaching;
  • provides Members with options; if a Member believes that they are unable to carry out their teaching workload, or a portion thereof, due to the exceptional circumstances, the Member shall inform their Dean in writing twenty (20) working days following the effective date of this Letter of Understanding and may request that the Dean apply one (1) of the following:  
    • the Member’s assigned 2020 Fall term course credits will be reassigned in a regular term within the next three (3) academic years; or
    • the Member will be approved for a workload reduction, as referred to in Article 30 of the Collective Agreement, for the entire 2020 Fall term equivalent to 10% per three (3) credit course they were scheduled to teach in the 2020 Fall term; or
    • the Member will be approved for a leave of absence without pay, as referred to in Article 29.3 of the Collective Agreement, for the entire 2020 Fall term; or
    • any other exceptional measure deemed suitable and feasible by both the Dean and the Member.
  • increases Professional Expenses Reimbursement (PER) funds with a one-time lump sum of one thousand dollars ($1,000) to facilitate the acquisition of equipment and services necessary for course development and delivery;
  • provides Members with the option of requesting a Canada Revenue Agency T2200 Form to support claims regarding expenses incurred to fulfill their duties remotely. 

 
Members can view the LOU in full here
 
These, and the LOUs that we have previously signed, can be renewed should the exceptional circumstances surrounding the pandemic continue beyond the Fall semester. Should you have any questions regarding these LOUs, or require assistance in exercising your rights, do not hesitate to contact the APUO. In particular, should you believe that you are unable to carry out part or all of your teaching workload, we strongly suggest reaching out to the APUO.