Dear Colleagues,

We know that this week is going to be extremely challenging. We face the enormous task of converting our courses into an alternative format, on short notice, at the same time that we are dealing with difficult concerns about the health and safety of our families, our students, our colleagues and the community.

We wanted to give you a few updates and make sure that you know the union is available to answer questions, and assist you with any problems you may experience this week. We have not yet been able to get clear answers from the College on many of the questions you have, but please do continue to send in your queries, and we will seek answers.

1. Remote Work

The College has informed us that no faculty member is currently required to attend any in person meeting on campus, till at least April 6. Remote options should be made available.  Along with the support staff union, we have advocated to the College that they take the next step and cancel all non-essential on-campus meetings and work at this point.  We are waiting to hear further updates on this.

2. Pay and workload

The College has assured us that all contract faculty will be paid as usual the week of March 16-20.  Both full-time and contract faculty will likely experience a significant increase in workload as you change course delivery mode. We ask that you closely track this time and we are seeking an equitable solution from the College.

3. Academic freedom

Given the public health crisis, the College is within their rights to direct us to utilize the “Teach from a Distance” format. However, Article 13 gives you, the faculty member, the right to determine how best to achieve your learning outcomes within this framework. The College can offer suggestions and tools, but you can use your professional judgment as to how to organize the remaining weeks of your course.

4. Online/ “Teaching From a Distance” format

If you do not have the home-based infrastructure, or do not have the knowledge base to utilize the College’s suggestions about various digital tools, please let your manager know. If it is feasible in the very limited time available, you can choose to seek training (and track your time doing this). However, the important thing to remember is that you can use your own professional judgment about how to finish the term and meet learning outcomes. Nothing is going to be perfect, and setting realistic goals is probably most important.

Please email us with further concerns  and issues, and one of our stewards will get back to you as soon as possible.

Stay safe.

In solidarity,

The Local 558 Team