Afternoon Update – March 25

March 25, 2020

Afternoon Update – March 25

Today, CUASA met with the Carleton administration at the Joint Committee for the Administration of the Agreement (JCAA). This was a dedicated COVID-19 meeting. For reference, your CUASA representatives on the JCAA are: Angelo Mingarelli (President), Root Gorelick (Past President), Pum van Veldhoven (Chair, Grievance Policy and Administration), Chantal Dion (Chair, Collective Bargaining), and Christal Côté (Director/Senior Grievance and Arbitration Officer).

We raised issues with the Employer surrounding the numerous questions and issues that have been raised by CUASA members over the last couple of weeks, including workload, the summer term, tenure and promotion, accommodation requests, sabbaticals, travel, health and safety, etc.

As we said yesterday, despite promises from the University President to consult with the unions, CUASA remains concerned that many decisions are being made exclusively by the University administration without meaningful consultation. We also expressed concern that the Employer is adding unnecessary layers in decision-making processes related to CUASA, namely the Academic Continuity Committee and the COVID-19 Steering Committee to whom the Deputy Provost must report. Adding these two special committees to the COVID-19 situation is creating unnecessary delays in addressing the concerns of our members.

In these unprecedented times, we have to be able to work together to determine the best way to address these concerns, and how to proceed with our new “normal” while the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting our lives. CUASA and the University have agreed to hold weekly JCAA meetings for at least the next two weeks. Deputy Provost Lorraine Dyke also assured us that she is working hard to get answers to our concerns as quickly as she can.

Discussions on certain issues, such as workload and tenure and promotion, will continue in coming days as we explore possible options, including Memoranda of Agreement. CUASA has also expressed an interest for a Letter of Understanding on workload (more on this later). We asked about the fall term, and have been told there have been no decisions made on this yet. We have also been told that information on deferred examinations and student accommodations through the Paul Menton Centre is forthcoming.

Some members who are on sabbatical have expressed a wish to pause their remaining time and return to full pay. Other sabbatical scenarios were presented and are being explored by the Employer. We also asked about members who are stranded abroad and on reduced pay due to the sabbatical stipend. The Employer has said that requests around sabbaticals will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis by the various deans.

We have heard from some members who have been contacting their deans and are being told that decisions normally under a dean’s purview are now out of their hands and have to be moved up the line. We have been assured that the deans and the Provost retain all of their decision-making authority in accordance with the collective agreement.

We reminded the Employer today that the government made itself clear that no one should be losing jobs because of COVID-19 and that we expect Article 36 – Term Appointments to be fully respected.

We have had some members express concern about not being able to work from home and asking if they can continue to work out of their campus offices. The Employer informed us that the campus remains open and there will be information released in coming days on limiting access to some buildings and closing others. Although specific buildings may be locked, access may be gained, (more on this soon). We ask members who are considering going to campus for work purposes to look for this email, and to notify Campus Safety of your presence.

That said, safety must come first. All levels of government and public health agencies continue to advise that you should remain home when possible and limit non-essential trips out of the home. The City of Ottawa has declared a state of emergency today. While the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the city has not changed in the last 24 hours, the numbers in Ontario have jumped by over 100, the highest single-day increase yet.

If you are unable to work from home, whether for illness, familial responsibilities, or other, we strongly advise you to contact your Chair/Director for an accommodation request to immediately seek workload relief.

Know that CUASA is here to help. We are with you, and we encourage you to reach out to us if you need anything or have concerns. If you’re abroad, we strongly encourage you to let us know, and keep us aware of your situation.

Hang in there. Together, we’ll make it through this.

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