News Bulletin 2, October 11, 2017

Fair Trade Coffee
The VCTA Executive would like to assure all members that as a union who cares deeply about fair treatment of employees, we have long offered teachers fair trade coffee for your drinking pleasure in both lounges.  Enjoy your coffee and feel good about it too.

Quality Assurance
The Quality Assurance Committee (a subcommittee of Association Council) held its first meeting of the academic year 2017-2018.  The term ‘Quality Assurance’ refers to a vision that uses quantitative measures of risk assessment and continuous improvement to deliver quality manufactured products.  This approach has recently found its way into the management of educational institutions worldwide.  Since what we offer as teachers is not a ‘product’ but an education, teachers’ unions across the province have argued for different values and a more civic vision.  The committee will be meeting regularly so as to be able to inform teachers on how best to prepare for any actions by the Administration that would reduce education to a quantifiable product.

Asbestos A-500 (please see link below:  SST)
The VCTA Executive has continued to consult with our air quality specialist at the CSN as we get more information from the College with regard to renovation in A-500. The College confirmed at a meeting of CRT (Labour Relations Committee) on September 28th that they had engaged an engineering consulting firm to make recommendations in relation to asbestos removal. It was the report from this firm, containing recommendations and procedures, that the VCTA Executive sent to our air quality specialist at the CSN last week. Our specialist found the report very thorough and has been advising us as we continue to follow up with the College.

The College has stated that the firm with which they have consulted is also doing daily air-quality testing. The VCTA Executive has asked to have the results of these tests, but the College has refused to give them to us. The CNESST and our air quality specialist at the CSN have informed us that there are other ways to obtain the results, and the Executive is exploring all possible ways of doing so.  The College also has not made its asbestos register available to all employees. The CNESST has informed us that we can make an official complaint, and we have begun the complaint process.

Finally, teachers should know that we have a right to refuse to perform particular work if we have reasonable grounds to believe that the performance of that work would expose us to danger to health, safety or physical well-being, or would expose another person to a similar danger. Specifically, we have the right to refuse to work if we think that asbestos is escaping from the construction work sites, either from the area sealed or through the ventilation, if they see dust in their office in the areas that have asbestos, if the machine to take air out (for the negative pressure) stops.

The VCTA Executive will continue to follow up on the renovation work and will keep you informed of any developments.

SST_Construction démolition rénovation

Teacher-Student Relationships and the Revised Code of Conduct, September 2017
In the latest Academic Council Meeting, a new article, 4.3, concerning abuse of power and sexual relationships was passed.  It recognizes that since all college employees are in a position of authority over students, employees must act to avoid any situations that might constitute an abuse of power or trust, specifically, any employee/student relationship of a romantic or sexual nature. Be aware that this violation will result sanctions, up to and including immediate dismissal.

In addition, this position is consonant with the FNEEQ motion  passed during the Conseil Federal December 7-9, 2016, the summary of which the VCTA shared in our February 2017 News Bulletin #8, provided here below for your convenience:
Teacher-Student Relationships:  FNEEQ
Reflections on teacher-student relationships began at the FNEEQ Congress in May 2015. Concerns were voiced that such relationships cause problems, not only posing serious legal and ethical consequences, but also threaten the very integrity of the teaching relationship… resulting in passing the following motion (here translated):

It is recommended that the Federal Counsel:

  1. reaffirm its position against violence, discrimination and sexual harassment;
  2. affirm that, for ethical reasons, it is inappropriate for someone in a position of teaching and authority to have an intimate relationship, either romantic or sexual, with a  student;
  3. call on affiliated unions to proscribeall intimate relationships, romantic or sexual, of those in a position of teaching or authority with students;

Committee Selection
At the Association Council Meeting of Sept. 28, 2017 the following motion was passed to replace the first-come first-serve criterion for the VCTA selection of teacher representatives on committees:

That Association Council approve the following for the Committee Selection Criteria

(This does not apply to elected and designated positions on Academic Council, Association Council or CRT)

-begin with a call-for volunteers, with a 72 hour response period

-random selection (names drawn from a hat)

-when expertise or experience is deemed necessary by the VCTA executive, the VCTA executive reserves the right to choose members after seeking advice from Association Council.

Seniority Lists
Heads up!  The seniority lists will be published next week.  It is your responsibility to verify them so that if there is an error, we can rectify it. You have thirty days to do so –after which it will be official.

World Teachers Day Oct. 5, 2017 and the Fondaction Table
Bagels were so popular this year to celebrate World Teachers Day that we ran out early.  Our apologies to anyone who missed out.  Also, Maxime Bournival, the Fondaction representative who was explaining some retirement savings options, was also so appreciated by teachers that we will try to arrange to bring him back next semester.