COVID-19 Updates and News

If any of you are in self-isolation, or do not have family, or need any other kind of help—related or not to work—let us know. We all have to support each other during this moment.
Emails for your respective VPs are here:
https://3912.cupe.ca/about/officers/

We are all coping with different circumstances, so feel free to reach out to any of the executive regardless of which university you are most affiliated with. Carlos Pessoa, the SMU VP, has kindly volunteered to be a point person for this kind of assistance. His email address is vp.smu.cupe3912@gmail.com.

* * * * * *

March 20
• Research activities have been suspended at Dal and SMU.
• The Mount gave us some guidance about student evaluations earlier this week- essentially they are optional.
• Our president has open lines of communication with the VP Academic at the Mount and SMU, and I am trying to establish the same at Dal. She is hoping this will allow me to help address your concerns more easily, particularly regarding summer courses.
• Here is the link to provincial government information and updates on COVID-19: https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/

March 19
• Our bargaining teams have decided to postpone the information sessions scheduled for next week and the vote on the bargaining proposals the week after to give you more time to adjust to our new reality both in terms of your work and family. When the time is right, we will continue with our agenda to Make It Fair in Halifax and Truro. I will let you know.
• Although it appears that the transfer of courses to online delivery is going well this semester (with some exceptions), there have been more concerns over what is happening with spring and summer courses. We are looking into issues regarding this. If you have any concerns or aware of any work-related issues with summer courses, please contact your VP or our president.
• The administration at SMU contacted Karen Harper to clarify some confusion about course evaluations. They state, ‘The Employer agrees to waive requirements under Article 15.04 for this term.’ They further say that PT faculty can use evaluations for formative purposes if they so choose (ie they are optional). Please contact Karen Harper if you wish to see the faculty notice about this.

March 18
• At Dalhousie, the Faculty of Arts and Social Science sent an email with the following message: ‘TAs and Markers should be communicating with instructors to clarify their responsibilities during this difficult transition and should be providing assistance (if required) with end-of-term planning (e.g., moving exams online; compiling final grades; etc.). TA contracts will be honoured financially regardless of whether or not assignments or exams have been cancelled.’ We expect and hope that the last sentence is true for all Dalhousie TAs and Markers.
• HR at SMU encourage us to monitor https://smu.ca/covid19/ for updates as they become available. And they note that we can use the services of The Studio for Teaching and Learning should we require support with our courses.
• Our VP at Dalhousie has been in contact with admin. The message to instructors there is to consider only the barest needs for your class and to deliver only what’s absolutely necessary. They are working on a plan for the exams period and semester end, and give some advice about final exams and alternatives.

Update re. cancellations and COVID-19

As we all know, things are happening very rapidly with many changes as the entire academic community seems to be going online. It is a challenge to figure how to best support and assist you because this situation is unprecedented for all of us and we are all learning about new developments together. As always, we are here to help you maintain fair working conditions as best as we can. Please feel free to contact us (CUPE 3912 executive) about any concerns or issues you have.

  • Your first contact should be your respective VP who has the best expertise about the situation at your university. But if you receive no response, feel free to contact me.
  • We are working on some ideas to assist members in need. Please stay tuned and expect more emails in the next week as we adjust to our new reality.
  • We are also looking at ways to help members with communication about changing teaching and working conditions.
  • Please feel free to pass on your ideas about how we can help. This unusual situation will require some creative solutions.
  • The Teaching and Learning Centres at each university are providing support and consultation regarding online instruction so they would be a good place to start if you need assistance with online teaching. At Dal, the message is “please use COVID-19 and include your course number or name in the subject heading in order for us to prioritize your request.” They can be reached at: clt@dal.ca.
  • I also came across this article about online teaching:
  • The bargaining information sessions planned for next week (March 23-27) will probably be held online as webinars. We would keep the same times (March 23 at 2 Dal Sexton TAs, March 24 at noon Truro, March 25 at noon Mount, March 25 at 5:30 SMU, March 26 at 1:30 Studley TAs, March 27 at 3 Dal PT). Watch for an email for confirmation later this week.
  • The Canadian Labour Congress is organizing a free online webinar on ‘How to be a trans ally’ at 1 pm EST on March 31, 2020. ‘This webinar will help union leaders, representatives and staff learn about why being a trans ally in the workplace matters, and what we can do together to make our workplaces and our communities safer and more inclusive for trans people’. You can register here.

Stay safe, physically and mentally.

Letter to Black TAs and Part-time Faculty

January 24, 2020

Dear Black Teaching Assistants and Part-Time Faculty/Members of CUPE 3912,

As Co-Chairs of Dalhousie’s Black Faculty and Staff Caucus (DBFSC), we are reaching out to Black individuals at Dalhousie that are currently employed in TA and part-time faculty positions at Dalhousie to introduce DBFSC and determine interest in meeting with a few members of DBFSC Executive in early 2020 to discuss how the DBFSC can provide support in addressing concerns around equity, inclusion and other issues in the workplace and on campus,.

You will find more information on DBFSC at the website link below (where links to our Facebook and Twitter pages are also posted): https://www.dal.ca/sites/dbfc.html

The mission of DBFSC is to promote a greater sense of community, advocate progress, and maintain ongoing support for Black faculty, staff and students at Dalhousie University in an effort to enhance cultural diversity within the University and support the academic mission of the institution. Our mandate is:
• To serve as a voice for the concerns of the Black communities at Dalhousie University, particularly faculty and staff, to the Board of Governors, the Senate, senior administration and others as appropriate;
• To advise the President regarding matters related to the Black communities on campus;
• To support the academic and professional development of Black faculty and staff at Dalhousie University;
• To advocate for the recruitment and retention of Black faculty at all ranks and Black staff at all administrative levels to promote equity and to ensure that representation at Dalhousie University is at or above the levels required by the Federal Contractors Program; and
• To work with relevant others at Dalhousie University, including the various bargaining units, to ensure and maintain equitable treatment in promotion, job opportunities, and a work environment that is free of discrimination and racial tensions.

There are two categories of membership in the DBFSC: Members and Associate Members. Members include faculty and staff at Dalhousie University who self-identify as Black and wish to join. Associate members include all faculty and staff at a University in Nova Scotia who self-identify as Black and wish to join. Associate members have a voice but cannot vote.

To indicate interest in meeting with DBFSC Executive, please contact dbfsc@dal.ca or reach out to one of us below. We look forward to hearing from you.

With best regards,

Ingrid Waldron, Ph.D., Associate Professor, School of Nursing, Dalhousie University
Co-Chair (Faculty), Dalhousie Black Faculty and Staff Caucus
Email: iwaldron@dal.ca
Phone: 902-494-4267

Keisha Turner, Student Success Advisor, Bissett Student Success Centre, Dalhousie University
Co-Chair, Dalhousie Black Faculty and Staff Caucus (Staff)
Email: keisha.turner@dal.ca
Phone: 902 494 6456

Fair Employment Week Events

We are hosting several upcoming workshops, in collaboration with the Association of Nova Scotia University Teachers and the Dalhousie Faculty Association, to discuss issues and opportunities relevant to contract academic staff. These will all focus on ways to Make It Fair for us!

Plans and Pitfalls: Long-term Research on Short-term
Oct. 17 at 5:00
Saint Mary’s University, Secunda Boardroom, 4th floor of the Sobey Building

Benefits for Contract Academic Staff in Halifax: Exploring the Possibilities
Oct. 18 at 3:00
Dalhousie, Student Union Building, Room in room 307

Strike! What to Do When Your Union Calls a Strike
Oct. 23 at 6:30
Dalhousie, Student Union Building, Room 303

These discussions are the start of our campaign to educate members about our working conditions as we prepare for bargaining in 2020. We will learn about what it’s like to be on strike from other faculty unions who went or almost went on strike and how it affected the outcome of their negotiations. Let’s learn from their experience! The second one focuses on what benefits could look like if we had them. At each bargaining session we ask for benefits, unsuccessfully so far. Learning more about our options will also us to make more specific, targeted requests for benefits at the bargaining table. The third one tackles the challenges of continuing our research careers while on short-time contracts.

Download (PDF, 383KB)

Download (PDF, 3.15MB)

Download (PDF, 413KB)

Seeking departmental representatives

Download (DOCX, 47KB)

We are actively recruiting Departmental Representatives for CUPE 3912! Consider representing your department and facilitating communication in our union as we prepare for our next round of bargaining in 2020. See the nomination form for more information.

We hope to recruit a representative from most departments by the end of September to facilitate communication of activities in CUPE 3912 this year, starting with Fair Employment Week panel discussions in October.

Becoming a Departmental Representative is one of the best ways to become involved in the union. We look forward to working with you!