We are writing to provide an update on the negotiations regarding our COVID-19 Letters of Understanding (LOU) and to outline your rights regarding teaching assignments for the Winter 2022 term.
For the past weeks, the APUO has actively sought to negotiate a Letter of Understanding on course development and delivery for the Winter 2022 term. To date, the Central Administration has refused to engage in negotiations. We have, therefore, recently filed an association grievance about this matter.
In the absence of a Letter of Understanding with the APUO pertaining to teaching formats for the Winter 2022 semester, the APUO has not given its blanket consent allowing members to be assigned any course taught using a non-conventional teaching format without their prior individual consent. This lack of blanket consent from the APUO means that all members must give their individual consent for each course that the employer wishes them to teach in a non-conventional format. Without proof of this consent, the employer cannot require members to teach a course using a non-conventional format, regardless of whether the courses were officially scheduled last May.This includes both distance and bimodal formats.
Further, it is the APUO’s position that, in the absence of an agreement specifying that members cannot withdraw their consent to teach a course using a bimodal format (as was the case with the Letter of Understanding the Impact of COVID-19 on Fall 2021 Course Preparation and Delivery, signed June 11, 2021), members may withdraw their consent and, exercising their academic freedom, change the teaching format of their courses based on their expertise and professional judgment.
As per Article 126.96.36.199 of our Collective Agreement:
(a) are taught by correspondence or at off-campus locations, or
(b) are videotaped, recorded, broadcast or televised, or
(c) call for unconventional methods such as teleconference teaching,
(d) delivered entirely or partially via the Internet,
may be included in a member’s teaching load only with the prior consent of the member and, if applicable, once any special arrangements that may be required have been agreed upon.”
We also wish to remind members that as per article 188.8.131.52,
“a Member’s workload shall not be changed after May 1, unless the change is made clearly necessary by the circumstances. Such change is to be made as far in advance as possible and shall always be preceded by consultation with the Member concerned.”
Put simply, without a Letter of Understanding between the APUO and the Central Administration, no “special arrangement” is in place and as such:
- Changing the teaching format of a course from in-person to a class taught via an unconventional format (i.e., remote, teleconference, online, hybrid, bimodal) qualifies as a modification to your workload assignment.
- Courses taught via unconventional formats may only be included in your workload with your prior consent.
- You must be provided with an opportunity to express your views regarding any suggested changes to your teaching load. After this consultation process, the Dean may send you an updated workload assignment.
- Should you be willing to teach a course using unconventional formats, the Employer must provide you with the special arrangements you deem necessary before you formally consent to any change to your teaching load.
Should you have any questions or concerns regarding your workload for the 2022 Winter term, do not hesitate to communicate with the APUO.
Teaching in 2022-2023
The Central Administration has yet to announce its plans regarding course offerings for the 2022-2023 academic year, which starts with the Spring/Summer 2022 term. Given the significant improvements associated with the epidemiological situation and the easing of public health guidelines, and in the light of the many challenges brought on by the bimodal teaching format since the beginning of the Fall 2021 term, some academic units have, in accordance with the Articles cited above, adopted motions committing to returning to their unit’s pre-COVID instructional formats as of the Spring/Summer 2022 term. We encourage members to have their voices heard and to consider adopting their own motion at their next academic unit assembly, and to forward it on to their Dean, to Jill Scott, and to Jacques Frémont.