Member Portal

    • 04 APR 24
    • 0

    Questions of the Week – April 2024


    Q: What are our rights when it comes to participating in lawful political activity off campus and outside of work hours? Do managers have the right to discipline members for publicly supporting policies or causes?

    A: Good questions. Timely. The answer to the first is that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms provides for peaceful assembly and free expression on one’s own time with limited restrictions.

    On the second question, managers absolutely should not discipline a member for engaging in protected activity. With that said, it appears as a though an instructor at another Lower Mainland post-secondary institution may have been fired for their political activity even after their speech was found to be protected. If this is indeed the case, it points to the fact that workers—even unionized post-secondary workers—may be vulnerable to abuses of power by those who hold it. If you feel you have been subject to negative consequences at work for any off-duty conduct, please contact the FSA.


    Q: What vaccinations are covered by our Manulife benefits? I believe that we got the shingles vaccine included in the last contract, did we not?

    A: Good memory! Yes, the rather costly shingles vaccine was indeed included in our benefits beginning with the latest contract. This is stated explicitly in your benefits booklets (p. 30 regular members; p. 4 temporary), which has a section on this. Vaccines other than the shingles vaccine, such as the RSV vaccine, are not covered, however. As the FSA begins preparing to negotiate with the employer for the 2025 round, we’re welcoming suggestions from members regarding what they’d like to see in the Collective Agreement.


    Q: I have a question about taxes. I’m a member currently working in Flexible Learning at BCIT. Can I claim work from home benefits?

    A: So, a disclaimer to begin: We cannot give tax advice. Everyone’s tax situation is different, and you should consult your own tax advisor for specific advice. With that said, Labour Relations Assistant Baba Oguntoye has written a short explainer for our members in PTS (Flexible Learning) on this very question. It is applicable only to our members working in PTS, without a regular or temporary contract.


    Q: I ask this as my Department’s current 10.3 Pooled Fund Coordinator: With the new Collective Agreement settled, are previous Memags still enforced? Recently, several members reported having these claims rejected/questioned by either our AD Manager or Finance.

    A: I really like this question, thanks. Memags, or Memorandums of Agreement, date back in FSA lore all the way to November 1974, and we’ve added another 700 or so over the last 50 years. Memags are negotiated by the FSA and BCIT between bargaining cycles and serve different functions. Some Memags fill in perceived gaps in the FSA-BCIT Collective Agreement. Others vary provisions of the FSA-BCIT Collective Agreement in specific circumstances, such that those provisions operate differently than stated. Still other Memags establish an agreed upon interpretation and practice for provisions that have proved confusing or contentious.

    Memags like 2022FSA01 that you mention—regarding 10.3 pooled funds—remain in force regardless of the Collective Agreement iteration we work under. If managers are violating that language, please get in touch right away or alert the manager that they should act in compliance with relevant Memag.

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