Member Portal

    • 03 JUN 24
    • 0

    Questions of the Week – June 2024


    Q: I feel like I haven’t heard much at all about any FSA progress on women and gender issues lately. Are we doing anything to improve the working lives of our female-identifying and gender non-conforming members?

    A: The FSA is proud to have significantly improved our parental leave language in the last Collective Agreement. Our union also has an Equity Caucus, which all members are invited to join; we appoint members to sit on the BC Federation of Labour’s Women & Gender Rights Standing Committee; and we frequently publish member pieces that address issues of gender inequality and oppression (for example: one, two, three).

    Yet we recognize that there’s more the FSA could do, and this begins with member outreach. A union is only as strong as members make it, and we’d like your help making the FSA a more equitable union. Visit the dropdown “Get Involved” menu on our website for participation opportunities. Get in touch with your Member Engagement Officer if you’d like to publish a Member Voices blog post. We are also receiving feedback ahead of the next round of bargaining—please feel free to let us know what you’d like to see in the next contract to address gender asymmetries in the current one.

    Q: For the last few years, the FSA has celebrated Bike to Work Week in the Friday email Bulletin but not this May. What gives?

    A: Throughout the academic year, FSA staff and Board have undertaken a process to reevaluate how occasions are commemorated by our Union. This has involved rethinking both how commemorations will occur and what will be commemorated. We’ll have more on this in the fall semester.


    Q: I believe that, in a recent Departmental meeting, our Department violated our own internal terms of reference. I’d like the FSA to intervene and overturn the results of a vote in that meeting.

    A: The FSA has no authority to do this. Article 14 of the Collective Agreement (p. 85) provides significant powers to our members in and as a Department (plus their related manager) to conduct the day-to-day operations of the Department. This includes creating applicable terms of reference that follow the Collective Agreement, when doing so through normal procedural rules.

    The responsibility for Departmental planning and related decision-making rests with the Department as a democratic body, and, to facilitate as much, the FSA has placed increasing emphasis on enacting Departmental Rights over the past few years. Our Information Officer has written a helpful article on best practices for conducting meetings. We also held parliamentary procedure training last November. If disagreements become more procedural than what’s outlined in the article, however, the Union recommends studying Robert’s Rules of Order. With that said, the FSA recommends that Departments work to achieve consensus on important decisions.

    Q: I saw in last week’s Bulletin a call out for members to sit on BC Federation of Labour committees. What are those committees and what do they do?

    A: The FSA has many different ways for members to become active in the Union, curated under the “Get Involved” dropdown menu on our website. This includes representing the FSA on standing committees of the BC Federation of Labour, or BCFED. The BCFED accepts appointee positions for these standing committees. Click through for descriptions. Broadly speaking, the standing committees, through their research and recommendations, help to direct the outlook and work of the provincial labour movement, with appointees reporting back to their home unions.

    Q: Not really a question, but, in the last Bulletin you mentioned some of the ways in which the FSA has worked toward making gains on gender issues. The FSA has advocated for years for gender-neutral washrooms at BCIT, pushing the employer to make changes. This could have been mentioned.

    A: Thank you! Yes, this is absolutely the case, and we appreciate the reminder. As always, please feel free to reach out to the Member Engagement Officer, contact details below, if you spot an error or would like to add to something we’ve published.

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