I attended the 14th annual Part-Time Studies (PTS) employee dinner and information session on September 10th and I want to thank the many members who stopped by the FSA table to meet with their union and to share ideas and to ask questions.
Here are some items that I heard:
- Disappointment that the FSA has not been able to move PTS issues forward in bargaining and some confusion as to why this is
- The need for dedicated individual Professional Development funds
- Opportunities to become Faculty either as Regular Employees (Article 4.1), or as Temporary Employees (Article 4.2) with the potential for regularization under Article 4.6 of the Collective Agreement.
- Appreciation of the hard work the FSA has done on your behalf
We share in the disappointment at the outcomes from bargaining on issues relating to PTS instruction. We have brought many of your issues to the table and have, unfortunately, not been able to find improvements there. We won’t stop trying. Separate from bargaining, we have been pursuing a concerted labour relations effort to protect the rights of PTS Instructors and to promote the proper use of Regular Employees or Temporary Employees to do FSA bargaining unit work. We will be reassessing these strategies and will continue to develop new approaches outside of bargaining to address these issues. We will also continue to examine how we can better involve our members who work in PTS in those efforts.
In addition, I heard some great ideas for what the Institute can do right now to support the excellent work of our PTS Instructors. Here are just a few:
- Offer online courses that can be verified so PTS Instructors can use them to further their professional development and meet their needs for continuing education in their profession
- Email or mail out parking passes
- Extend office hours of the Safety, Security and Emergency Management department so that PTS Instructors can get their employee cards more easily
- Access to the common drive so PTS Instructors can upload material earlier
- Provide on-campus cubby holes or lockers for ALL Instructors to store instructional material and other items
- Continuous access to BCIT email to provide ongoing support for students
- Contracts for marking
- Contracts for office hours and office space to meet with students…the classroom doesn’t work!
Some of these ideas are new and some are already being pursued. Some of you said you would be emailing me with other ideas and concerns. Please do! You can reach me via email or at 604.412.7558.
I also heard what a diverse group our members working in PTS are: members who make full time work out of PTS contracts; members who supplement retirement income; and members who see their work as giving back to their profession. What I heard the loudest was the pride you have in the work you do. What you want most is to feel valued for your work and to have your work supported.
Of the PTS Info Sessions I have attended I felt last week’s event was one of the best. I want to thank the BCIT staff who brought us all together. I feel optimistic that David Porter, BCIT’s Associate VP for Educational Support and Innovation understood your needs and had some great ideas on how you could be supported. I know that the BCIT Learning and Teaching Centre (LTC) team is top notch and they are a strong support for PTS Instructors.
BCIT President Kathy Kinloch has told us that she wants to grow PTS and that she understands there needs to be better support for PTS Instructors. As a union, we are concerned about the improper or excessive use of auxiliary contracts. We want to see secure employment for all members. BCIT should be capable of meeting PTS Instructors’ needs. Good intentions must be turned into real improvements. We will remind the Institute of the opportunities to support PTS Instructors as we continue to look for the best ways to advocate for our members who work in PTS.
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