Collective Agreement FAQ

 

CUPFA Collective Agreement – FAQ
https://cupfa.org/collective-agreement/
For further assistance : info@cupfa.org or grievance@cupfa.org

Abbreviations:
CA = CUPFA Collective Agreement;
LOAs Letters of Agreement that officially modify the CA
FRIS = Faculty Resource Information System (online postings, applications, contracts);
PTHC = department Part Time Hiring Committee (applies CA to recommend course assignments) ;

1. APPLYING FOR COURSES – Course Postings And Application Deadlines

How do I know what courses will be available next term?
When do I apply?

Course posting deadlines are important for your Department and for submitting your Application to Teach.  See course posting & application deadlines in CA Articles 10.08 & 10.10, also posted on www.cupfa.org Members will be notified in the case of very rare exceptions to the following official dates:

SemesterCourse PostingsApplication Deadlines
Spring/SummerFebruary 18March 10, 6 pm
Fall, Fall/WinterMay 1May 20, 6 pm
WinterOctober 1October  20, 6 pm

How do I apply for courses that are posted?

Complete the (online) FRIS Part-time Teaching Application and submit it before the deadline to avoid last-minute technical delays. Keep your automatic email confirmation as a record.

Apply for all courses you are qualified to teach, include an updated CV (updated annually), and justify how your qualifications meet the posted course requirements.

Please review this 2020 video tutorial on HOW TO USE FRIS:

Applicants can no longer be required to submit course outlines, but when applying for a new course or for any course you have not already taught three (3) times, be sure to add additional information clearly demonstrating your qualifications to teach that course to your CV and cover letter.

You may choose to include course evaluations with your application, but only the Chair of a Department where you have previously taught has access to your evaluations for that specific Department. Evaluations are not automatically available to other departments university-wide.

See this sample application (link) with cover letter and CV supporting specific courses and clearly informing Department Part-Time Hiring Committees (PTHC) about how the applicant meets the posted qualifications.

Do I apply for all courses that become posted or just the ones I have taught or especially want?

Applying for all postings you are eligible for and qualified to teach in any Department will maximize your opportunity for course assignments. Any course you list may be assigned to you, but after a posting period the PT Hiring Committee (PTHC) cannot allocate you a course you have not listed. 

It is important to complete the FRIS Application to Teach carefully, (e.g. number of courses you would like to teach; specific course sections and section numbers; courses you have taught or are already teaching in the current academic year; all Departments in which you are applying; etc.). 

The academic year starts in May with the summer semester followed by fall & winter semesters ending in April.

Courses cannot always be assigned by order of your preference as Departments must fill specific needs and follow Collective Agreement seniority guidelines.

Will I get all the courses I applied for?

The number of courses you receive will be based on your university-wide seniority, qualifications, course availability, etc. as per CA Article 9.02. Credit limits by seniority will determine how many posted courses you are entitled to teach. If you have 90 or more seniority credits, you are entitled to a yearly maximum of 18 academic credits (six courses). Between 24 and 89.99 credits, you are entitled to a yearly maximum of 12 academic credits of teaching (four courses); and if you are a new hire or have fewer than 24 credits of seniority, you can be assigned a maximum of 6 academic credits of coursework per year (two courses).

Who decides course allocations?

Your Department’s Part-time Hiring Committee allocates courses, after which the Chair of PTHC (Department Chair) sends a recommendation to your Dean. The final decision to issue a teaching contract is made by your Dean’s office. In legal terms, the employer is always “Concordia University”.

What is the Part-time Hiring Committee (PTHC)?

The PTHC is a parity committee (CA Article 10), e.g. 2 Part-time faculty members, 2 Full-time members, and the Department Chair. The PTHC meets after the application deadline to evaluate, assess, and distribute part-time courses that have been posted. 

The PTHC cannot distribute or allocate courses to graduate students, adjuncts, full-time faculty, LTA’s, or visiting scholars. Individuals classified as graduate students or Adjunct members are not permitted to apply for courses and must not fill out an online Application to Teach.

How do I know if courses were distributed properly according to the CUPFA Collective Agreement?

Ask your CUPFA representatives on the PTHC how courses were allocated. All CUPFA PTHC representatives are trained on the Collective Agreement and usually apply it correctly. If you believe the Collective Agreement was not followed, contact grievance@cupfa.org.

What do I do if I feel I have not been treated fairly by the Part-time Hiring Committee and not given the courses I should have been?

First, inform yourself about the facts by reviewing the situation with your CUPFA PTHC reps. If you are still uncertain, schedule a Grievance Clinic appointment to verify the situation; if there has been an abrogation of the Collective Agreement a grievance can be filed on your behalf.

How will I know why the Part-time Hiring Committee refused to assign me a course?

Ask for a written statement from the Department Chair/Unit Head explaining why you have not been assigned the courses you applied for; contact CUPFA if you do not receive a timely response.You are entitled to this information and a written statement will facilitate the preparation of a grievance if needed.

How are part-time contracts signed?

You MUST “sign” your contracts online on FRIS before the deadlines noted in the CA: by April 15 for Spring/summer courses, by June 25 for Fall and Fall/Winter courses, and by November 25 for Winter courses. 

Courses are sometimes allocated late, especially if new or extra sections of courses are added at the last minute. Article 10.19 (Waiting List) applies here – there is no posting process for courses added outside posting deadlines but you must “sign” these contracts on FRIS as soon as possible.

What happens if I do not sign my contracts on time?

If you do not sign your contract by the specified deadline your Dean has the right to cancel your contract and CUPFA cannot oppose this decision. There are exceptions for new course allocations.

What happens if our employer does not post courses by the deadlines or if they have not prepared contracts on time?

Contact grievance@cupfa.org and info@cupfa.org immediately.

2. CANCELLING A CLASS

What if I have to cancel a class at the last minute due to an emergency?

(CA – Preamble Article 14): Email your Department Chair and Department administrator as soon as possible. If there is time, the Department may hire a substitute, the CA allows for paid substitution. Only your Chair can authorize a substitute lecturer; faculty have no authority to hire

If no replacement can be found, the Department will attempt to inform your students of the cancellation. If possible, notify your students of the cancellation through email or Moodle announcement. 

Your Chair must be informed of the reason for the cancellation. Your department will help you set up a venue for a make-up class.

NOTE:  If for medical reasons (e.g. illness or an accident) you need to be on leave for a course (or part of your course), fill out the short-term disability forms from Human Resources. You are entitled to 100% of your salary for the first month, and 85% of your salary for the remaining part of your teaching contract(s). Short-term disability insurance is available to you once you have signed a teaching contract; contact Benefits in Human Resources and download the short-term disability form from the CUPFA website.

Can I cancel a class for religious reasons?

Certain religious holidays are available as part of the “duty to accommodate” in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Follow the protocol for class cancellations described above – inform your Chair of your intention to cancel well ahead of time and follow the guidelines above for substitution arrangements and make-up classes. Other Statutory holidays are indicated in the Labour Code and/or form part of University policies.

3. COURSE CANCELLATION

Can a course be cancelled after I sign my contract?

See CA Appendix C. A course can be cancelled by your Dean if enrollment is insufficient. Enrolment criteria vary among Departments/Faculties. While you are entitled to an indemnity, certain rules apply. Contact info@cupfa.org immediately if your course gets cancelled for any reason so we can verify the reasons and circumstances.

4. COURSE EVALUATIONS

What about course evaluations?

Course evaluations are feedback tools; we currently have a generic evaluation for all part-time faculty members university-wide. Evaluations are formative in nature with clearer criteria to evaluate teaching. 

The current Collective Agreement states the following about evaluations and hiring:

(1) They cannot be used as a ground for refusing to allocate a part-time contract unless the Department Chair/Unit Head has sufficiently notified a part-time faculty member of her/his previous difficulties in teaching through official letters consistent with Article 11 and Article 12 of the Collective Agreement.

(2) If evaluations are used, they cannot be referenced without access to the evaluations of everyone else in a Department; the principle of equity applies, that is, using the same criteria for all faculty: if one person’s evaluations are brought into discussion, then all evaluations have to be on the table;

(3) Evaluations can also only be used taking into consideration your track record. Everyone can have a difficult year or an unusual class. Normally, the last 5 years of course evaluations for members with 90 credits or more of seniority and the last 3 years of course evaluations for members with less than 90 credits of seniority are used to determine just how good your courses were.

5. GRIEVANCES

What do I do if I have been discriminated against for any reason?

If you feel you are being harassed or discriminated against by a colleague or a student, please document all communications. Remember that your own communications and emails will also become part of the situation so avoid email replies, conversations etc. that could undermine your position. It is vital to remain professional and not participate in exacerbating the problem. Contact grievance@cupfa.org immediately.

What do I do if I’m not clear about my rights or responsibilities concerning my job?

Contact info@cupfa.ca If you think you are being asked to perform tasks beyond what is reasonable or expected in your job or according to your contract, or if you are not sure how far your responsibilities go, if your academic freedom is being compromised, etc. Article 4 and Article 9 in the Collective Agreement will help you clarify issues re: research ethics.

6. HIRING DO’S AND DON’TS

I was promised a course and/or a new course to develop. I now seem to be ignored by my Chair. What do I do?

Department budgets fall under the discretion of the Dean and the Provost’s office rather than Department chairs. Offers and arrangements must be confirmed in writing for CUPFA to follow up on your behalf.

How will the Chair know how qualified I am?

For courses you have taught at least 3 times, your qualifications to continue to teach these courses are considered self-evident (CA Article 10.15). For new courses or courses you have not yet taught 3 times, it is important that you establish your qualifications when you submit your FRIS Application to Teach. Update the following: your Professional Dossier located on FRIS; cover letter; CV; listing of awards and achievements; supportive letters from students; your best course evaluations; all other professional recognitions.

What do I do if I have a hiring problem in my Department?

First contact your CUPFA representative(s) on the PTHC; they participate to defend your rights and the Collective Agreement. If you are not satisfied with the explanation you receive, contact grievance@cupfa.org without delay to respect the deadlines for filing grievances.

I am at a loss. I believe many in the Department are against me no matter what I do. What do I need to do now?

Changes are sometimes based on new academic priorities, curriculum changes, new directions established by the Quebec Ministry of Education, etc. Ensure that your seniority credits are accurate and document your concerns about events, teaching performance, etc. Bring as many documents as possible to a CUPFA Grievance Clinic for further discussion of your situation. Contact grievance@cupfa.org

Are there any repercussions if I grieve?

The right to grieve without intimidation is ensured in the Quebec Labour Code (Article 15 of Code) and in our Collective Agreement (Article 12). Labour relations are complex, with some grievances based on interpretation of legal arguments. Grievances are confidential and need not be confrontational – we very often succeed in negotiating an agreement that satisfies both parties. 

CUPFA appreciates all reports about member concerns as this improves our Association’s professional strength and quality of service as follows:

  1. CUPFA needs to ensure that a chronic pattern of such problems is not occurring. Coming forward is an important service to yourself and other members;
  2. To ensure this issue does not happen to any other faculty member, the Association works to stop negative labour practices that prejudice its members. Leaving negative practices unchallenged sets a precedent, which our employer may use in the future;
  3. Your grievance will help the Association negotiate clearer Articles, and/or improve the Collective Agreement, best practices documents, etc. in the next round of negotiations.

What do I need to file a grievance?

Keep a record of all details – documents, meetings, email or paper correspondence, dates, course postings, course applications, course evaluations, recommendations, course outlines, etc. Documentation greatly improves your chances of winning your grievance.  Contact grievance@cupfa.org.

7. OVERLOADS

What is an overload?

There is a procedure for all overload requests, and overloads are possible only when Article 10.19 and 10.20 (1) (2) and (3) have been exhausted. If a (non-emergency) overload is offered, you can accept 3 credits of overload (i.e. 3 credits more than your Article 10.18 entitlement), but most members** will have to average their course loads the following academic year with a teaching reduction equal to the number of overload credits. **For members who have accumulated less than 24 credits the CA establishes a minimum eligibility of 6 credits to ensure that the following year’s teaching load remains unaffected.

Emergency overload situations require a written request before the course start date, communicated by the Department Chair to the Association and confirmed by our written approval of this request. A course assigned as an emergency overload does not result in averaging these extra credits over the following academic year.

8. SENIORITY

When are seniority credits earned and calculated?

Seniority credits are officially calculated only once per year, in February. All seniority credits earned in that academic year will be included in your seniority – i.e. summer + fall + winter courses (in progress); remission work performed for the Association; gains resulting from a grievance.

How are seniority and remuneration calculated?

Given the diversity of course offerings and their values, it is course hours that determine how many seniority credits a course is worth and how much you should get paid. The Collective Agreement (Article 18 & Article 8] has established proportional value to a range of courses.

Your vigilance is required to regularly verify anything involving the number of seniority credits, total hours, and remuneration posted or indicated on part-time contracts.

What if seniority value or course credits or salary are incorrect on the contract or on course postings?

Unfortunately, credits and remuneration indicated on a contract are not always accurate. Normally a 3-credit course is between 23.4 and 39 hours (remunerated at the rates indicated in Article 18). Hours beyond this upper amount means you are entitled to extra seniority credits and, in terms of salary, the extra proportional hourly rate.

Before you sign your contract – verify. Verify the accuracy of seniority credits and remuneration on your contract as well as on your paystub. If the seniority credits or salary are inaccurate, contact grievance@cupfa.org.

Are there any exceptions to the proportional hourly rates for salary and seniority credits?

A few courses have a “contact hourly rate” that is fixed for courses involving labs or production courses. As well, courses in the performing arts (Theatre, Music, Contemporary Dance) have special Appendices and Letters of Agreement (LOAs) involving the value of many of their courses. If you are confused or unsure, contact grievance@cupfa.org.

How do I find out my seniority standing, and what if it’s wrong?

See the Seniority List in your myconcordia PortalEmployee Services Part-Time Faculty Positions, with links CUPFA’s Seniority List with credits. Your Department administrator can also provide you with a copy of the current seniority list. The same Portal area provides links to current course postings and instructions regarding applications, contract signing and pdf merging.

To correct an error or verify your work history, contact Suzanne Downs, Office of the Provost at Suzanne.Downs@concordia.ca and copy the Association: info@cupfa.org. Please note that it is the member’s responsibility to ensure that individual classification and seniority information is correct.

9. TRAINING ON THE COLLECTIVE AGREEMENT

Can I attend a training session on the Collective Agreement even if I am not a Department PT representative?

All part-time faculty representatives on Department Committees must attend an annual training session on the Collective Agreement. We encourage all members to join in and learn more about our Collective Agreement – contact info@cupfa.org if you are not a rep but are interested in attending a training session as an observer.