Dear OSD Invigilators,
Your labour union, the Association of Graduate Students Employed at McGill (AGSEM) was recently approached by McGill Human Resources and the Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD) to find solutions for the persistent problem with OSD invigilators cancelling their shifts for non-emergency reasons.
Currently, the AGSEM Unit 2 Collective Agreement allows for invigilators to cancel their shifts up to two hours in advance of the shift, for whatever reason (Article 9.08). This often does not leave the OSD Exam Office enough advance notice to find another invigilator to take the shift. Due to the needs of their office, OSD is having difficulty maintaining proper exam conditions when so many invigilators with higher priority are reserving shifts that they do not work.
This also has two immediate effects for invigilators: (1) the invigilators who do show up to their shifts often have more work to do and this infringes on their labour rights; and, (2) reserving shifts means that many invigilators who do not have top priority do not get scheduled when they are willing to work.
To this effect, AGSEM, McGill HR, and OSD met this summer to discuss possible solutions. The AGSEM Labour Relations Committee proposed the following solution, and HR returned this fall with the legal language for a one-year pilot project. This pilot project is only for OSD and would change the way that shifts are cancelled in non-emergency situations.
The proposed text of the Letter of Agreement reads as follows:
1) An employee who, without valid reason, is absent or fails to notify her immediate supervisor of her absence no later than noon on the business day prior to the examination shift, on two (2) occasions in An Academic Term, is deemed to have resigned and loses all hiring priority as per article 13.01.01.
2) Not Notwithstanding article 9.08a), an Employee who, without a valid reason, is absent or fails to notify her immediate supervisor of her absence no later than noon on the business day prior to the examination shift, on three (3) occasions in an Academic Year, is deemed to have resigned and loses all hiring priority as per article 13.01.01
3) The Parties agree that a business is defined as follows: Monday to Friday from 9:00am to 5:00pm.
NB: This means that to cancel a shift for Monday morning, OSD invigilators would have to inform their supervisor by Friday at noon that they are cancelling.
Keep in mind the following:
- For emergencies, the 2-hour window for cancellation would still apply without the loss of priority status. However, workers who cancel before 2 hours may have to justify their cancellation.
- This proposed change is only applicable for OSD invigilators. If you invigilate for other Hiring Units on campus (Enrolment Services, Law, Medicine, etc.), the regular 2-hour cancellation notice still applies.
- The proposed change is for 1 year only, or until a new Collective Agreement is signed. The Invigilator Collective Agreement will expire on 30 April 2020, and we will likely be heading into bargaining with McGill HR soon thereafter.
- Any future Letters of Agreement or the signing of a new Collective Agreement may supercede and/or nullify this pilot project. You have the opportunity to provide us feedback, vote on any bargaining proposals, and vote to ratify the new Collective Agreement at Invigilator assemblies. The Invigilator Bargaining Proposal ratification vote will be held on 22 April 2020 at 6:00pm in Arts W-215. We hope to see you there.
After your feedback, we have found that a majority of respondents support the proposed change.
Around 20% of OSD invigilators polled by email completed the survey. Combining these survey results with the feedback we received at our General Assembly on October 16, and from our Invigilator Bargaining Committee, the AGSEM Labour Relations Committee will continue the discussion with OSD and McGill HR with the final goal of signing the letter of agreement.
Several people voiced concerns about the number of opportunities people have to cancel within a semester (thinking it should be 3 instead of 2), or for cancellations to be consecutive to count towards a disciplinary action; we will be discussing these suggestions with McGill HR.
Some voiced concerns about their ability to do their jobs when their coworkers do not show up for their shift with too short notice to find a replacement. One person mentioned that their labour rights are being violated in that they are often unable to take their break during their shift when the OSD is short-staffed. Another person stated they never cancelled a shift before and do not see reasons for why OSD needs a special letter of agreement.
Any further questions or concerns about the proposed system for cancellation may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your consideration.