NEWS RELEASE · 14th November 2012
The BCIT Faculty and Staff Association (FSA) will withdraw its members from all institute activities today Wednesday, November 14 from 2:30pm to 5:30pm.
This is the first job action taken by the FSA that has been without a contract since June 30, 2010. There are no regular full-time classes scheduled during this time period today, and an exception will be made for the student awards ceremonies scheduled for that time. No picketing is planned at present.
The FSA is in a legal strike position after serving 72-hour strike notice on BCIT shortly before 4:00pm on Friday, November 9. 78 percent of members have voted in favour of a strike.
“FSA members are dedicated to BCIT and its students. We are only at the point of striking because our members see the quality of BCIT’s instructional model being threatened,” said FSA President Teresa Place.
BCIT’s reputation for producing job-ready graduates relies on recruiting and retaining of faculty and staff with industry experience. Fewer mid-career professionals are choosing careers at BCIT.
"We are urging the provincial government to give BCIT the authority to negotiate a fair and reasonable contract, and have issued the letter below to Minster John Yap", said FSA Executive Director and Chief Negotiator Paul Reniers. “Fair wages will ensure that BCIT can hire and hold on to the kinds of professionals who built this important institution".
Hello Minister. BCIT Faculty and Staff Association calling again
Yesterday we tried to set out the big picture about why we need a fair wage increase, along the lines that you agreed to for the universities. Today, I want to give you a closer look.
Let's talk about Nursing. BCIT led the province, the entire country in fact, in creating a three year Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Because of the commitment and innovation of BCIT faculty and staff, BC can now graduate nurses more quickly. That means BC can better address the growing demand for nurses and nursing education is more viable for people considering that career path. Your government put good money into that program and it's producing results. BCIT now has two in-takes to the Nursing program every year, with 96 students in each in-take. That's a lot of nurses and they are much needed.
To accomplish this, BCIT Nursing students and their faculty and staff now work year round. BCIT's emphasis on experiential learning means that Nursing students have to spend a lot of time in clinical settings. The need for nurses is so great, there really isn't enough space in the hospitals for all the students. And the shortened degree is scheduled so tightly, lost time is extremely difficult to make up. If the program couldn't operate for even a short while, the graduation of a hundred nurses could be delayed.
Over the past year, BCIT had a vacancy in Advanced Nursing Specialties go unfilled for a year. We have a huge problem attracting experienced practitioners, particularly in specialized areas. BCIT has been recruiting for Nursing instructors continuously for years. There's no closing date on BCIT's posting for Nursing Instructors. We can't get enough of them and we can't hold on to them. I don't need to tell you that nurses have a strong sense of professional responsibility and many feel that it's an honour to train the next generation. That honour, unfortunately, isn't enough when it means sacrificing family time, seniority, and health benefits for comparable wages and vacation.
Now, your government has negotiated a contract that will give hospital nurses more money and better working conditions. They'll receive a 3% raise on April 1, 2013. And they deserve it. Workload issues have also been addressed.
If it was hard for BCIT to recruit Nursing instructors last year, imagine what it will be like next year. When you realize that BCIT doesn't top up parental leave benefits for Faculty and Staff Association members, our efforts to recruit the young women who now dominate the nursing profession begin to look ridiculous.
So we have to ask, is this really what your government intended? Isn't this something we should fix? Nursing is a dramatic example of what we see across BCIT. It's particularly dramatic because your government set the mandate for the wage settlement with both Nurses and Nursing Instructors. You have the ability to fix it. Let's talk about doing that.
Our members are serious about finding a solution. As you know, we're in a legal strike position. FSA members will stop work at 2:30 this afternoon to discuss how we can move your government to address these issues. A strike is an option nobody really wants to see, yet members are wondering if slowing down the rate at which nurses graduate from BCIT would get the government's attention. I hope you will work with us to fix these problems before it gets to that.
Paul Reniers, Executive Director
BCIT Faculty and Staff Association
The BCIT Faculty and Staff Association is the largest bargaining unit in BC’s colleges and institutes, representing over 1,400 employees of BCIT, including technology and part-time studies faculty, assistant instructors, technical staff, researchers, curriculum development professionals, librarians, program advisors and counselors.
Comment by John Taylor on 15th November 2012
This is one more example of the kind of commitment the Clark government shows to the citizens of this province.
The Burnaby hospital fiasco, one doctor in Enderby.
It seems, the first question the Clark government asks is, "what's in it for us?"