No new job actions have been announced. All classes are in session and all services are available at both campuses.
Students should attend classes as usual and be prepared for any exams, assignments, quizzes or other work that may have been missed due to earlier job actions.
Douglas College is working to minimize disruption to students due to job action. All parties are committed to negotiating a new collective agreement. Updated information will be available regularly at douglascollege.ca through Facebook and Twitter and the labour update line at 1-877-679-0823.
Frequently asked questions
What is going on?
Support staff at Douglas College are members of the BC Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU). They work in such areas as the Registrar’s Office, the Library, Student Services and many others. These employees, along with support staff employees at 19 post-secondary institutions, are engaged in contract negotiations. They are negotiating with the College and an employers’ association which was established by the BC government to act as an agent on behalf of all 19 institutions. As part of this process, BCGEU employees at Douglas College voted on November 1, 2012 in favour of job action. This kind of vote is a normal part of contract negotiations. Similar votes have taken place at other institutions.
Will there be job action at Douglas College?
The nature and type of any job action will be determined by the BCGEU. Provided appropriate notice is given to the College, BCGEU members have the right to stop working throughout the College or to stop working in specific areas of the College. They have the right to put up picket lines around the College. And they have the right to determine the timing, the location and the duration of any job action.
How will job action affect students?
Douglas College will make every attempt to minimize disruption for students. However, job action may affect students. Depending on the type of job action, classes may be cancelled. In some cases, services may not be available, such as the Registrar’s Office, the Library, Student Services or others.
How will I know if classes are cancelled or if services are not available?
The College is committed to giving students and the community as much notice as possible ahead of any potential disruption. Please visit this web page regularly for updates. The College will also provide information on Facebook, Twitter and, when possible, by email. You can also call our labour update line at 1-877-679-0823.
How will job action affect classes, and class and exam schedules?
Some classes may potentially be missed and some examinations may need to be rescheduled. Every attempt will be made to minimize disruption for students, and we are confident that exams and semesters can be completed on time. Nobody wants to impact student learning. Students’ educational experience is the primary focus of everyone who works at Douglas College.
When classes resume, students should attend classes as scheduled and be prepared for any exams, assignments, quizzes or other work that may have been missed due to job action.
Why are staff doing this?
BCGEU collective agreements expired on June 30, 2010. There is a commitment from all parties to negotiate a new collective agreement. There are a number of issues to resolve that are only being discussed at the bargaining table. We will provide updates as new information becomes available.
If only support staff are involved, why might classes be canceled?
Faculty members may choose to honour the BCGEU staff job action and not cross a picket line. If this happens and classes are canceled, the College will give students as much notice as possible ahead of any disruption.
How long will this last?
We cannot provide a timeline. Negotiations are ongoing and everyone is working to reach a fair agreement as soon as possible.
What should I expect regarding picket lines?
Students should know that employees who are picketing are legally permitted to:
- Carry signs stating the nature of their dispute
- Speak to people entering the property about their concerns
- Ask persons entering the property to join the picket line or not cross it
However, picketers are not legally permitted to:
- Blockade entrances
- Use force, threats or threatening gestures
- Construct barriers to block access to the buildings
- Picket on College property
When passing through picket lines, students should:
- Be courteous if delayed or questioned by picketers
- Avoid arguments and confrontations
- If challenged, politely express their intention to exercise their legal right to enter campus
- Contact security if any safety concerns arise: 604-527-5405 (New West Campus) 604-777-6254 (Coquitlam Campus)
- Use discretion if approached by the media. Students do not have to speak to the media and are discouraged from giving opinions that could cause bad feelings and make the situation worse.
Do I have to cross the picket line?
Douglas College respects the right of students, as a matter of conscience, to refuse to cross a picket line during a labour dispute. The decision to cross a picket line is a personal one.
Who determines the college mandate for negotiations?
Douglas College is obligated to abide by the mandate given to the college by the BC government through the Post-Secondary Employers’ Association (PSEA). PSEA is the bargaining agent for 19 public colleges, special-purpose teaching universities and institutes in BC.
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