Hello NASA members,
Last week, after almost eight weeks, we received a response to our Instructional Assistant II Petition from Peter Leclaire.
Since the first consultations in February, the introduction of Instructional Assistant II positions has been of great concern to NASA members, namely that the IA II position has the ability to “teach technical lessons independently” and that they are replacing NASA faculty. Over 90 members are involved in group grievances around this issue, and NASA has filed a bad-faith bargaining complaint with the Alberta Labour Relations Board.
NASA members are so concerned about this issue that they are not limiting their attempts to communicate with NAIT to the grievance process. Hundreds of our members signed a petition – calling on NAIT to stop using IA IIs to teach and replace NASA members. It was an impressive show of solidarity from casual, temporary, and continuing members across all schools, including signatures from counsellors, librarians, and curriculum and instructional specialists.
Since the petition was delivered on October 20, the issue of Instructional Assistant II positions also became a concern to students and faculty on Academic Council, who raised concerns about the academic applications of this change in staffing, with pointed questions asked that NAIT management has not been able to answer such as “What research has been done to ensure there are no adverse effects on students and their education?”
Then, despite a majority vote from Academic Council requesting NAIT’s Board of Governors review the IA II role, the Board of Governors decided to discuss the situation in camera (privately) and all the NAIT community heard from them is that they declined a request from Academic Council to review the matter.
It is also important to know that after a faculty member in the Automotive Service Technician program announced retirement earlier this semester, an Instructional Assistant II position was posted, not an instructor position.
The message NAIT has been sending through these actions is that our concerns do not matter and that NAIT is going to go ahead anyway. Instead of engaging us on the issue, they are essentially telling us “We’ll see you in court.”
I encourage you to read the attached response from Peter and ask yourself if he has sufficiently answered your concerns about IA IIs, their ability to teach independently, and their replacement of NASA instructors.
And, as always, please reach out if you would like to discuss this issue further or have any questions.
President, NAIT Academic Staff Association