KAWARTHA LAKES-OPSEU, the Union representing striking college workers says negotiations came to an abupt halt after the College Employer Council called for a forced vote on an offer they presented today.
In a letter sent to members the union says “On November 1, Day 17 of the strike, the College Employer Council (CEC) finally announced that they were prepared to return to the bargaining table. While this was welcome news at the time, their actions since returning indicate that this was clearly a publicity stunt.”
OPSEU says the offer “peddles the same concessions that they have been pushing for months” and does not address the issues of fairness and quality. “Council has put forward proposals that will have devastating negative consequences on the college system for generations to come. Council’s actions, in forcing a vote at this late date, are recklessly playing with student’s lives, and delaying any potential end to this strike.”
The College Employer Council says OPSEU has stonewalled the bargaining process and refused to accept an offer that addresses their priorities.
“OPSEU’s insistence on continuing the strike is a terrible outcome for students and faculty,” said Sonia Del Missier, Chair, Colleges’ Bargaining Team. “We addressed all faculty priorities and the offer that is available for faculty right now – on the table – should have ended this strike.”
College Professors, insturctors and some library staff at 24 colleges across the Province including Fleming College in Lindsay have been on strike for four weeks.
A press release issued by the College Council says:
The colleges listened to the union and addressed its priorities with solutions on:
- Enhancing full-time employment opportunities for contract faculty
- Increasing pay
- Greater rights for contract faculty
- Better job security for contract faculty
- Academic freedom guarantees, and
- Faster compliance with Bill 148
Here’s what the union says the College Council offer includes:
- Attacks and undermines Article 2 by excluding part-time workloads from consideration in staffing grievances. It also doesn’t allow locals to file staffing grievances that include workload data for the past few years. This will profoundly affect our capacity to get new full-time jobs.
- Establishes an Academic Freedom Letter of Understanding that is less than worthless and that will enshrine the same policies that have given rise to the problem. This is likely more harmful than no language at all.
- Undermines an agreed-to taskforce that the union proposed by including as key stakeholders parties that aren’t bound by our Collective Agreement.
- Implements specific provisions that will help Council evade its obligations to contract faculty under Bill 148.
- Allows for unlimited overtime and teaching weeks. This allows faculty to be pressured into unlimited overtime, and also leads to fewer full-time hires and fewer contract faculty positions.
- Seeks to narrow the definition of professional development and increase management control over PD.
- Attacks the union’s ability to have its members work for their union locals and on the bargaining team.
- Includes the same deeply flawed Return to Work protocol that saw over 1,400 unresolved grievances from the 2006 strike.Ontario colleges announced today that they have asked the Ontario Labour Relations Board to schedule a vote on the colleges’ offer and to suspend the strike until the vote.
The Union rejected the call to end the strike.