News

Support staff from Ontario’s colleges ratify three-year contract

Toronto – Full-time support staff at Ontario’s 24 public community colleges ratified a new three year contract today, which includes gains in health benefits and job security. While the Ford government’s Bill 124 unlawfully capped wage increases to one per cent for three years, preventing the union from negotiating wage

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CAAT-S FT support4success

Full-Time College Support Staff Reach Tentative Agreement – Detailed Breakdown

Printable PDF OPSEU/SEFPO Full-Time Support Staff at Ontario’s 24 public colleges have successfully negotiated a tentative 3-year collective agreement with the College Employer Council. “The bargaining committee and I are excited to announce that we have successfully negotiated a tentative 3-year collective agreement. Despite our bargaining being significantly and unfairly

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CAAT-S FT support4success

College Employer Council and OPSEU/SEFPO negotiate an agreement for Full-Time College Support Staff

The College Employer Council (CEC) and OPSEU/SEFPO CAAT-Full-Time Support Staff have reached a tentative agreement for a new three-year collective agreement, which is subject to ratification by their respective principals. This tentative agreement recognizes the important work that Full-Time Support staff provide to colleges, students, and the Ontario post-secondary education

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College Support #Support4Success

College Support – Public Communications Blackout

OPSEU/SEFPO College Full-time support staff and CEC College Management continue to bargain. The parties have been meeting since June and will meet every day this week. Until a deal is reached, the parties will be focused on negotiations and have agreed to stop public communications. Details will become available once

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College Support #Support4Success

Bargaining dates

June 13 – 17, 2022

June 13 – 17, 2022

July 18 – 22, 2022

August 8 – 12, 2022

August 22 – September 2, 2022

Expiry of contract: August 31, 2022

Update your contact info for important updates

Dignity

Fairness

Respect

Three-circle venn diagram

Dignity:
Recognise and value staff

Fairness:
Create a level playing field

Respect:
Foster inclusivity

Dignity:
Recognise and value staff

Wages

The bargaining team is relentlessly working to achieve a fair and equitable wage increase. The proposal is to add a cost-of-living increase tied to the rate of inflation and the Consumer Price Index. This would ensure that support staff would not see their wages reduced by rising inflation.

To help ensure and promote equity, we are bringing forward benefit coverage for Appendix D Members. An expedited dispute resolution process for drug and medical coverage in urgent and emergency situations is being proposed.

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Benefits

Your team has also heard you on the need for improvements to our benefits. Our proposals will address mental health and overall wellness, which include:

  • medical cannabis
  • dental implants
  • separate mental health benefit
  • health and wellness spending account
  • additional paramedical services and increased maximums
  • coverage for sleep apnea machines, accessories and supplies

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Vacation

While there is no material change to the total number of vacation days, our proposal is for support staff to earn vacation days earlier. We are also asking to align the vacation calendar with our benefits calendar (January 1 to December 31) and realigning the date to request vacation to November 1 of each year. Aligning the vacation calendar with the benefits calendar eliminates the issue of members’ vacation being reset in the summer months, when they may typically need it most. Currently, the vacation year starts on July 1.

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Leaves

During the pandemic, it became very evident that the current structure of the leaves contained in the collective agreement are not adequate. The team is driving forward with proposals to increase the number of family care days and to have all days paid. The team have also tabled improvements to bereavement leave and added personal days to support better work/life harmony.

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Health and safety

Support staff typically spend more time in labs and other areas in the college, requiring safety devices more often than any other working group. All safety devices required should be provided at no cost to the employee.

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Fairness:
Create a level playing field

Job competition

It was clear from the survey that fairness in our job competition process at colleges is very important to our members. Members with high levels of experience are struggling to compete for jobs due to the high and strict qualifications around education. One of the proposals put to the employer was a system to equate job experience with the different levels of education.

Click here to see the proposals document and the chart put forward with the equivalencies.

Another issue many locals are reporting is that the hiring process at various colleges for longer-term Appendix D positions is not done in a fair way. There is a proposal to bring the hiring of Appendix D employees in line with the hiring process for all full-time positions.

The bargaining team heard from many colleges that, despite many part-time and Appendix D employees working for years at the college, they struggle to compete for full-time positions. They are often overlooked in competitions that go to new hires from outside the colleges. To help create more equity, the proposal is to give part-time and Appendix D employees access to full-time job competitions.

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Working conditions

Many colleges decided to implement fully remote jobs, whereby the employee does not have an office space on campus. Our proposal is that the college provides the same office set up in their home as they would receive if working in the office. Our members have taken on increased workloads. Members want the ability to request a workload monitoring review to recognize imbalances in the volume of work assigned and a commitment from the employer that validates this gap. In the spirit of transparency, we are also looking for the employer to provide reporting on annual departmental overtime and lieu time to further identify workload issues.

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Job security

Due to the pandemic, many colleges experienced layoffs. It became clear our job security language needed improvement. Many heartbreaking situations surfaced at several colleges where members who had been employed for years at the college finally secured a full-time job and were on probation, but due to the layoff and bumping process, were let go. Our proposal in this round of bargaining is to give members on probation access to vacancies. The bargaining team is also seeking improvements to the familiarization language to ensure employees can move to positions, even if they require some on the job training.

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Respect:
Foster inclusivity

Holidays

We have a very diverse membership who span the entire province and also live in Quebec. Including all provincial and federal holidays provides inclusivity, allowing members to observe all holidays and to reflect on the importance of the identified holidays. In addition to the public and statutory holidays, we proposed including the last working day off before December 25.

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Education

All colleges offer tuition reimbursement for dependants, but the approach and the amounts provided are not consistent. Our proposal will provide a standardized approach and will include spouses as well.

Our proposal on access to career counselling services will provide support to members who want to move within the organization.

For those who are required to pay professional annual dues as a condition of their employment, we submitted a proposal for the reimbursement of all fees.

The bargaining team has proposed increases to union time off to allow greater support for our members. A better union-supported membership allows for greater efforts to work collaboratively with the employer to solve problems as they arise.

A major focus for this round of bargaining is the inclusion of language that supports changes to practices and systems to support equity, diversity and inclusion. We want to ensure that our work environments are free from systemic discrimination in all forms, and that we create space for under-represented groups.

With internationalization at the forefront of many colleges, we need to ensure that our staff reflect the same diversity of our students. We are deeply committed to be purposeful in our journey to create the best experience for our students and our employees. As part of Truth and Reconciliation, our team will be having meaningful consultations and reflections with elders to help provide guidance on inclusive and culturally appropriate processes and policies for Indigenous peoples.

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