Setting a strike deadline has resulted in the Colleges asking for a vote on their offer. This was something that the Union had been seeking since November 12th.
The Colleges had been claiming falsely that the Union was “preventing” or “not allowing” the membership to vote on the offer. This was completely untrue. The Union told the Colleges it was their responsibility to seek an offer vote under the revised Colleges Collective Bargaining Act. The Colleges have finally accepted that responsibility.
The faculty bargaining team is in the process of working with the Ontario Labour Relations Board to make the vote possible and to ensure that all the rules and regulations are followed. The Union is prepared to postpone the strike date to allow for further bargaining following a rejection vote.
The bargaining team and the Union will be strongly encouraging members to reject the offer. It is far short of what is available and contains serious losses from our existing contract. We have had rejection votes in the past and they always have produced better offers.
The Union has also proposed that in the event that the parties are unable to settle all matters at the table, that outstanding issues be sent to arbitration. That would require the agreement of both sides. The Colleges have said they would use “every available avenue to avoid a strike.” Arbitration is one such avenue, and at this time is the better alternative to avert a strike.