Quality education tops agenda at demand-setting meeting
The first step in collective bargaining is the setting of demands by members at each college. All of those demands are then sent to the provincial demand setting meeting.
On March 31 and April 1, delegates from every college met in Toronto to establish the bargaining demands and priorities for the next round of collective bargaining. There was a strong consensus that demands need to be reasonable and focused in order to optimize success at the bargaining table. Over the two days of discussion it became clear that quality education was at the very top of everyone’s agenda.
The first priority is to strengthen the language around the faculty member’s control over the selection of materials, evaluation methods, and teaching methodology. It will be the task of the bargaining team to negotiate in good faith to achieve this and other priorities.
The next priority is to improve the rights of our partial-load members. Although all delegates to the demand-setting meeting were full time faculty, they voted to make the right of partial-load teachers to maintain their employment one of the top two priorities in the upcoming round of negotiations.
The third priority is to address the issues of on-line and hybrid teaching and learning in all of its various forms. In all, the delegates voted to take only 28 demands to the bargaining table. The academic rights of faculty, the additional specific needs of partial-load teachers, fair compensation for college faculty in relation to university and high school teachers, job security and staffing, and some reasonable improvements to benefits are all included in the demand package.
The union will give notice to bargain June 4, the earliest possible date under the Colleges Collective Bargaining Act. Meeting dates have already been established throughout the summer, and the union has every intention of negotiating an ontime settlement. Faculty will learn in June whether or not the colleges also intend to negotiate in good faith to an on-time agreement. Faculty are seeking reasonable and needed improvements to their contract. Settlement will be attainable if the colleges proceed in the same vein.
Delegates to the demand-setting meeting also got to explore and discuss some of the new communications tools and strategies that can help keep members informed about and in touch with bargaining as it unfolds. Blogger, Jonathan Singer – Collegeprof.ca – presented an insightful look into the dos, don’ts, strengths and weaknesses of blogging, and other social-media based communications and community building. The bargaining team will utilize Facebook, Twitter and blogs throughout the negotiations process.
Eric O’Brien, OPSEU General Counsel, took the delegates through a comprehensive presentation on the details and implications of the Colleges Collective Bargaining Act, 2008 [CCBA]. Delegates gained a good understanding of how college academic negotiations must be leaner and faster than in years past. Members must be informed and ready to act swiftly to bargaining developments now possible under the revised CCBA.
Two of the major steps in the bargaining process have been completed. The bargaining team will now draft contract language to propose to the Council when face-to-face negotiations get underway. It is essential in the new bargaining environment that members stay in touch to keep informed of the negotiations as they proceed from now to June and especially from June through to September.
Enter the Quality Education Video Contest
Delegates at the demand-setting meeting were excited to learn that OPSEU is sponsoring a video contest for college faculty and our students. The best under-5-minute video that showcases quality education at Ontario Colleges will receive a $1000 prize from OPSEU! The contest is open to full-time and partial-load teachers, counsellors, and librarians at Ontario’s colleges. Look for details on the OPSEU website www.opseu.org and from your Local President. The contest submission deadline is Sunday, May 13, 2012. Put your YouTube skills to work!
Symposium on Academic Freedom and Quality Education
On Friday June 1, in Toronto, OPSEU and CAUT (Canadian Association of University Teachers) are co-hosting a symposium – Quality Education and Academic Freedom in Ontario Colleges. This symposium will feature a panel of academic experts who will examine the state of basic academic freedom – the rights of faculty to determine their teaching and related work – in Ontario Colleges. The symposium will be of interest to current college faculty members, college students, persons studying college systems, and all those considering a college career. Space will be limited so look for the detailed announcement soon.
Although there are space limitations, OPSEU hopes to live-stream the symposium.
Discussion and findings will be made available to all college faculty members as soon as possible after the symposium. Watch for further details.
Your bargaining team
- Carolyn Gaunt, Cambrian College (Co-Chair)
- Ted Montgomery, Seneca College (Co-Chair)
- Rod Bain, Algonquin College
- Gary Bonczak, Fleming College
- Benoît Dupuis, La Cité collégiale
- Lynn Dee Eason, Sault College
- JP Hornick, George Brown College
Contact your team: firstname.lastname@example.org