January 7, 2022
Chief Executive Officer
College Employer Council
Faculty members represented by OPSEU/SEFPO working at Ontario’s 24 public colleges have now begun Phase 2 of the work-to-rule campaign, as part of a legal strike action, which began on December 18, 2021.
As you know, work-to-rule is a legally recognized form of strike action, as per the Colleges Collective Bargaining Act (CCBA). The CEC is aware of this, and has responded to OPSEU/SEFPO’s strike action on its website. Clearly, there is no confusion about whether our members are engaged in strike activity.
There should be no confusion about the scope of that strike activity either. OPSEU/SEFPO has been abundantly clear about the scope and has clearly communicated that our members will not be performing tasks outside of the strict letter of the Collective Agreement, and where applicable, the requirements of their SWFs, including participation in orientation events. Such tasks are considered struck work, and performing them would be equivalent to crossing a picket line.
Any direction from the employer to faculty to not engage in strike activity – or any reprisal, or threat of reprisal for doing so – will be considered interference with the union and OPSEU/SEFPO will take any, and all, appropriate steps required. We will not allow our members to be intimidated, coerced or retaliated against.
You can imagine how disheartening it has been to hear that our members are receiving threatening communications through the employers’ communication system across the 24 colleges. This is classic union busting, Graham. I’ve been around long enough, and I’ve seen it all. We’ve had members being targeted by the employer, and threatened with discipline.
I write to you today demanding an end to these harmful intimidation tactics, and to remind you that such tactics are in potential violation of the CCBA. Our union will continue to support college faculty members, and we will proudly defend any, and all members who face disciplinary retaliation.
It’s time to lower the temperature and get back to the bargaining table.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas
cc JP Hornick, Chair, CAAT-A Bargaining Team