The Union and Management Bargaining Teams currently have the following dates scheduled for face-to-face negotiations:
- June 2-3, 9-11, and 24-26
- July 15-17
- August 19-21 and 26-31
On these dates, proposals will be exchanged, discussed, reviewed, and revised to meet your needs, as expressed in the demands that your elected Local delegates ratified at the Provincial Demand Setting meeting in March. Between the sessions at the table, your team will continue to research and strategize how to best support our demands. The team will also be exploring the impact of management’s demands and communicating with Local Presidents, in order to collect information about the bargaining needs and priorities of individual Locals.
The team’s goal is to have a negotiated deal in place by August 31, 2014, when our Collective Agreement ends. It is NOT possible for the Union to strike, or for management to either lock out faculty or impose Terms and Conditions of employment, before that date. However, just as the Union Locals are preparing for different scenarios after the expiry of the Collective Agreement, the members’ ability to prepare for any eventuality (even as they enjoy their summer vacation) will permit the Union to bargain from a position of greater security and strength.
Throughout the negotiations, the Bargaining Team will communicate directly with faculty through a Central OPSEU mailing list. In order to keep up-to-date with all of the news from the team, please call the OPSEU Resource Centre at 1-800-268-7376 and verify that you are in the member database system and that they have your correct off-campus e-mail address.
In addition, your Local President will be sending out information that relates to your College Local. Please make sure that your Local executive has access to your off-campus e-mail address.
The Team will also be providing regular weekly updates to its Facebook page (OntarioCollegeFaculty) and its Twitter feed (@CAATFaculty). Feel free to check them throughout the bargaining process for the latest updates. An archive of all communications and updates from the bargaining team can also be found at http://collegefaculty.org.
In the weeks leading up to the bargaining dates, the Bargaining Team continues to adapt the province-wide demands into specific proposed changes to the concrete contract language of our Collective Agreement.
Over 40% of these demands would benefit all faculty – Partial-Load and Full-Time Professors and Instructors, as well as Counsellors and Librarians. These demands propose improvements to all faculty members’ job security, compensation (including benefits), decision-making authority, and the ability to grieve violations of the Collective Agreement.
An additional 25% of the demands would specifically benefit the working conditions of Partial-Load faculty by improving their salary step progression, their job security, workloads, and rights. Another approximately 10% of the demands specifically address the job security, workload, rights, and decision-making authority of Counsellors and Librarians.
In short, two-thirds of the demands put forward would result in improvements in the working conditions of Partial-Load faculty; half would result in improvements for Counsellors, and almost half would result in improvements for Librarians.
These demands are rooted in chronic and urgent issues of funding and managerial decision-making that affect the Colleges’ decisions about staffing, course delivery, and the disempowerment of academic faculty. All of these trends threaten the quality of the education at the Colleges. To get a better understanding of the current trends impacting the quality of College education province wide, please consult the recently-released OPSEU publication Report on Education at Ontario Colleges, by Kevin McKay, available online at opseu.org.
Upcoming Solidarity Event
Although the Academic and Support divisions in the Colleges negotiate independently and have unique demands presented by their members, we share a common employer and workplace, and we are subject to similar effects of underfunding including the rise of non-Full-Time employees and the deskilling or outsourcing of our work. And this is why we share similar challenges in our efforts to negotiate improvements in our working conditions.
This upcoming event is designed to permit all OPSEU members at the Colleges—both Academic and Support—to show their solidarity and their support for their respective bargaining teams, as the next round of bargaining commences:
June 2: Show your support for the Bargaining Team on the first day of face-to-face negotiations with the employer by displaying a solidarity sunshade in your car. The sunshades recognize both Academic and Support employees, and feature the phrase “Working together for student success”. These sunshades have been ordered by most Locals, and will be distributed to all faculty. Use the sunshade on June 2 and throughout the bargaining process, to make a visible statement of solidarity to anyone who walks through an employee or community parking lot.
Participation in this event is easy, and provides an opportunity to demonstrate our conviction to our members, the employer, our students, and the public.
Strong support as bargaining begins
On Thursday, May 22, CAAT-A and CAAT-S Locals across the province wore blue and held dozens of creative events to support their bargaining teams. These solidarity efforts were often jointly hosted, and were a huge success. Facebook and Twitter showcased many photos and solidarity messages, and the bargaining teams were overwhelmed by the outpouring of support.
A mere ten days after bargaining begins, the provincial election will take place. Although the Union bargains with the College Employer Council (which is at arm’s length from the government), our Colleges are part of the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities.
While we recognize that the bargaining context may or may not change as a consequence of the election, neither the structure of bargaining nor our demands are impacted in the short-term by the election call. Our demands are presented by our members as being essential to their ability to deliver quality education.
While the Bargaining Team is busy at the table, you can get involved by familiarizing yourself with the candidates’ positions on College education, on the importance of public services in Ontario, and on the jobs of the people who (like you) provide those services. You can also be active in your local riding, to help elect an MPP who will recognize the value of the work you do each day!
Governments come and go, but the value of our work benefits Ontario’s economy and society for generations.
the CAAT-A Bargaining Team:
Bargaining Team Chair,
Local 673, Collège Boréal
Lynn Dee Eason
Bargaining Team Vice-Chair,
Local 613, Sault College
Local 110, Fanshawe College
Local 560, Seneca College
Local 237, Conestoga College
Local 562, Humber College
Local 732, Confederation College
Your 2014 bargaining bulletin is authorized for distribution by:
Warren (Smokey) Thomas
Chair, CAAT-A Bargaining Team