Message from the Chair
Formal bargaining began June 10 when both union and management representatives tabled their contract demands. In my opening remarks as your bargaining team chair I indicated that we were at the table to negotiate fair improvements to our collective agreement, not concessions.
I told management’s representatives we want to work productively at the table, without posturing or stalling tactics. Our proposals were developed with extensive consultation with our members, and are reasonable and achievable.
The first two days of talks were productive and we are cautiously optimistic by the tone and atmosphere at the table. We have already reached agreement on most of the housekeeping items. Many of these were developed jointly in the past year by union and management members of our Employee Employer Relations Committee. These changes do not alter any rights in our agreement but remove redundant language, clarify, or re-order articles.
We presented 25 very specific proposals on your behalf, outlining changes we want in our contract. Management’s proposal document, on the other hand, is more conceptual in nature. It put forward a list of bargaining goals and concepts. The other concepts that were detailed are housekeeping items, and an invitation to discuss “green initiatives.”
It is important to note that these are only management’s “non-monetary” proposals. The colleges’ bargaining team has indicated they will discuss monetary items later in the process.
Once you’ve had the chance to read management’s proposals and our analysis, we want to hear from you. They’ve been posted to www.opseu.org Let’s make this a two-way conversation so we can best represent you. Share your views with your local union, mobilizer or bargaining team. The team can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
I am pleased to report that our four mobilizers have now been booked-off and have started their work. They will be visiting colleges and campuses across Ontario and working closely with local executives to ensure that all members receive timely and up-to-date communications from the bargaining team. They will also be busy planning special events throughout the summer months to help build solidarity among all college support workers and our colleagues in faculty whose contract with the Council expires, like ours, on Aug. 31.
On behalf of the bargaining team I wish to thank all the members who participated, alongside our faculty sisters and brothers, in the May 22 solidarity building events at many campuses across the province. From all accounts a great time was had by those who attended.
A big ‘thank you,’ too, to those members who participated in our ‘Sun Shade’ launch on June 2. As the steamy days of summer rapidly approach there is no better way of showing your support for our bargaining team than by picking up a sun shade and cooling down the inside of your automobile.
Bargaining is just beginning. We have 10 weeks ahead of tough negotiations. But I can say the mood of your bargaining team is upbeat. Together, we sense a better start to this round of contract talks than three years ago. Let’s hope these positive vibrations carry us forward to deliver a final contract that we can all be proud of.
Video shoots draw to a close
Since April an OPSEU videographer and communications officer have been periodically visiting selected colleges around the province, interviewing a variety of college support workers with the aim of learning more about their occupations and how our members contribute to the quality of education in Ontario.
The videos have been widely viewed and have drawn praise. You can watch them on our Facebook account and on the OPSEU website.
The videos are solidarity- and education-building tools that highlight the wide variety of occupations – more than 150 in all – practiced by college support workers. Their target audiences are fellow support members, students, college administrators and the public.
The project will come to an end this month after the video team visits Sheridan College in Oakville, St. Clair College in Windsor and George Brown in Toronto. Following production, they will be posted to our website and Facebook in July. Be sure to watch and share them with colleagues, family and friends.
Formal bargaining between your team and the College Employer Council started June 10 and will continue throughout the summer. All talks are being held in Toronto. Here is the complete schedule of upcoming bargaining:
June 10 – 11
June 19 – 20
July 8 – 9 – 10
July 22 – 23 – 24
August 12 – 13 – 14
August 25 – 31 [contract expires]
Mobilizers in motion!
CAAT Support mobilizers Mark Hastings, Mike McKeown, Owen Smith and Andre Savoie have hit the ground and they’re running hard!
The four mobilizers officially started their work at the beginning of June and since then they’ve been laying the groundwork for supporting our bargaining team and the negotiating process by building communications with our 24 local executives and their members.
Key to the mobilizers’ success will be to ensure that what’s happening at the bargaining table can be shared with CAAT Support members. That means quick and clear communications as developments take place at the table. Their principal tools to get out the word will be social media, our website and by contributions to future Bargaining Bulletins.
They will also work with local executives to plan events that will draw together college support workers.
Over the course of the next 10 weeks Mark, Mike, Owen and Andre will be visiting colleges to ensure everything is in place as we draw closer to reaching a settlement with the Council. The bargaining team urges all local executives to work closely with our mobilizers to help build a final and successful outcome to bargaining.
We’re up-and-running on Facebook and Twitter!
Our Faacebook page facebook.com/CAATsupportstaff and Twitter @ CAATsupport have now gone live. The popularity of those two social media platforms have exploded since our last round of bargaining in 2011 and we expect more members than ever to take advantage of this lively and interaction method of communication with your bargaining team, mobilizers and fellow members in support and in faculty.
Mobilizers will be working with local presidents to help members to signed up on Facebook and Twitter.
We haven’t forgotten traditional media, either!
While Facebook and Twitter have gained in popularity, many members still prefer to hear from their bargaining teams the traditional way: through emails and via OPSEU’s website.
If they haven’t done so already we strongly encourage all college support members to contact OPSEU Resources to ensure that their contact information is up-to-date. It’s easy! Simply call 1-800-268-7376 and speak with an OPSEU representative. Give them your secure (non-college) email address and be sure to check that your telephone number(s) and address are up-to-date.
Only by staying connected can you be guaranteed to stay on top of developments as we go through the bargaining process.
Be sure to enter the CAAT Support photo contest
Great prizes up for grabs!
It doesn’t matter if you’re the owner of the latest smart phone, a digital camera or a good ‘ol polaroid, all members are encouraged to enter the Great CAAT Support Photo Contest!
We’re looking for imaginative photographs, funny photographs and informative photographs to capture who you are, what you do and where you do it. Or any other photographic idea that you might fancy.
Best of all, we are offering some great prizes for the top three photos as judged by a special CAAT Support panel.
First prize: Go Pro Camera
Second prize: iPad Mini
Third prize: Smartwatch
Submissions should be uploaded to the Facebook page photo app. Deadline for submissions: 12 noon Tuesday Aug. 26.
The CAAT-S Bargaining Team
Florry Foster, Chair (Local 137,St. Clair)
Richard Belleau, Vice Chair (Local731, Confederation)
Rasho Donchev (Local 559, Centennial)
Dan Brisson (Local 672, Boreal)
Deborah Cooper (Local 563, Humber)
Janice Hagan (Local 561, Seneca)
Kathy Hokum (Local 351, Fleming)
Your 2014 Bargaining Bulletin is authorized for distribution by:
Warren (Smokey) Thomas
CAAT-Support Bargaining Team