College Faculty ratify and regroup
Download This issue
The agreement reached at the bargaining table has been ratified by the membership. Turnout was 45% of the eligible voters, 88.84% of whom voted to accept. The new Collective Agreement will expire on August 31, 2014.
The union faculty team accepted the proposed settlement in light of threatened legislation from the provincial government. On Monday August 27, the government amended the draft legislation for secondary and elementary teachers removing any gains for teachers.
Earlier drafts included gains made by the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association (OECTA) and the Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontariens (AEFO). Teachers would have the right to determine diagnostic testing of their students, and long-term occasional teachers would be entitled to new full-time postings based on their seniority.
When the government removed those gains from Bill 115, the only remaining provisions froze salaries, required three days of unpaid leave, and gutted the sick leave plan.
It was clear that this government is targeting teachers and was not going to allow any strikes.
The pending faculty strike vote had a significant impact in college negotiations.
The colleges withdrew all of their concession demands including the introduction of facilitators as a new teaching classification as the September 10 strike vote approached. Minor gains were made for partial-load members and the role of coordinators has been clarified.
Faced with an essentially status quo settlement or the very real risk of important takeaways in sick leave, a loss of three days pay (1.5%), and no gains whatsoever for faculty, the bargaining team decided that a strategic retreat was best at this time.
Bargaining is not a one-time event. Each round builds upon the past and towards the future. External forces interfered with the normal course of bargaining this time; however, even the government describes this phase as “a pause.” The “pause” will end in two years and college faculty must be positioned and prepared to advance the agenda that addresses academic freedom, on-line teaching, salary recovery, and more.
Time to regroup, renew, and prepare for next round of bargaining.
In a year, faculty will be electing a new bargaining team, however, the top challenge will remain the same: the colleges unwillingness to bargain faculty’s demands.
Problems around workload and online learning will not go away. Faculty control over the content and evaluation of their courses will still be necessary. The problems affecting partial-load faculty (job security, adequate recognition of their full workload, etc.) will continue to grow. The gap in salary between college faculty and the university comparator group will continue to widen.
The employer clearly indicated at the table that they were unwilling to engage in meaningful discussion or move on faculty’s priority issues.
To make gains in the next round of bargaining, the time to start is now.
Faculty have clarified our priority issues, identified our concerns and are ready to defend our students and the quality of education in Ontario. Next year as we return to the bargaining process, management will find that we are more determined than ever.
CAAT-A Contract Acceptance Vote Results September 10, 2012
Your bargaining team
- Carolyn Gaunt, Cambrian College (Co-
- Ted Montgomery, Seneca College (Co-
- Rod Bain, Algonquin College
- Gary Bonczak, Fleming College
- Benoît Dupuis, La Cité collégiale
- Lynn Dee Eason, Sault College
- JP Hornick, George Brown College