CAAT-S FT Bargaining Update: Full-time College Support staff achieve 9.5% pay increase!

A step towards easing cost of living stresses, but still a long road ahead.

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Dear OPSEU/SEFPO full time college support staff,

Your Bargaining Team successfully negotiated a 9.5% pay increase with the College Employer Council (CEC) and we’re writing to you with the details of this settlement.

As you know, Bill 124 – Ford’s wage-suppressing bill that capped our salary increases to 1% – was struck down by the Supreme Court of Ontario late last year. But when it became clear in July that the CEC and Mediator William Kaplan were not prepared to address your needs under record-high inflation and a skyrocketing cost of living, we demonstrated our collective strength and walked away from the table.

On Friday, August 25th we returned to the table with the CEC and were able to secure significantly greater wage increases than what was originally offered.

Details of the settlement

We secured wage increases of 3%, 3% and 3.5% per year, respectively (inclusive of the 1% per year previously negotiated). The following is the percentage increase you will receive on September 1st:

  • September 1, 2022 – 3%
  • September 1, 2023 – 3%
  • September 1, 2024 – 3.5%

With wage increases provided, our members will take a step toward closing the gap between their current wages and the rising cost of living. In addition, we were able to move up an increase in paramedical services’ reimbursement by 8 months. The paramedical services increase to 90% reimbursement from 85% will now be effective January 1st, 2024, instead of September 1st, 2024.

As we conclude this round of our negotiations, we can celebrate the wins achieved but we want to stress that this is just the beginning of the journey to achieve the dignity, fairness, and respect we deserve as college support staff. We couldn’t have done this without you!

Thank you for taking action to show support for your bargaining team

During wage reopener negotiations, you engaged in province-wide solidarity actions and demonstrated unity across locals. You wrote letters to college presidents and posted pictures of yourselves wearing blue in a social media campaign to show unity with your bargaining team. Thank you!

You and your colleagues work in over 150 positions in Ontario’s colleges, including administrative assistants, clerical staff, admissions and registration staff, program coordinators, disability advisors, and many more. More than 25% of our members make less than $60,000 per year on average, and of those, 82% are women.

So, we took your stories and personal experiences to the table.

Impacts of Bill 124 on members

We shared your concerns about inflation, cost of living and the negative impact that Bill 124 restraints have had on your lives.

We have members who struggle to afford food, rent, mortgages, bills, and schooling for their children. We heard from single parents who are struggling to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads on one income, despite working full-time. Many are unable to get ahead because after bills, groceries, and rent, there’s nothing left. Some are unable to retire because they struggle to save enough.

You spoke about the rising costs of travel and parking – with some parking increases at your workplaces being higher than your wage increases.

This settlement is a step toward bridging the gap between what college support workers earn and the high cost-of-living, but we still have a long road ahead.

We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished and of the collective effort from a strong and united membership. Together, we said “enough is enough!” We still have further to go to achieve wage increases that reflect the value of the work you do and we are honoured to continue to fight for you.

In solidarity,

Your Bargaining Team,

Christine Kelsey, Chair, L416 Algonquin College

Shelley Gartshore, Vice-Chair, L124 Lambton College

Bob Holder, L243 Niagara College

Marcia Steeves, L351 Fleming College

Mike McKeown, L353 Durham College

Veronica Attard, L416 Algonquin College

Dan Brisson, L 672 College Boreal