Toronto – The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) has asked the Ministry of Labour to appoint a conciliator in its contract negotiations with the College Employer Council.
The union was left with no choice after the refusal of the management bargaining team to even entertain discussions of proposals to address the top concerns of faculty, said JP Hornick, chair of the bargaining team for OPSEU’s College Academic Division.
“While the management team claims in their public communications to be seeking integrity in negotiations and a positive relationship between the union and management, their actions say the opposite,” said Hornick. “When we proposed a better plan for academic decision-making through collegial governance, they refused to even consider it, despite the fact the very model we were proposing is already in place and functioning at Sheridan College.
“We’re suggesting that we let everyone make the decisions they’re experts in: faculty for academic decisions, and administrators for business ones. Sadly, they can’t seem to imagine letting go of control – even when it would mean better colleges for Ontario students.”
Conciliation is an important step in bargaining: if it fails, either side can start the clock ticking towards a legal strike or lockout deadline.
The 12,000 college faculty represented by OPSEU are using the context of the college system’s 50th anniversary to propose a better plan for colleges, one that will improve academic quality while addressing fairness for faculty, including the large number trapped in precarious part-time and contract positions.
“College faculty have a long history of providing quality education to their students,” said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “Their proposals will ensure our colleges continue to provide the high-quality education that has supported the economic and social growth of our province over the last five decades.”
The collective agreement for college faculty expires on September 30, 2017.
For more information: JP Hornick, 416-806-9526; Warren (Smokey) Thomas, 613-329-1931