Toronto – Ontario college faculty have rejected a contract offer from their employer, and OPSEU/SEFPO President Warren (Smokey) Thomas hopes the result will trigger a return to the bargaining table.
“I am convinced a negotiated settlement is there and within reach,” said Thomas. “Let’s sit down and get it.”
OPSEU/SEFPO’s 16,000 faculty members turned down an offer from the College Employer Council in a forced offer vote that was supervised by the provincial Ministry of Labour. By law, an employer may ask the government to conduct a one-time vote on their last offer.
The CEC’s offer was rejected by 62 per cent of faculty who voted, after the CEC broke off negotiations last November and imposed working conditions on faculty in December.
“No one is surprised that college faculty rejected the Council’s forced offer,” said College Faculty Bargaining Team Chair JP Hornick. “Faculty sent a clear message that this offer failed to address faculty concerns around time for students, fairness for all faculty, and education quality. We stand with hundreds of thousands of college students when we say ‘enough already.’
“Let’s get back to the bargaining table and complete these negotiations,” she continued. “If the CEC refuses, then they should at least provide certainty for students by agreeing to go to voluntary binding interest arbitration.”
OPSEU/SEFPO First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida said faculty are not interested in one-sided negotiations.
“Rather than trying to ram through a settlement, let’s get back to the table,” Almeida said.
Thomas said it was time to dial things down and avoid further turmoil for students: “Our members have spoken. What’s needed now is an open mind and a willingness from the Employer to do the right thing – for our students, for faculty, and for the future of this province.”
Warren (Smokey) Thomas, 613-329-1931; JP Hornick, 416-806-9526; OPSEUCommunications@opseu.org