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Colleges can call contract vote anytime


TORONTO -Management for Ontario’s community colleges are welcome to call a vote on their “final offer” anytime they wish, says the union representing 10,000 faculty members across the province.

 “While we continue to seek a negotiated settlement the fact of the matter is that the Colleges, under the Colleges Collective Bargaining Act [CCBA], can organize a vote on their offer at any time. Our bargaining team has reminded them of this on multiple occasions, especially after they imposed their terms and conditions on our members on Nov.18, 2009,” said Warren (Smokey) Thomas, president of OPSEU.

Ted Montgomery, chair of OPSEU’s bargaining team, said the normal process is for the union to take a ratification vote on an offer it recommends.

“But we cannot recommend the current offer for ratification because it fails to address the key issues,” said Montgomery.

OPSEU conducted a vote of its membership on Jan. 13, 2010 at which time the members, by a 57 per cent majority, voted in favour of a strike.  Faculty at 18 of 24 colleges voted in favour.

The Council representing management at the colleges said on Jan.11 that OPSEU could have asked the members to vote on a strike or on the latest offer.  The Council also stated that they would consider a No strike vote to be an acceptance of their offer. Conversely, the vote in favour of a strike tells the Council that their offer was not acceptable to the faculty. 

The previous CCBA did require both votes.  The revised CCBA changed that model and instead says that the Council should take an “accept or reject” vote when it feels it is time.