OPSEU College Faculty banner

On the Line: College Faculty Strike Bulletin #2

On the Line: College Faculty

No talks yet despite Premier's urging

The Premier of Ontario says her government will do everything it can to get college faculty and their employer back to the bargaining table, but so far her good intentions haven’t had the desired effect.

In a spirited exchange with PC leader Patrick Brown at Queen’s Park on Tuesday, Wynne said, “I do believe the collective bargaining process is one that has to be respected. That is where the agreement is going to be finalized.

“Both the minister and I have encouraged both sides to get back to the table,” she added, referring to Deb Matthews, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development. “That’s where the agreement has to take place.”

College faculty are very clear that there are serious issues on the table that need to be addressed in this round. Education quality suffers when contract faculty are forced to work at lower wages with no job security. It suffers when the colleges continue to push down the percentage of full-time faculty. It suffers further when academic decision-making is done solely by managers with a limited understanding of curriculum and course delivery. These issues must be addressed by Council.

Some college faculty are also hearing from their administrators that Council is ready to get back to the bargaining table. This has not been communicated to the college faculty bargaining team.

Getting back to the bargaining table sounds good, but if the Premier wants to end this strike, she needs to use her influence to get Council to address the issues that caused it in the first place.

Hundreds show solidarity at Seneca@York campus rally

College faculty were joined by hundreds of students and allies from across the labour movement at a raucous rally on the Seneca College campus at York University in Toronto on Thursday. Supporters chanting “Equal work, Equal pay!” marched with flags and bullhorns through the campus. Speakers included representatives from the Canadian Federation of Students, The Toronto and York Region Labour Council, CUPE Ontario, and the Canadian Association of University Teachers. Chris Buckley, president of the Ontario Federation of Labour, and JP Hornick, chair of the OPSEU college faculty bargaining team, also spoke.

College faculty are standing strong in support of their contract demands every day on picket lines across the province. At the moment, the College Employer Council’s strategy is to do what it has been doing all along: nothing.

Thank you for the support in these difficult times: a letter from an Algonquin faculty member

I want to thank the two lovely young men who provided me with a cup of coffee on the sidewalk in front of A building at Algonquin College this morning. One of them is a business entrepreneurial student at Algonquin and the other is a Carleton University TA. They reinforced, very clearly, the reason I chose to be out there on the picket line today, and will continue to be out there. They did not have to be there, but they showed their support in a way that I will not forget. They understand what we are doing, and I wish nothing but the best for them! 

I am also grateful for the support shown by the construction and electrical workers who visited our line yesterday morning, who I am now finding out walked off the job at the Algonquin campus in support of us. Thank you guys! You have no idea what it means to us! Finally, I was so happy to see one of my recent graduates who stopped in her car when she saw me out on the line yesterday.  She, and many others just like her, are the reason I continue to do what I do every day! Her success and her willingness to persevere make it all worthwhile! 

Most sincerely,
Sharon Lightfoot

Strike Q&A:

Quick answers to questions from striking college faculty

Q1. What if the College Employer Council forces a vote on their offer?

A. At some point, Council could force faculty to vote on their final offer.  Under the Colleges Collective Bargaining Act (CCBA), they are allowed to do this one time. Do not be fooled: no final offer vote will give faculty the things Council refuses to offer at the bargaining table.  

Q2. Why did I just get a Record of Employment (ROE) from my employer?

A. According to Service Canada the employer is required to issue ROEs after 7 days of an interruption of earnings, including a strike or lockout. 

Q3. Does my OHIP coverage stop as a result of a strike?

A. No. OHIP is based on living in Ontario, not on being at work. If you had OHIP coverage before a strike or lockout and you keep living in Ontario, your OHIP coverage continues.

Q4. Do I still receive insured benefits while I’m on strike?

A. As per OPSEU policy, the union has negotiated to continue extended health benefits, with OPSEU paying the premiums. All employees covered by benefits before the strike continue to be covered for benefits during the strike.

Q5. How much time must I spend on strike duties to qualify for strike pay?

A. You must perform a minimum of four hours of strike duty per day, or a minimum of 20 hours per week, to be eligible for strike pay. Obviously, each local will want every member to put in as much time as possible to support the strike.

For more information about the strike, visit http://www.collegefaculty.org/strike_faq
Do you have a question about the strike? Call our Strike Hotline at 1-844-661-5433
Contact us by email at collegefacultystrike@opseu.org