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OPSEU/SEFPO files ULP over CEC interference in bargaining

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Toronto – On January 14, 2022, OPSEU/SEFPO filed an unfair labour practice (ULP) complaint with the Ontario Labour Relations Board, accusing the College Employer Council (CEC) and a number of colleges of interfering in the rights of members to support their union’s position during contract negotiations.

The union says several colleges, including Niagara, St. Lawrence, Humber and Fanshawe, have directed faculty to stop sharing bargaining information using their email signatures or learning management system (LMS).

Nevertheless, the colleges continue to use college resources to circulate CEC bargaining information to faculty, staff and students.

The ULP also says colleges have interfered in OPSEU/SEFPO’s right to seek member support and to engage in strikes without employer threats of reprisal.

CEC CEO Graham Lloyd has issued a letter casting doubt on the legality of faculty’s right to work to the letter of their contracts, while refusing to address their concerns around workload. Bargaining Team Chair JP Hornick calls his letter “a deliberate, if clumsy, attempt to distract and confuse faculty about their legal right to participate in work-to-rule.”

In his letter, Lloyd insists the CEC will return to the table only if faculty drop any demands the CEC is unwilling to consider.

Hornick says the CEC and the colleges fail to address their continued refusal to bargain faculty demands on workload, partial-load issues, contracting-out, intellectual property rights, equity and decolonization. Hornick also confirmed that the union’s earlier offer to refer outstanding issues to voluntary binding-interest arbitration remains a path forward without disruption.

“The CEC continues to engage in a fear-based campaign that doesn’t even pretend to counter the merits of faculty concerns and proposals,” noted Hornick. “We haven’t filed this ULP lightly. We strongly believe faculty have the right to communicate with our students and the public about our bargaining – and to be able to do so in an environment free from reprisal or threats of reprisal.”

For more information: JP Hornick, College Faculty bargaining team chair, 416-806-9526