TORONTO – The union representing faculty members at 24 Ontario colleges is recommending that their members vote no to an employer offer that the Colleges will conduct. To assist the process, if the vote can be arranged on or before Feb. 12, 2010, OPSEU is prepared to move the strike deadline so that members can vote and also to minimize disruption to the students.
Ted Montgomery, chair of the OPSEU bargaining team for the faculty, says that the union is glad the employer has finally fulfilled their responsibilities to send the offer to his members.
“All along, the Colleges had the legal right to present their offer to our members,” Montgomery said. “They claimed that we were preventing our members from voting. Nothing is further from the truth. In actual fact, the employer had this option all along, but for some reason refused to do it and blamed the union instead.”
Montgomery says that he is confident that the members will reject this latest offer, which contains significant takeaways and does not address workload and academic freedom issues.
“We still want to achieve a fair negotiated settlement and avoid a strike,” Montgomery said. “That remains our target.”
OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas says a solid rejection of the latest employer offer will send a clear message to the Colleges that core issues are still outstanding.
“Our members know that the improvements we are seeking will ultimately provide a better education for the 200,000 students in our college system,” Thomas said. “That is our goal, and it should be the goal of the Colleges as well.”