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REJECT the colleges’ contract offer – and get us back to bargaining

#standwithfaculty #solidaritepersonnelscolaire

Dear college faculty members:

On Monday, November 13, the College Employer Council made a bid to persuade college faculty to accept the contract offer they put forward on November 6. This was expected.

Nothing Council said was new. Your union bargaining team is unanimously recommending that all faculty members vote to reject the offer.

Our reasons for saying this have not changed. The offer contains many serious concessions that will harm faculty and harm our colleges. This offer will not deliver on the progressive change our colleges need in order to treat faculty fairly and improve our ability to give our students the best possible education.

There are many differences between council’s offer and what faculty need, and despite what Council has suggested, academic freedom is far from the only issue in dispute. To be specific, here are just some of the proposals in Council’s offer that your faculty bargaining team has not agreed to:

  • Article 2.03: The removal of the existing Article 2.03 takes away the union’s conversion language and our ability to force the employer to post for full-time positions when non-union employees fill in as sessionals.
  • Article 8 – Union Business: This severely restricts union time off.
  • Article 11 – Workload: This allows unlimited overtime, affecting the number of full-time jobs.
  • Article 13 – Academic Freedom: This language actually undermines our decision-making ability on academic matters.
  • Classifications Definitions: The union has proposed language that the employer has not agreed to.
  • Job Classifications Plans: The employer has proposed language on this – the union has not agreed.
  •  Return-to-Work Protocol: The employer’s language on what happens after the strike is over will result in lost wages and unpaid work for faculty.

There are many more differences, detailed in our comparison document here. Some of those differences deserve further comment.

Council said Monday that faculty want to unilaterally “control” what the colleges teach and how they teach it. This is not true, and it has never been true. We have said from the beginning that what is needed is an inclusive process that brings the voices of faculty and students into academic decision making. It only makes sense that the subject matter experts – faculty – have a say in decisions that affect how subjects are taught. It only makes sense that the people who want to learn – students – should be heard as well.

Academic freedom is all about making education better by listening to all the voices in our college community, not just the voices of administrators bent on cutting costs. Council’s offer does nothing to address the need for input from faculty into how teaching and evaluation decisions are made.

Council’s offer is not full of agreed-upon items, as they suggest. It will hinder the creation of full-time jobs and will not recognize the contribution of our partial-load faculty or treat them fairly. The return-to-work protocol will mean significant wage losses after the strike is over. Faculty will have to make up lost time without extra pay.

Negotiations were progressing until November 6. Before then, your team was of the view that we were very close to a negotiated settlement. But then, Council suddenly got up from the table and called it quits, tabling a final offer that undermined much of the progress we had made and leaving us with an offer that was filled with concessions.

Your faculty bargaining team wants to get back to the table. That’s the only place we can achieve a contract that is fair for faculty and respectful of the quality education our students deserve.

We can only get back to the bargaining table by saying a firm “no” to Council’s offer. This week, vote with your bargaining team: vote to reject this offer.

In solidarity,

Your college faculty bargaining team

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