The Colleges Work Because We Do – Notice to Bargain

OPSEU/SEFPO logo - College Faculty, Personnnel Scolaire des Collèges
Facebook
Twitter
Email

Bargaining Bulletin 2

Highlights:

  • Notice to Bargain was served on July 2 by your College Faculty bargaining team to the College Employer Council (CEC)
  • Our first upcoming bargaining dates are on July 15-16, 2024.
  • Training Ontario’s Future: This bargaining round’s theme speaks to our daily work in preparing the future of our communities and our province.
  • We are stronger from a position of unity: all members will have one opportunity to take a strike vote called for by your bargaining team, if needed. A strong mandate to strike, with high participation, is a powerful leverage tool at the bargaining table to fight against concessions and make gains related to our demands.
  • A good offer is one that your bargaining team brings back to you with their recommendation, not an offer forced upon you.

With both our current contract expiry approaching on September 30th, 2024 and the imminent release of the workload taskforce report, we’re hitting the ground early:  your College Faculty bargaining team provided the College Employer Council (CEC) with our Notice to Bargain yesterday. Our first days at the table will be later this month, on July 15th and 16th, and the team has been busy preparing our proposals based upon our demands. We look forward to having our first fulsome discussions with the employer in the weeks ahead.

This fight is about the work we do, day in and day out, preparing students for careers that meet the needs of our communities. Our tagline for this bargaining round is just that: Training Ontario’s Future. Whether it’s in health care, trades, social services, business, hospitality and tourism, culinary, forestry, or aviation (to name but only a few), and whether it occurs in the classroom, in the library, in our offices, or in clinical and placement spaces, we play an integral role in the futures of our communities, our province, and its economy.

As the experts tasked with this education, it is critical that College Faculty are equipped with the necessary resources to train the future of Ontario. This training encompasses not only classroom teaching, but also the irreplaceable work of counsellors and librarians to support and educate our students.

Our working conditions are students’ learning conditions. If our members are struggling with workload or to keep pace with the rising cost of living, the Colleges are failing to deliver on their core mandate: not to drive profit, but to provide comprehensive education and training. The Colleges work because we do – as we will remind the CEC through our proposals.

Collective Bargaining: At A Glance

Most of our members have been through the collective bargaining process in previous rounds, but we also recognize and welcome members for whom this experience may be new. Here are a few reminders about the bargaining process and what you can expect in the coming months:

  • Your elected College Faculty Bargaining Team, made up of 7 elected members, negotiates working conditions, wages, and benefits on behalf of full-time and partial-load (those teaching between 7-12 hours per week) professors and instructors, as well as counsellors and librarians in our bargaining unit.
  • We negotiate with the College Employer Council (CEC) bargaining team, which represents the Colleges. This year, their team of 11 individuals includes employees of the CEC, a lawyer from Hicks Morley law firm, and managers and Human Resources officials from the Colleges – in other words, 4 individuals from the Colleges and 7 from outside the Colleges.
  • Our team is supported by OPSEU/SEFPO staff, including a negotiator and negotiations supervisor, as well as research, communications, and legal experts.
  • All members will be able to take part in one strike vote called for by your bargaining team, if needed, during each bargaining round. A strong strike mandate from the membership, with high participation, is a powerful tool of leverage at the bargaining table to fight against concessions and make gains related to our demands.
  • The CEC has the ability to impose terms and conditions if we have not achieved a new collective agreement by the current agreement’s expiration date. This is rarely exercised by employers and is damaging to labour relations, but the CEC has exercised this right twice before – in 2009 and 2021 – since they were awarded this power in 2008.
  • The CEC also has the right to bypass the bargaining process and present a forced final offer for the membership to vote on. They have done this three times since 2009, but it is a strategy that has failed during the past two attempts in 2017 and 2021.
  • Remember: a good offer is one that your bargaining team brings back to recommend to you. As college faculty just like you, we have our shared interests at the heart of our bargaining efforts. Could you say the same for the CEC?
  • It is worth remembering that if the CEC does present a forced final offer, it will not come with your bargaining team’s recommendation.
  • As was the case in 2017 and 2021, we have historically tended to end up with a better deal after the membership voted to reject the Employer’s forced offers.

Every round of negotiations has significant impacts on our working conditions and this round will be no different. We are stronger from a place of organized unity, standing together behind our demands. Power is collectively built: for ample evidence, we don’t need to look far to note the wins of workers who take a united stand, including education workers across Ontario.

Stay Informed, Stay Engaged, Get Involved

When workers take a bold stand for their rights, the employer sees what an organized membership is willing to do. Let’s be a rising tide that lifts each other up. Whether you are working this summer or able to have vacation time, we wish you all the best and ask that you watch your emails as we move closer to the bargaining table.

We will be providing bargaining updates and opportunities to connect with your bargaining team throughout the summer and fall: so stay informed, stay engaged, and get involved!

In solidarity,

Your CAAT-A Bargaining Team:

Ravi Ramkissoonsingh, L242, Chair (he/him)
Michelle Arbour, L125, Vice-Chair (she/her)
Chad Croteau, L110 (he/him)
Bob Delaney, L237 (he/him)
Martin Lee, L415 (he/him)
Sean Lougheed, L657 (he/him)
Rebecca Ward, L732 (she/her)