Ontario Colleges Put Employer Offer to a Vote
Colleges Urge OPSEU to Put Students First and Remain on the Job until Vote Results Released
The following news release was issued today by the College Employer Council (CEC), the government-mandated bargaining agent for the 24 Ontario publicly-funded Colleges in negotiating Collective Agreements with unionized staff. In addition, the CEC provides a variety of services for the College system such as advice and guidance on human resource issues, Collective Agreement administration, research, and is the policyholder for group benefits.
Today, the College Employer Council (CEC) representing the 24 Ontario Public Colleges, asked the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) to conduct a vote with OPSEU academic employee membership on the CEC's most recent offer.
The CEC has been bargaining with the Union bargaining team (representing partial-load and full-time instructors, professors, counsellors, and librarians) since July 2021. In October, the parties voluntarily entered a month-long mediation with renowned mediator Brian Keller. He terminated mediation and issued a report of his findings when it became clear to him that "the Union team's proposals were highly aspirational but not realistic". In November the parties met in conciliation; however minimal changes had occurred since meeting with the mediator and so a No Board report was issued.
"It has become clear that the Union will not moderate their demands regardless of the advice they are given or the fact the College sector continues to navigate a global pandemic. As such, the Colleges must think of the students. Students who have been faced with unprecedented amounts of uncertainty in their lives and in their College education," said Dr. Laurie Rancourt, Chair of the CEC Management Bargaining team. "Today, the CEC has asked the OLRB to hold a vote for College unionized academic employee members to vote on its most recent offer. Additionally, we urge OPSEU to keep their promise to put students' needs first by not escalating the labour dispute. We ask that they allow College faculty to continue working until the results of the employer vote come in, especially given the modest 59% strike mandate result."
The CEC offer includes all the terms and conditions the Colleges introduced on December 13, 2021 as well as three joint working groups on areas of shared interest between the CEC and the Union.
"We embrace the chance to review workload, EDI, and Indigeneity in the Colleges, and are hopeful these joint working groups will provide the necessary data for informed decisions moving forward. The management vote gives academic employees a chance to have their voices heard on our offer," said Graham Lloyd, CEO of CEC. "We are asking academic employees to look at our offer and recognize that we've reasonably addressed the areas of concern their bargaining team put forward. This includes introducing mechanisms for joint investigation and collaboration to improve conditions in key areas. A vote yes is a vote for labour stability and a vote to put students and their education first".
The most recent CEC offer focuses on enhancements for academic employees and includes no concessions. A summary of these enhancements is provided below. To review the details of the full offer visit www.collegeemployercouncil.ca/en/bargaining/CAATA2021.
- Increase maximum annual wage to the maximum, retroactive to October 1st 2021, as currently allowed under Bill 124.
- Include medical cannabis coverage prescribed by a licensed physician to a maximum of $4000/year, subject to prior authorization by the insurer.
- Enable Indigenous teachers to bring an elder or traditional knowledge keeper to the WMG as an advisor.
- Enable Indigenous employees to bring an elder or traditional knowledge keeper to grievance meetings as an advisor.
- Document Coordinator duties before an employee accepts a coordinatorship. Such acceptance will remain voluntary.
- Update the counsellor class definition.
- Enable Partial Load employees to accrue service for statutory Holidays on which they were scheduled to teach.
- Change Partial Load registration date from October 30th to April 30th.
- Extend Partial Load registration preference to courses which a partial load employee taught while part-time or sessional.
- Continue Partial Load priority for a course even if the course code changes, unless there has been a major revision of the course or curriculum.
- Add a new Letter of Understanding regarding the creation of a Workload Committee. The parties agree to engage in a two-step process with the purpose of resolving workload considerations. The Committee shall discuss and examine issues relating to the assignment of work to full-time faculty under Article 11 and to partial-load faculty under Article 26.
- Recognize the parties shared commitment to achieving employment equity within the college system. The parties shall establish a subcommittee of the Union/College Committee who shall, working in consultation with the existing college committees addressing EDI issues, report to the full UCC which shall then make annual recommendations to the President.
- Add new Letter of Understanding on Indigenization, Decolonization, and Truth and Reconciliation. OPSEU shall join with the CEC in establishing a collaborative Indigenous-driven process to work on issues related to Indigeneity in the context of employment under the Academic and Support Staff collective agreements within the Colleges.
- Identify two Indigenous arbitrators to be added to the list of arbitrators used in arbitration processes and listed in the Collective Agreement.
- To review details of the bargaining process, a timeline of events, and all proposals from both parties, visit www.CollegeEmployerCouncil.ca