Bargaining Update – February 11

We know that many of you have been receiving a constant barrage of information from the CEC, and that it is difficult to sift through the information, both in terms of volume and legitimacy of the content.  The faculty bargaining team has truly appreciated the ability to meet with and hear from many of you at your Local meetings, as well as the Provincewide Town Hall.  We are seeing an amazing show of faculty support and commitment for a strong REJECT vote, further evidenced by the phone and text trees conducted by the Locals.

Below, we’ve tried to capture, explain, and correct some of the key messages circulating over the past week for ease of reference.  

The CEC’s Long-term Vision for the System

In his blog post here, team Vice-chair Jonathan Singer succinctly and incisively outlines “where the Colleges — through the CEC — truly want to take staffing at the Colleges”.  His analysis concludes that management’s workload proposals in this round — including management’s current offer — “paint a picture of new faculty having way fewer rights than established faculty, and of faculty in some areas having way fewer workload protections than faculty in other areas.” 

Correcting and clarifying CEC claims this week

As the CEC has certainly ramped up its captive audience communications to faculty and students through the college email systems, there remains a constant thread of fear-mongering and the misrepresentation of faculty’s actual proposals.  Many faculty are pushing back by emailing “opt out” responses to their colleges, or by organizing letter-writing and petition campaigns to challenge the CEC’s claims.  We appreciate and celebrate these acts of solidarity.

Below, the team provides a quick overview of recent CEC claims and our response (with special thanks to Jeff Brown, L556, and the L732 LEC for their assistance).

CEC StatementFaculty Bargaining Team Response
On Bill 124 and Workload:

“Both teams have obtained legal opinions.”

“Bill 124 prohibits us from accepting the workload demands put forward by OPSEU. The Union demands breach Bill 124 and we cannot violate the legislation. The proposed workload committee will review all of these issues before the next round of bargaining when Bill 124 will no longer constrain us.”

If this is true, then the CEC team has never shared any legal analysis they have obtained with the team.*

This is false. To be clear: the Bargaining Team has been advised of the legality of their proposals all along. On February 9th, a formal legal brief was issued (by the law firm Goldblatt Partners LLP) clearly stating that nothing in the faculty proposals violates Bill 124. This included an analysis of section 10. 

The Goldblatt brief does indicate that, given the CEC’s disagreement, the most effective way to deal with things would be with binding interest arbitration. This is exactly what the faculty team has suggested.
On Partial-Load:

“We will not create greater uncertainty for partial-load faculty by allowing longer serving faculty to bump other partial-load faculty out of assignments.”

If two partial-load members have taught a course before, the one with the most service has to be offered it first. Those seniority rights have not changed. In addition to other improvements for partial-load faculty, the Bargaining Team seeks a transparent and fair application of the partial-load registry (including the proposed Collective Agreement article 26.10F). Bumping rights are not part of the faculty team proposals.
On Protecting Faculty Work:

“We will not agree to provisions that would strip work away from other employee groups.”

The faculty Collective Agreement cannot include provisions protecting other employees: it can only ensure and/or seek to secure stable and fair working conditions for faculty. This includes not contracting out faculty work that would erode the faculty complement. 

We respect our colleagues in other employee categories, and ensuring that faculty work is in fact done by faculty is in no way an attempt to ‘strip away’ work from them.
On Task Forces:

“Arbitration is the wrong way to address workload and to advance EDI and Truth and Reconciliation – we need to move forward together through consensus.”

The CEC has 1) imposed terms and conditions and 2) forced an offer vote, thereby bypassing the democratically elected Bargaining Team. 

This is not a matter of debate: this is what the CEC has done. These actions do not seem consistent with ‘consensus building’. 

The faculty team is not proposing arbitration as the way to address workload or to advance EDI and Truth and Reconciliation. Faculty seek to move forward through consensus. The faculty team has agreed to the proposed processes for these issues, but is also insisting on some manner for resolving disputes that arise from them. Without some means of dispute resolution, these committees and task forces are meaningless.

*The sole rationale that the CEC has provided directly to the faculty bargaining team occurred during the mediation blackout in October.  Graham Lloyd relayed that he had called an unnamed person at the Treasury Board directly during the blackout, and had summarized our workload proposals to them as “less work for more money.”  The advice he received based on that inaccurate summary was that our proposals would not be permitted under Bill 124. We confirmed that he did not provide our actual proposals to the Treasury Board.  Both OPSEU and our outside legal team have maintained that our workload proposals are in keeping with Bill 124.

Student support is building: Provincewide student town hall

On February 8, the faculty team held an incredibly successful live Q&A with students, sponsored by the College Student Alliance, in which students in attendance expressed enormous support for faculty in our fight to improve learning and working conditions at the Colleges.  You can view and share the recording with your students and colleagues.

The Forced Final Offer Vote

On Monday, you should receive your PIN from the Ontario Relations Board (OLRB) directly, along with instructions about how to vote.  The faculty team is encouraging faculty to vote to REJECT.

If you do not receive your PIN from the OLRB, please contact their Help Line:
OLRB Help Desk Telephone:
French – (416) 434-6748
English – (416) 326-7432

OLRB Help Desk Hours of Operation:
February 15 (9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.), February 16 (1:00 p.m. to 5:00
p.m.), and February 17 (11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.). All times listed are
Eastern Time.

In solidarity,
JP, Jonathan, Katie, Michelle, Ravi, Rebecca, and Shawn