We have a few updates related to bargaining. As a reminder, although the new collective agreement (CA) is not yet signed and distributed, Arbitrator William Kaplan’s Award took effect immediately on the date of issue (September 23rd, 2022). This award effects significant changes to the CA (see https://opseu.org/news/college-faculty-bargaining-bulletin-arbitrator-awards-improvements-far-beyond-those-offered-by-employer-in-negotiations/176313/). Since this date, your CAAT-A Bargaining Team has been working to implement the award, including resolving disputes and issues that have emanated over the past few months.
The Kaplan Award includes language to reopen our negotiations around wages and benefits, in the case that Bill 124 was “found unconstitutional by a court of competent jurisdiction.” The Ontario Superior Court did indeed find that Bill 124 was unconstitutional on November 29th. We immediately requested that the College Employer Council (CEC) return to the bargaining table to negotiate a remedy for the damages that faculty suffered as a consequence of being forced to negotiate under the shadow of unconstitutional legislation. For almost two months, the CEC refused to return to negotiations. Finally, on January 26th, the CEC relented and agreed to meet with the aid of Mediator Gerry Lee. The Ford government has appealed the Bill 124 ruling. However, they did not ask for a stay of this Ontario Superior Court ruling; as such, Bill 124 currently remains null and void, and our awarded re-opener language is in force. We hope that good faith negotiations will occur in the near future.
Workload Task Force
The Kaplan Award included a Letter of Understanding (LOU) that stipulated that a Workload Task Force be formed to examine a variety of workload issues for Faculty (full-time Professors and Instructors, Partial-Load Members, Counsellors, and Librarians). This Task Force is chaired by Arbitrator Michelle Flaherty and is tasked with providing recommendations in advance of the next round of collective bargaining that will begin in July, 2024. We are pleased to announce that this Task Force has begun its work. Faculty are represented by a strong team, including Darryl Bedford (Local 110 at Fanshawe College), Martin Lee (Local 415 at Algonquin College), and Rebecca Ward (Local 732 at Confederation College). In addition, a consultative group will be formed that will ensure a diversity of Faculty voices, including various Faculty stakeholder groups, are involved in the process.
Indigenous Knowledge Definition
Another Letter of Understanding awarded by Arbitrator Kaplan involves determining the definition of “Indigenous Knowledge” for the purposes of calculating the salary of Indigenous Faculty members whose Indigenous Knowledge expertise is used in their work for the College. We are pleased to say that this process is also progressing. The Union is currently finalizing the details regarding the appointment of Indigenous Faculty members who will represent the Union in the process, as well as an outside Indigenous Elder who will provide support and expertise for this undertaking. Similar to the Task Force, a caucus/consultative structure will be created to allow for interested Indigenous Faculty across the province to participate.
Stay tuned for further updates over the coming months!
Your CAAT-A Bargaining Team