News

Bargaining Update – September 17, 2021

The faculty and employer teams met today to discuss the additional proposals and an offer of settlement tabled by the College Employer Council on Wednesday at 4pm.  We were pleased that the CEC responded to faculty’s request to table their complete package, and that they chose to include a settlement offer at the same time.  

The Employer’s offer of settlement contains a number of concessions for faculty, and limited enhancements.  Further, the faculty team was told that if we did not recommend this offer to members, they would return to previously-tabled concessions, many of which are in the proposals attached below, and that they retain the right to seek more to address their areas of concern.

This is, simply, a scare tactic.  Offering a settlement that does not adequately address any faculty demands while simultaneously threatening previously-tabled concessions if such an inadequate offer is not accepted is a tactic that we recognize from many previous rounds of negotiations with this employer.  It is also one that has not had the desired effect of preventing faculty from achieving gains.

Such a tactic is also not in alignment with the CEC team’s stated goal of fostering an ongoing positive relationship between the faculty/Union and management.

The tone of the CEC team’s comments has shifted into much more aggressive rhetoric this week, and risks misrepresenting the history of this round of negotiations.  To be clear, the faculty team has not refused to engage in discussions.  We have provided various information that has been requested.  We are also fully willing to discuss our proposals.  It is also a misrepresentation for the CEC to claim that negotiations would be protracted and unsuccessful if faculty pursue our proposals rather than the settlement offer they tabled on Wednesday at 4pm; that is fear-mongering.

The presence of complex proposals does not necessitate the avoidance of a regular bargaining process timeline. Had the CEC team been prepared to table their proposals at the outset of bargaining, then we believe that both sides would have had sufficient time to engage in an in-depth negotiations process.  It is also factually inaccurate to assert that faculty proposals are designed for rejection.  Changes to the collective agreement are not based on the CEC’s definition of a demonstrated need for change.

It is, frankly, insulting for the CEC to repeatedly assert that faculty’s lived experience is not enough to demonstrate the need for practical changes to the Collective Agreement.  Our proposals represent faculty members’ priorities, and were gathered through an extensive and democratic process involving literally thousands of hours of consultation and participation.  Faculty members’ lived experience has always formed the basis for faculty demands in every round of bargaining.  This is the first time that we are aware of when this has been challenged by the employer as a sufficient source. 

These types of statements, combined with our feedback attached below, point to a fundamental difference in understanding between the teams about the actual purpose of collective bargaining.

With that said, we remain committed to working toward a settlement together, and agree with the CEC that bargaining effectively requires a shared understanding of language, context, scope, and–we would add–purpose.  Based on our exchanges thus far, we do not believe that either team is able to reach that understanding in the five remaining scheduled days of bargaining, without outside assistance.  

Therefore, in the spirit of moving us forward without escalating tensions, we acknowledged that we have a labour relations problem, and we proposed a labour relations solution.  

The faculty team invited the CEC to join us in pre-conciliation mediation with an independent mediator for a fixed period of time with the goals of focusing both teams, and sorting out a pathway to bargaining a negotiated settlement.  We further proposed that both teams consent to not taking any additional steps toward conciliation or other labour escalation until that time period had elapsed.  We also proposed an independent mediator who is familiar with the Ontario College sector, has extensive experience in provincial and federal public sector bargaining mediation, and who has been acceptable to both parties in the past in seeking to achieve a settlement.  

With five days remaining in our process, and with the teams still working on developing a shared context for bargaining, we have offered mediation as a way forward together.  We recognize the passionate commitment that members on both teams bring to this table and this process; this proposed dispute resolution mechanism requires both teams’ consent.  Our team is fully committed to a negotiated settlement, and to pre-conciliation mediation as a preferred pathway to achieving it, as well as a means of improving our ongoing labour relations.  We hope that the CEC team will seriously consider this offer.

Partial-list of concessions in CEC proposals:

(for a more comprehensive summary, please see the full text of the faculty responses attached)

  • Inequitable workload based on program area such as apprenticeship and academic upgrading
  • Increasing the number of weeks of work per year
  • Two-tiered total teaching contact hours, number of courses assigned, contact days, time between assigned contact days
  • Two-tiered work week: Ability to schedule new faculty on any 5 consecutive days in a week (for example, weekends would now be part of the work week for new faculty)
  • Weaken faculty access to professional development
  • Elimination of caps on overtime
  • Allowing for courses without professors, only marking assistants
  • Ability to require work on weekends without recognition or additional compensation
  • Reduction of hours for evaluation and feedback for online evaluations
  • Unacceptable changes to the length of the academic year (no longer 10 months) and faculty vacation scheduling and rotation
  • Limits to faculty ability to access full parental leave
  • Unnecessary and harmful restriction on faculty ability to bank sick days 
  • Attacking Partial-Load seniority rights won in 2017
  • Extending the probationary period for FT faculty; introducing a probationary period of 1008 hours for PL faculty
  • Creating additional hurdles to hiring, reassignment, or automatic conversion of full-time faculty
  • Further limits to faculty intellectual property rights, and expansion of privatization of faculty work
  • Limiting the scope of counsellor work 
  • Reducing faculty academic freedom in regard to course delivery, professional development
  • Removal of LOU subcommittees without mechanisms to continue their work or enshrine their recommendations in the Collective Agreement
  • Attempt to create conditions where courses can run without a professor
  • Appear to create a slippery slope to eliminate the role of professors altogether

Other notes about the CEC proposals:

  • Offer no improvements to workload for Counsellors, Librarians, or Partial-Load faculty
  • Dismiss the work done at the IP subcommittee as a non-starter
  • Dismiss faculty proposals for academic councils as a non-starter

Below, please find Faculty’s Notes on Management’s Settlement offer, in addition to the tabled proposals M09, M10a/b, and M11.  All of these proposals were tabled by the CEC team on Wednesday at 4pm.  

This attachment contains a comprehensive review of the language the CEC team has proposed.  Please note that this settlement offer does not address any of faculty’s top demands, but does, however, contain a number of additional concessions.  

In addition to and distinct from the attachments (M09-M11), this offer exemplifies the distance remaining between the CEC proposals and our own.  It is why we have proposed voluntary mediation with no additional escalation as the path forward to settlement, which is dependent upon both parties’ consent.  

In solidarity,

JP, Jonathan, Katie, Michelle, Ravi, Rebecca, Shawn

Bargaining Update – September 14 and 15, 2021

September 14:

The bargaining teams met again today.

The CEC team introduced counter-proposals on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, as well as a proposal on “Truth and Reconciliation.” These proposals conclude their responses to the full equity proposals tabled by faculty. Access and download the proposals below.

The CEC team has proposed the formation of committees that would report to the Employee/Employer Relations Committee (EERC) and would make recommendations to the parties in 2023. The faculty bargaining team is reviewing these proposals and will provide responses.

In addition, the CEC team indicated that they will have further responses on additional issues tomorrow.

September 15:

Both teams met on Wednesday, September 15th to continue the bargaining process and are scheduled to meet again on Friday, September 17th.

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

Bargaining Update – September 10, 2021

With the completion of this week’s bargaining, we have now completed more than half of our scheduled bargaining dates with the College Employer Council. There are eight scheduled bargaining dates remaining before our Collective Agreement expires. Five weeks have now passed since the Union tabled our comprehensive non-monetary proposals. Monetary proposals are limited by the concessions imposed by the Ford government’s Bill 124 which caps public sector compensation increases at 1% per year, effectively a pay cut when considering inflation.

With less than three weeks left until our Collective Agreement expires, the employer’s bargaining team has yet to table language around several of the changes that they have indicated they wish to make to our Collective Agreement, or what they have called “areas of concern”. In addition, they have not presented counter-proposals on the majority of key faculty demands, and have simply dismissed several others.

Today, the employer team proposed language on respectful workplaces, dates for union release time, and the assignment of coordinator duties. They did not address faculty concerns around structural changes in relation to harassment and discrimination, and dismissed the need for joint union-employer committee work to be recorded on SWFs. In addition, the employer team continued in their questioning of the legitimacy of faculty demands rather than dealing with the substance of these concerns.

In their responses, the CEC chair has repeatedly suggested that the faculty team has not provided answers to their questions about the data that underlies our proposals. The faculty team has explained that our data is gathered through an extensive and continuing process of consultations with faculty, both through the months-long demand-setting process, as well as through ongoing consultations with local leaders, the bargaining advisory committee, organizers, and specific sub-groups such as counsellors. In addition, our team has conducted reviews of collective agreement settlements and existing language in post-secondary institutions across Ontario and Canada, relied on research from organizations such as the Canadian Association of University Teachers, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations, as well as the employer’s own publicly available information. In addition, we have concluded our 2021 Update on Education in Ontario Colleges, which we expect to release shortly.

We are particularly disappointed that the employer has not yet provided any response to our proposals for gains for Partial-Load faculty, except to deny outright the need to create minimum staffing ratios of full-time to non-full-time faculty. Our other partial-load proposals include:

Establishing a priority for the colleges to hire partial-load over other contract faculty categories

Meaningful workload measurements (as opposed to paying PL faculty the same amount regardless of the number of students in their classes)

Language to ensure equity in Partial-Load faculty workloads

Transparency in the Partial-Load registry along with improved job security

In her remarks today, CEC team chair Laurie Rancourt stated that “in an established bargaining relationship, language should only be changed where there is a demonstrated need.” Neither the legitimacy of our data, nor the urgency with which faculty are experiencing a need for change should be in question. Faculty have sent the team to the bargaining table with a clear vision for a better future for Ontario colleges and students. The team developed a plan to make that vision a reality. We have demonstrated the need for change and provided specific language to address it. It is past time for the CEC team to do the same.

As is our practice, all proposals and notes shared at the table today are below available for download. For questions and comments, please contact bargainingteam2021@gmail.com

In Solidarity,

JP Hornick

Jonathan Singer

Michelle Arbour

Kathleen Flynn

Shawn Pentecost

Ravi Ramkissoonsingh

Rebecca Ward

Bargaining Update: September 9, 2021

The faculty bargaining team wishes all faculty the best for the start of the Fall semester and recognizes the enormous amount of work and anxiety that professors, instructors, counsellors, and librarians are experiencing this September.

The team was back at the table today and will return again tomorrow.  Today, we met with the employer and received their Article 2 Staffing proposal.  The employer proposes to suspend the union’s ability to rely on staffing data during the pandemic for staffing grievances going forward.  

We also received their responses to a number of our proposals from August, and the assurance that they would have further responses for us tomorrow and next week.

We presented a counter-proposal on the counsellor class definition, incorporating feedback from our consultation with counsellors across the province.  Our counter-proposal also addresses some of the concerns that the management team raised concerning our original proposal.

Finally, we responded to a series of the CEC team’s troubling assertions around key faculty issues, their lack of any significant proposals or counter-proposals to address their stated areas of concern, and reaffirmed our commitment to bargain a fair settlement that satisfactorily addresses the changes faculty need now.

The detailed presentations and proposals communicated today by both teams are attached below. 

Stay tuned for a further update tomorrow.
In solidarity, 

JP, Jonathan, Michelle, Katie, Shawn, Ravi, Rebecca

Bargaining Update – August 10th, 2021

The team met with the College Employer Council team again today.  Both the faculty team and the College Employer Council (CEC) presented counsellor class definition proposals. The proposals are available below.

We will be back at the table Wednesday and Thursday.

In Solidarity,

JP Hornick
Jonathan Singer
Michelle Arbour
Kathleen Flynn
Shawn Pentecost
Ravi Ramkissoonsingh
Rebecca Ward