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November 7, 2017 7:54 AM

Colleges call for OPSEU to suspend strike and restart classes

The following news release was issued by the College Employer Council on November 6, 2017.

Colleges call for OPSEU to suspend strike and restart classes

 Labour Board to hold faculty vote on employer offer

TORONTO, Nov. 6, 2017 /CNW/ - OPSEU has stonewalled the bargaining process and refused to accept an offer that addresses their priorities.

"OPSEU's insistence on continuing the strike is a terrible outcome for students and faculty," said Sonia Del Missier, Chair, Colleges' Bargaining Team. "We addressed all faculty priorities and the offer that is available for faculty right now - on the table - should have ended this strike."

The colleges listened to the union and addressed its priorities with solutions on:

  • Enhancing full-time employment opportunities for contract faculty
  • Increasing pay
  • Greater rights for contract faculty
  • Better job security for contract faculty
  • Academic freedom guarantees, and
  • Faster compliance with Bill 148

Furthermore, the government has agreed to establish a task force on the future of Ontario colleges that will look at various issues, including staffing models and the issue of precarious work.

Faculty Vote to Be Scheduled

Ontario colleges announced today that they have asked the Ontario Labour Relations Board to schedule a vote on the colleges' offer.

"We need to end this strike and get students back in the classroom. We have asked the Labour Board to schedule a vote and let our faculty decide," said Ms. Del Missier.

Colleges Ask OPSEU to Suspend Strike

The colleges have requested that the strike be suspended. This will allow faculty and students to return to class, while the vote is being organized. Suspending the strike will also allow voting at college campus locations so that the largest number of faculty are able to exercise their right to vote.

What Happens Next?

The Labour Board will determine the vote date. It is expected that the vote will take between five and ten days to organize. This length of time is why the union should suspend the strike and not harm students with another lost week of studies.

"An employer vote is never a preferred path, because a settlement should be reached at the bargaining table. But we have exhausted all efforts at the bargaining table and now our faculty will decide," said Ms. Del Missier.

Background on Colleges' Offer

The colleges tabled an offer with better access to full-time jobs; additional rights, security and compensation for partial-load faculty; increased salaries and benefits for full-time faculty; and new academic freedom guarantees.It includes:

Better Access to Full-Time Jobs:

  • Requires that colleges give preference to creating full-time jobs over partial-load and sessional jobs
  • Grants partial-load faculty the same rights as full-time faculty to apply for new full-time positions
  • Gives partial-load faculty priority to teach future course offerings

Increased Pay for Full-Time and Partial-Load Faculty:

  • 7.75% salary increase over four years
  • New full-time faculty salary maximum of $115,378
  • New partial-load maximum of $154.26 per hour
  • Increased partial-load salaries by doubling the speed of progress through the salary grid
  • Improved benefits

Academic Freedom

  • Ensures that every college will have an academic freedom policy that recognizes that academic freedom is fundamental to the colleges' commitment to academic excellence and will include the right to enquire about, investigate, pursue and speak freely about academic issues without fear of impairment to position or other reprisal

Task Force - Ontario Colleges: The Next 50 Years

  • The government has agreed to establish a task force on the future of Ontario colleges that will look at various issues

The full text of the offer is available on the College Employer Council website at https://thecouncil.on.ca

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