Published on Oct 11, 2017

Council walks away from the table - Negotiations Bulletin #12

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College faculty returned to the bargaining table Tuesday morning, October 10, ready to negotiate. Council tabled an offer that did not address any of faculty’s key demands. We could not recommend it to our members, and we told them so in detail.

The college faculty team rejected Council’s offer and issued a strike deadline of 12:01 a.m., October 16, 2017.

The faculty bargaining team is committed to staying at the table right up until the strike deadline. Council, however, has walked away from the table, and now claims that their offer was their final offer.

By setting a strike deadline, we are giving a clear message to the employer that we expect a fair deal for college faculty before Monday morning.

The employer’s so-called “final offer” is a poisoned pill. It fundamentally undermines the quality and fairness we have been working towards in this round of bargaining.

Key issues

Contract faculty:

  • The employer has proposed creating an entirely new “temporary full-time” category of contract faculty, paid at the partial load rate.
  • This new position has no job security. They could be terminated with only two weeks’ notice.

Reduction in full-time staffing:

  • The employer’s offer would allow unrestricted hiring of part-time faculty.
  • The employer says they have no problem with running entire programs with part-time staff alone.
  • Accepting this offer would mean the employer never needs to hire full-time faculty again.

Two-tiered system:

  • The employer’s offer entrenches inequality by removing the existing steps system in evaluating starting salary.
  • Contrary to the intent of Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, this offer would move contract faculty further away from equal pay for equal work.
  • Contract faculty would be limited to teaching contact hours; they would not be paid for their actual workload.
  • Rather than improving the factors of qualifications and credentials upon hiring, the offer creates a hard limit on crediting formal qualifications.
  • A proposed new clause says that they can increase starting salary at the employer’s discretion.

Faculty complement:

  • The offer encourages outsourcing, and allows layoffs caused by outsourcing. 

Wages and benefits:

  • The offer doesn’t address our movement toward the mid-point of our comparator groups.
  • Furthermore, starting salaries will be reduced by enforcing a hard cap on credential assessments.

Bill 148 delay:

  • The employer is proposing an arbitration process for Bill 148. This is an attempt to undermine the equity implications of the Bill for partial load faculty.

Council’s final offer does not address key faculty demands:

  • There is nothing on academic freedom, a key demand and a no-cost item.
  • The intellectual property issue will be sent to EERC committees as a delay tactic.
  • There is nothing on collegial governance, even though Sheridan has had a fully functioning senate for years now.
  • Job security for partial load faculty is not addressed.
  • Faculty complement is not addressed, even though a 50/50 ratio of full time to non-full time allows a high level of staffing flexibility for the colleges.
  • This offer entrenches and creates new forms of inequality.

Support is pouring in

Letters of support from OPSEU locals and other unions are pouring in as bargaining continues. Thanks to all who have expressed their support to date. This includes: 

Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA)
Memorial University of Newfoundland Faculty Association (MUNFA)
Association of Nova Scotia University Teachers (ANSUT)
York University Cross Campus Alliance
Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty Association 
Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) Local 677 
NOSM Faculty and Staff Association
Nova Scotia University Teachers Alliance

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