The following initial proposals were presented to the CEC negotiations team on August 3, 2021. Below, you will find our overview of the proposals (which is adapted from the language that we presented at the bargaining table to provide context), as well as the specific changes to the Collective Agreement that we tabled. In the margins of the table below, you will find brief notes explaining the intent of the changes.
The following partial-load demands were passed by delegates from the 24 Ontario College Locals, at our final demand-setting meeting in April. They were drafted following an extensive consultation process with faculty across the province, including surveys and Local demand-set meetings:
- Ensure that all work performed by partial load faculty is appropriately and equitably recognized, recorded, and compensated
- Improve language around partial load staffing and job security
The CEC’s tagline for this round of bargaining is “A Future Together” and [their] stated 5th goal for bargaining is that we “collaborate to provide students with stability, flexibility, and high-quality education.” We believe that this neatly aligns with the broad partial-load faculty proposals mentioned in the Union’s Executive Summary – improvements in the Collective Agreement language to address partial-load faculty workload and job security.
Precarious contract faculty comprise approximately 75% of faculty in the Ontario public college system; partial-load faculty members – those precarious workers for whom we are bargaining – make up a large proportion of all contract faculty. When the pandemic hit in March of 2020, partial-load faculty members were among the faculty who went above and beyond to ensure that their students would be able to successfully complete the term and graduate on time. In fact, the colleges would not have been able to complete that term successfully without our partial-load faculty members. Sadly, since May of 2020, many of these same faculty members have seen a reduction, if not an elimination, of their work and do not feel like they are a part of “a future together” in this system.
This is not a new problem. In the 2017 round of bargaining, partial-load faculty workload and job security were central to faculty demands. Partial-load faculty members have long felt exploited by and excluded from full participation in the colleges in which they work. As colleges emerge from COVID-19 and enrollments return to near-record levels, partial-load faculty members will be required to play an integral role in both our college system and the economic recovery of the province. Our proposals would improve the working conditions of these members while still providing students with the stability, flexibility, and high-quality education that they need.
Our membership – including both partial-load and full-time faculty – has prioritized partial-load issues in this round of bargaining because of the strong belief in the principle of equity that we hold. It is reassuring to see that you also believe that equity needs to be addressed in this round. This important principle is reflected in our proposal that the work of partial-load faculty members be appropriately and equitably recognized, recorded, and compensated. This would take the form of a SWF for these members in order to accurately capture the amount of preparation, evaluation, and other work being performed to deliver classes and provide out-of-class assistance to students; a SWF for partial-load faculty members would also ensure that they have reasonable class sizes and teaching loads which only benefits students. Compensation for these members would then be based upon the percentage of the maximum full-time faculty workload (i.e., 44 hours per week) that they are working. Through such equitable treatment of partial-load faculty members, the Union and Employer can demonstrate that they are indeed part of “a future together.”
In [the CEC’s] opening remarks from July 8th, [they] stated that, “Now, more than ever, we need stability in the system so that our learners, employers, and educators have confidence that we can meet their needs and continue to provide quality public education.” We couldn’t agree more. For this reason, we are proposing that partial-load faculty members – who comprise a significant proportion of the educators [they] speak of – be provided with the stability that they need to best serve our students. We propose a minimum of year-long contracts for partial-load faculty members with those contracts issued no less than three weeks before the start of the term in order for our members to be able to have proper time to prepare for the upcoming term. In recognizing the employer’s need for flexibility in emergency situations, we are also proposing a mechanism where exceptions may be granted if agreed to by the Union Local. All stakeholders would benefit from minimum one-year contracts for these members – educators would have much-needed security; colleges would have a year-long commitment from partial-load faculty members that would reduce employee turnover and help with planning; students would be more easily able to build valuable relationships with partial-load faculty members who could better provide employment advice and references; and employers would reap the benefits of an improved college system that would be producing even more high-quality graduates.
We are also pleased to see among [the CEC’s] non-monetary proposals that [they] would like to “review the implementation of the partial-load job security provisions (registry) and propose improvements based on shared experience.” It is our hope that [they] will be amenable to our proposal to make the partial-load registry transparent to the Union and partial-load faculty members at all colleges.
Further, we are proposing improvements to the rate at which service is accumulated and how quickly partial-load faculty members move up the salary grid, recognition of previous courses taught as sessional and part-time faculty for the purposes of the registry, assignment of the maximum possible partial-load workload where a member has priority, and improved consideration for full-time faculty postings. We believe that all of these proposals would enhance job security for partial-load faculty members, while providing stability for students and the system as a whole.
The 2017 round of bargaining brought the issue of precarious work – both in the Ontario public college system and in the world of work generally – into public consciousness; the pandemic has only further highlighted the importance of treating precarious workers equitably. Our students come to college in order to gain an education that will help them attain stable, secure employment; it only makes sense that Ontario’s public colleges model that behaviour. Accepting our proposals for partial-load faculty members would be an excellent start.
Additionally, we ask that the Union and Employer agree to recognize ALL contract faculty, including part-time and sessional members, as deserving of the rights and protections of a Collective Agreement (CA). We propose that the Union and Employer make a joint application to the Ontario Labour Relations Board to recognize all contract faculty as part of the CAAT-A bargaining unit within 6 months of the ratification of the new CA. This would take the form of a Letter of Understanding in the CA. Let’s work together to do what is best for ALL faculty, students, and the college system as a whole.
To view the full proposed language changes that were tabled, along with explanatory notes, please download the printable PDF version here.
Other Bargaining Updates
The College Employer Council (CEC) filed an application with the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) yesterday for a forced-offer vote. Their latest offer includes only a slight change from the offer they tabled on November 23, 2021. It also follows its decision to...
Toronto – On January 14, 2022, OPSEU/SEFPO filed an unfair labour practice (ULP) complaint with the Ontario Labour Relations Board, accusing the College Employer Council (CEC) and a number of colleges of interfering in the rights of members to support their union’s...
TORONTO – OPSEU/SEFPO President Warren (Smokey) Thomas says a better deal can be achieved and is advising college faculty to reject the employer’s latest offer, after the College Employer Council (CEC) filed for a forced offer vote Monday. "It's still possible to...
TORONTO – OPSEU/SEFPO hopes the leaders at Ontario’s public colleges don’t ignore recent concerns expressed by the Auditor General about an over reliance on international student tuition for the colleges’ financial viability. OPSEU/SEFPO President Warren (Smokey)...
Toronto – OPSEU/SEFPO President Warren (Smokey) Thomas is calling on the Ontario government to immediately implement social distancing regulations, capacity limits and other health measures to protect faculty, support staff and students at Ontario’s 24 public...
January 7, 2022 Graham LloydChief Executive OfficerCollege Employer Council Dear Graham, Faculty members represented by OPSEU/SEFPO working at Ontario’s 24 public colleges have now begun Phase 2 of the work-to-rule campaign, as part of a legal strike action, which...