Toronto – The College Employer Council (CEC) has rejected the most recent offer put forth by OPSEU/SEFPO’s faculty bargaining team, pushing staff and students at Ontario’s 24 public colleges closer to a possible strike or lockout.

Union President Warren (Smokey) Thomas says he’s disappointed with today’s turn of events, especially after both parties had signalled a deal was close, following a recent media blackout.

“After many years, and many rounds of negotiating, we’ve developed a mature bargaining relationship by now,” said Thomas. “That’s why it’s so disheartening that this is where the parties have landed. But I remain confident that reaching an agreement is still possible.”

As part of its most recent proposal, the faculty bargaining team proposed voluntary binding arbitration to resolve the labour dispute, which would allow the parties to avoid a strike or lockout and the stress that either option would place on students, faculty and the entire public college system.

Unfortunately, and with no rationale, the CEC would not agree, instead filing a “no-board,” which happens when a deal cannot be reached during conciliation. After it is filed, the parties have 17 days to attempt to reach an agreement before there is a strike, lockout or imposition of terms. The union must also hold a strike vote and gain the majority of members’ support for a strike, should it come to that.

“The past year and a half has been hard enough, and nobody wants a work stoppage,” said OPSEU/SEFPO First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida. “But it takes two to tango, and if the CEC isn’t willing to reach a deal that respects college faculty, our union will commit to whatever financial resources are needed to support our members and overcome this challenge as well.”

JP Hornick, chair of the faculty bargaining team, says there is no need for this escalation.

“The bargaining team has presented extremely low-cost, reasonable proposals that showed they had listened to the employer’s concerns with previous proposals,” said Hornick. “These proposals support quality education, support students and communities, and are a path to a settlement with no escalation or labour disruption.”

The team’s proposal was not a “bottom-line offer,” and the team remains willing to bargain, Hornick added.

Thomas hopes everyone takes a step back and gets an agreement that appears close.

“We’re here to help, and in the coming days, I encourage our faculty bargaining team to make use of all the expertise that OPSEU/SEFPO has to offer,” said Thomas. “And I’m asking that the CEC return to the table in good faith; to cross the t’s and dot the i’s so that we can reach a fair deal for all.

Now’s the time to focus on reaching a deal that is good for faculty and students, and addresses equity matters including dismantling anti-Black racism and creating equal opportunities for Indigenous and racialized faculty and students.”

For more information: Warren (Smokey) Thomas 613-329-1931;
OPSEUCommunications@opseu.org

Other Bargaining Updates

College faculty bargaining team statement

The college faculty bargaining team has issued the following statement: Arbitrator William Kaplan has imposed a media blackout on the upcoming voluntary mediation-interest arbitration between the colleges’ and college faculty bargaining teams. There will be no further...

Joint statement by OPSEU/SEFPO and the College Employer Council

OPSEU/SEFPO’s college faculty bargaining team and the College Employer Council have issued the following statement: The parties have reached an agreement to enter binding interest arbitration and the strike that was scheduled to commence at 12:01 am on March 18, 2022,...

College faculty to resume talks with employer

Toronto – With some 16,000 college faculty set to go on strike at 12:01 Friday morning, the College Employer Council (CEC) and the faculty bargaining team have agreed to meet Thursday. “We were encouraged that the CEC replied to our letter and have agreed to meet...

College faculty set strike deadline

TORONTO – Some 16,000 faculty at Ontario’s 24 public colleges say they will go on strike at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, March 18 if the College Employer Council (CEC) does not agree to voluntary binding interest arbitration.   The faculty bargaining team sent an open letter...

Work to Rule: Phase 3

Started 12:01am, March 02, 2022 Focus Work-to-rule must impact the functioning of the colleges in order to work as a bargaining strategy to bring the Council back to the table to discuss faculty’s needs. The colleges and CEC have chosen to abandon negotiations and to...

Legal Brief Supports Faculty Proposals

Throughout this round of bargaining, the College Employer Council (CEC) has repeatedly refused to negotiate significant issues regarding workload, staffing, or fairness for partial-load faculty. They have justified their obstinacy by claiming that changes to these...

Five reasons to REJECT the CEC’s forced offer

Click here for a printable PDF version The College Employer Council’s forced offer fails. It’s a terrible contract that fails faculty, fails students and threatens to harm the entire college system. All faculty should vote to reject the colleges’ offer, because: (x)...

Dates confirmed for the College Employer Council’s forced-offer vote

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...

OPSEU/SEFPO files ULP over CEC interference in bargaining

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...