A forced-offer vote will be held in February for college faculty members represented by OPSEU/SEFPO starting February 15.

The vote was scheduled after the College Employer Council (CEC) asked the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) last week to schedule the online forced-offer vote.

The Collective Agreement for college faculty expired on September 30, 2021.

The forced-offer vote will be held over the course of three days, from February 15 at 9 a.m. until February 17 at 3 p.m. The secret ballot vote will be conducted virtually. You will receive a PIN code and voting instructions from the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB). You will need to log onto a website, enter your code and cast your ballot anytime between February 15 at 9 a.m. and February 17 before 3 p.m. The voting process is easy and confidential.

Frequently Asked Questions – forced-offer Vote

  1. When will the forced-offer vote take place? How will I cast my ballot?

The vote will take place February 15-17, 2022. It will be online or by phone through the Simply Voting electronic voting platform. Each eligible voter will be given a unique elector ID number and password to cast their ballot.

  1. Who is eligible to vote?

All full-time and partial-load professors and instructors and all full-time librarians and counsellors are eligible to vote and should receive a communication directly from the OLRB with their PIN and voting instructions. This includes:

  • members actively employed at the college
  • members on recall or who have a grievance outstanding
  • members on approved leave, as enshrined in the collective agreement or in law (disability leave, pregnancy/parental leave)
  1. Does the bargaining team recommend that I reject the CEC’s forced-offer?

The faculty bargaining team is unanimously recommending that all faculty vote to REJECT the contract offer put forward by the CEC on January 17. It’s a terrible contract that fails faculty, fails students and threatens to harm the entire college system.

  • It fails to stop the contracting out of faculty work and offers no job protection for partial-load, counsellors, librarians and coordinators
  • It fails to address faculty’s never-ending, forever-growing, workload issues.
  • It fails to address longstanding workload issues. Workload keeps growing, but our workload factors for evaluation and preparation haven’t changed since 1985. The CEC’s proposed “Workload Taskforce” fails because there is no dispute resolution process and its recommendations would be non-binding. It also looks to expand the two-tiering of faculty workload by explicitly naming certain programs as potentially having different workload formulas, such that preparation and evaluation time would be reduced.
  • It fails to present a strong proposal for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and Indigenization, Decolonization and Truth and Reconciliation. Instead, it offers processes with titles, but no teeth.
  • It fails to allow Partial-Load (PL) faculty to bridge their benefits.
  • It fails to acknowledge that faculty consent is needed before the college can reuse or sell the course material created by faculty.

Click here for the top five reasons to reject the colleges’ offer.

  1. I am a College Faculty member, how do I verify that I will be able to cast a ballot in the forced-offer vote?

OPSEU/SEFPO has been working with the college faculty local presidents at each college to ensure that each member eligible to cast a ballot is on the voter list.

  1. What should I do if I am eligible to vote and don’t receive a communication from the OLRB?

You can contact the OLRB Voting Help Desk by telephone at 416-326-7432 (English), 416-434-6748 (French). When you contact them, you can indicate that you are calling about the forced-offer vote in OLRB case number 1918-21-VO. They can assist you in being added to the voters list.

  1. Why do we have to vote on the CEC’s final offer?

By law, the College Employer Council (CEC) can make a request to the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) that a vote of the employees be taken to accept or reject the CEC’s latest offer with respect to all the matters still in dispute between the parties.

It’s important to remember that the employer can take a forced offer vote only once. Rejecting their offer takes away their last tool and ensures that any final agreement will be better than this.

  1. What will be the question on the ballot?

The ballot will have two choices:

  • I accept the employer’s offer received on January 17, 2022
  • I reject the employer’s offer received on January 17, 2022
  1. Is my ballot confidential?

Yes, your ballot is confidential, and the vote is supervised by the Ontario Labour Relations Board.

  1. What involvement do OPSEU/SEFPO and the CEC have in the forced-offer vote?

The CEC requested that the forced-offer vote be held. The CEC provided a list of voters obtained from the colleges to OPSEU/SEFPO for validation. The list was then provided to the OLRB. The OLRB alone conducts the vote and OPSEU/SEFPO and the CEC have no involvement in that process.

  1. How will the outcome of the forced-offer vote be determined?

In order to reject the CEC forced-offer vote, 50 per cent plus 1 of the ballots cast must be to reject. The majority of votes cast will determine the outcome.

  1. If I have a problem casting my ballot, whom would I call for help?

You can contact the OLRB Voting Help Desk by telephone at 416-326-7432 (English), 416-434-6748 (French). When you contact them, you can indicate that you are calling about the forced-offer vote in OLRB case number 1918-21-VO. They can assist you with any problems casting your ballot.

  1. If I work at multiple colleges and I get multiple PINs, can I vote multiple times?

No, you are only allowed to vote once as a member of the bargaining unit. The OLRB will find your vote with the email address you used and will count that one vote as official. If you vote multiples times using multiple PINs, that will be considered a spoiled ballot and will not be counted.

  1. Will anyone know how I voted?

No. The vote is conducted entirely by secret ballot and you will not be personally associated with the vote that you cast.

  1. Will I be subject to discipline or dismissed for how I vote?

No. The vote is entirely by secret ballot and you will not be personally associated with the vote that you cast. The employer is prohibited by law from interfering with an employee’s rights, or intimidating or coercing anyone from exercising their rights, including the right to vote. The union would address any misconduct on the part of the CEC or the college at the OLRB. Your faculty bargaining team is unanimously recommending that all members vote to reject the employer’s offer (see top five reasons to reject the colleges’ offer).

  1. When will the results of the vote be released?

The vote results will be announced the next day – on February 18th – after the vote closes.

  1. Is there a number I can call for more information from the union?

Yes. The OPSEU/SEFPO college faculty hotline number is 1-833-357-2384.

In solidarity,

JP, Jonathan, Katie, Michelle, Ravi, Rebecca, Shawn
Ontario Public Service Employees Union
100 Lesmill Road, Toronto, Ontario M3B 3P8

Authorized for distribution by Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President.

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