Chief Executive Officer
College Employer Council
On March 2, 2022, academic employees who OPSEU/SEFPO represents, who work at Ontario’s 24 public colleges, began Phase 3 of the work-to-rule campaign. This is part of a legal strike action pursuant to the College Collective Bargaining Act (CCBA). The implementation of Phase 3 follows membership’s rejection of the College Employer Council’s forced offer vote on February 18, 2022.
As part of Phase 3, our members will assert their discretion to use their knowledge and expertise to determine the most effective mode of delivering courses and services, based on what is best for the course and students. They will determine how to best deliver courses assigned–including those classes scheduled for a return to physical classrooms, and whether online courses should be taught asynchronously or synchronously. They will refuse to teach online and in-class simultaneously. They will not consent to having their classes recorded and posted on the college Learning Management Systems.
Any direction from college employers to our members to act contrary to Phase 3 of the work-to-rule campaign is a demand to perform struck work and effectively cross the picket line. Any such demand interferes with our members’ lawful right to engage in strike activity.
Since the implementation of Phase 3, management at several colleges have asserted their own definition of “struck work” to exclude circumstances where our members use their discretion to determine the appropriate mode of delivering a course or service. We understand that the employer is considering discipline or other reprisal against members who do not cede to the employer’s demands to implement a particular mode of delivery.
OPSEU/SEFPO will not tolerate the employer’s unlawful attempts to intimidate, threaten or penalize our members who participate in Phase 3 of the work-to-rule strike activity. I demand that you take all necessary steps to ensure each of the colleges end these harmful intimidation tactics. If you fail to do so, our union will take any, and all, appropriate steps to protect our members, including pursuing further unfair labour practice applications at the Ontario Labour Relations Board.
More importantly, I encourage the CEC to return to the bargaining table and end this labour dispute. Our members have spoken in rejecting the CEC’s forced offer. It is time for the parties to find a solution.
We remain confident that the best deal can be reached through continued negotiations. If the CEC continues to refuse to engage with our bargaining team, it should accept our offer to resolve this impasse through voluntary binding interest arbitration. The CEC’s rhetoric that it is a system that simply “splits the difference” misrepresents how the system works.
As you likely know, interest arbitration has been the normative model in Ontario – and in particular the post-secondary sector — for breaking impasses in bargaining through arbitration. These parties have used it on several previous occasions. It is directly incorporated into some collective agreements within the post-secondary sector, such as Ryerson University and the Ontario College of Art and Design University. Even when governments have ended post-secondary strikes through legislation – action to which we object because of its interference in the right to free collective bargaining pursuant to the Charter – they have imposed binding interest arbitration as the model for resolving outstanding disputes. To the contrary, the final offer selection model mentioned in the CEC’s marketing material has been nearly universally rejected as an effective means of resolving labour disputes. The proposal is designed for rejection.
I trust that you will ensure that management at the colleges cease their intimation tactics and rhetoric, and that we all refocus on bringing an end to this dispute.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas
Other Bargaining Updates
Arbitrator awards improvements far beyond those offered by Employer in negotiations
Click here to download a PDF of the bulletin The award affects areas including:• Equity;• Indigenization;• Partial-load job security;and acknowledges workload associated with multi-modal courses. This is an historic moment in CAAT-A’s continued fight for equity, job...
Ontario College Faculty Achieve Historic Gains in new Collective Agreement
Toronto – Fifteen months after the commencement of a round of bargaining that included the largest work-to-rule faculty job action in the history of Canadian Colleges and Universities, labour negotiations between OPSEU/SEFPO’s college faculty division and the College...
College faculty arbitration update
OPSEU/SEFPO CAAT Academic and the CEC participated in a mediation/arbitration September 7-9, 2022. Following the mediation part of the proceeding, an arbitration occurred on September 9, 2022. The arbitrator’s award will form the new collective agreement and it is...
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...
College faculty reject contract, call on employer to negotiate or arbitrate
TORONTO – Ontario college faculty have rejected a contract offer from their employer, and OPSEU/SEFPO President Warren (Smokey) Thomas hopes the result will trigger a return to the bargaining table. “I am convinced a negotiated settlement is there and within reach,”...
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...
Information for OPSEU/SEFPO members in the CAAT-Academic Division about the February 15-17 forced-offer vote
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...
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)...