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CAAT-A Divisional Meeting Report

Last October 28-29, elected delegates and alternates from the 24 College faculty Locals gathered virtually and in-person for a Divisional Meeting.

The result of these elections reflected an unprecedented diversity of representation from different Locals, and participation by Partial-Load faculty.

In addition to elections, the delegates voted to propose changes to our Division’s bylaws and Negotiations Procedures. These approved proposals – which will require approval from the President’s Office – can be found below.

Proposed changes to Bylaws and Negotiations Procedures

  • Reserving a position on the Bargaining Team for a Partial-Load faculty member. (Partial-Load faculty who are Local delegates would remain eligible to run for election for any of the other six positions on the Bargaining Team.)
  • Implementing a structure by which Partial-Load members of the Bargaining Team could receive equal pay for performing that duty.
  • Giving Locals more freedom in selecting their representatives on the Bargaining Advisory Committee.
  • Enabling Partial-Load faculty to apply directly for one of the eight Partial-Load representative positions on the Bargaining Advisory Committee.

The delegates also presented and voted on motions regarding our own internal structures as a division. Some of the motions approved by majority vote are summarized as follows:

  • That CAAT-A establish a Precarious Workers Committee.
  • That DivEx research and recommend a mechanism by which financially stable Locals can contribute to Locals with less financial stability.
  • That the division work with staff to investigate ways for OPSEU/SEFPO to address the implications of Ontario Colleges’ reliance on international students.

Meet Your Current CAAT-A Divisional Executive

The five members of the CAAT-A Divisional Executive are elected by delegates from all 24 College faculty Locals, at Divisional meetings. They serve two-year terms, representing the 16,000 unionized College faculty provincewide, both in relation to OPSEU/SEFPO and also to the Ministry, through the College Employer Council.

They work closely with CAAT-A supervisor, Heather Petrie, and the interim CAAT-A negotiator, Kathleen Flynn, to ensure that OPSEU/ SEFPO meets the needs of the 24 faculty Locals.

(You can also watch videos of the five DivEx members introducing themselves)

Jonathan Singer, DivEx Chair

My name is Jonathan Singer, and I’m the new Chair of the CAAT-A Divisional Executive. I’m delighted to be able to represent—alongside the other four DivEx members—the 16,000 unionized faculty at Ontario’s Colleges, in our undertakings
with both OPSEU/SEFPO and with the College Employer Council (CEC).

I’ve also had the pleasure of serving on the bargaining team twice: in 2014, and in our most recent round of bargaining, where I became co-Chair when JP Hornick stepped down from their role as Chair, after being elected as President of OPSEU/SEFPO.

I’m also the former President and current Vice-President of Local 560 at Seneca College, where I teach in the Liberal Arts program.

In my spare time, I occasionally update my blog (www.collegeprof.ca) and my podcast (The Ontario College Podcast). To my knowledge, these are uniquely devoted to bringing a faculty perspective to Ontario College issues.

Josée St-Jean, DivEx Vice-Chair

My name is Josée St-Jean, and I’m the new Vice-Chair of the CAAT-A DivEx.

I’ve been a full-time professor for 14 years, a steward with local 673 Collège Boréal for 12 years, and First VP of our local for eight years.

After encountering some difficulties with my supervisor during my first year of teaching full-time, I learned that I had rights as a union employee. I knew I wanted to get involved with my union so that I could offer support to my coworkers.

I continue to have this goal today.

I understand the importance of maintaining communication with our members. I’m a proud Francophone that is grateful to bring a perspective from a smaller college from Northern Ontario. I look forward to working with locals across the province to ensure that we can continue to offer guidance and direction where and when it is needed the most.

Kevin MacKay

I am a social science professor at Mohawk College and serve as Vice-President of OPSEU/SEFPO Local 240. I was on the CAAT-A bargaining team in 2017, and I have served on the CAAT-A divisional executive from 2014 to 2018. In 2013, I visited all 24 CAAT-A Locals to conduct research on the college system. This led to the publication of the Report on Education in Ontario Colleges in 2014.

Outside of union work, I research, write, and teach on the subjects of civilization collapse, political transformation, and global systemic risk. In 2017, I published Radical Transformation: Oligarchy, Collapse, and the Crisis of Civilization with Between the Lines Books. I am currently working on a book entitled A New Ecological Politics, with Oregon State University Press.

Robert Montgomery

My name is Robert Montgomery. I am a proudly bilingual Métis citizen.

I have been a full time member of the CAAT-A division for the last 9+ yrs at Cambrian College, OPSEU/SEFPO Local 655, where I am a Program Coordinator & Professor in the Child and Youth Care Practitioner program. I serve my local as a steward/WMG/BAC member. I am also a Registered Psychotherapist in the Greater Sudbury area.

I have a long history with OPSEU/SEFPO originally serving as president/chief steward of Local 666 (BPS sector) where I bargained two contracts, which included leading a very contentious strike that resulted in our local winning the 2012 OPSEU/SEFPO Leah Casselman award.

My desire to join the DivEx was influenced by our last two rounds of bargaining where I witnessed firsthand the passion and solidarity of our members. My hope is to bring a Northern voice to the DivEx, but also one of experience in mobilizing, collaboration, and engaging members.

Rebecca Ward

My name is Rebecca Ward and I am the President of Local 732 and Professor at Confederation College. I am looking forward to bringing my experience in provincial bargaining and mobilizing collective action in the northwest region of Ontario to my role as a Divisional Executive member.

As an activist, I have been fighting for the employment stability of all members, and for the principles of equity and anti-racism. I have contributed to negotiating our most recent arbitrated Collective Agreement and I have also led numerous local negotiations and arbitrations regarding online teaching and workloads.

I have taught in the college system for 12 years and as a contract lecturer within the university sector, for a decade. I have been a local president since 2017 and have been an advocate for the rights of the most targeted young people in the province for 20 years (Child and Youth Care has been my focus in Teaching).

CAAT-A Grievance Education Meeting

On January 28-29, up to seven members from every faculty Local province-wide were invited to attend a special hybrid educational event, to help to build Local capacity around filing and conducting grievances. From informational lectures to sample scenarios, to structured discussions around Local strategies, the attendees engaged with many different facets of the grievance process.

We hope that this event will equip Locals with additional skills and confidence, as we collectively enforce our rights under our Collective Agreement, including the new rights that we won last September, in William Kaplan’s Arbitral award.

We are especially grateful to many people for their hard work in organizing and running the event: Pearline Lung and Tracy Henderson (organizing members of the previous Divisional Executive) and OPSEU/SEFPO staff Heather Petrie (supervisor), Kathleen Flynn (negotiator), Panagiota Panagakos (education), and Alex Zamfir and Lesley Gilchrist (grievance officers), as well as other OPSEU/SEFPO staff who helped to run the event.

Negotiations Continue following the Kaplan Award

We have a few updates related to bargaining. As a reminder, although the new collective agreement (CA) is not yet signed and distributed, the new rights granted by Arbitrator William Kaplan’s Award took effect immediately on the date of issue (September 23rd, 2022).

This award applies significant changes to the Collective Agreement.

Other aspects of the award require Implementation, particularly the joint Faculty-Employer structures that Kaplan’s award decreed. Below, find some updates relating to the aspects of bargaining that remain ongoing at this time.

Bill 124 is Overturned!

The Kaplan Award includes language to reopen our negotiations around wages and benefits, in the event that Bill 124 is “found unconstitutional by a court of competent jurisdiction.” On November 29, 2022, the Ontario Superior Court did indeed find that Bill 124 was unconstitutional.

We immediately requested that the College Employer Council (CEC) return to the bargaining table to negotiate a remedy for the damages that faculty suffered as a consequence of being forced to negotiate under the shadow of unconstitutional legislation.

For almost two months, the CEC refused to return to negotiations. Finally, on January 26, 2023, the CEC relented and agreed to meet with the aid of Mediator Gerry Lee.

The Ford government has appealed the Bill 124 ruling. However, they did not ask for a stay of this Ontario Superior Court ruling; as such, Bill 124 currently remains “void and of no effect”, and our awarded re-opener language is in force. We hope that good faith negotiations will occur in the near future.

Workload Task Force

The Kaplan Award included a Letter of Understanding (LOU) that stipulated that a Workload Task Force be formed to examine a variety of workload issues for Faculty (full-time Professors and Instructors, Partial-Load Members, Counsellors, and Librarians).

This Task Force is chaired by Arbitrator Michelle Flaherty and is tasked with providing recommendations in advance of the next round of collective bargaining that will begin in July, 2024. We are pleased to announce that this Task Force has begun its work. Faculty are represented by a strong team, including Darryl Bedford (Local 110 at Fanshawe College), Martin Lee (Local 415 at Algonquin College), and Rebecca Ward (Local 732 at Confederation College). Subcommittees have been established and a timeline for work completion is being developed.

In addition, the CAAT-A Divisional Executive is helping to organize a consultative group that will ensure a diversity of Faculty voices – including various Faculty stakeholder groups – are involved in the process. This Advisory Committee will include representatives from each Local appointed by the local President, plus representative Partial-Load faculty members, counsellors, and librarians.

We are also making efforts to ensure that the Task Force members will have access to faculty in areas targeted by management for cuts to workload protections, specifically in aviation, apprenticeship, and academic upgrading.

Respecting and Crediting Indigenous Knowledge

Another Letter of Understanding awarded by Arbitrator Kaplan involves determining the definition of “Indigenous Knowledge” for the purposes of calculating the salary of Indigenous faculty members whose Indigenous Knowledge expertise is used in their work for the College.

We are pleased to say that this process is also progressing. The Union has finalized the three appointments – which includes two Indigenous faculty members Leanna Marshall (Counsellor, Local 732) and Ghislaine Goudreau (Professor, Local 655) – along with Divisional Executive member Robert Montgomery (Metis, Professor, Local 655), who represents the Union with the advisement of Indigenous Elder, Sheila Decourte (Fort William First Nation).

Similarly to the Workload Task Force, a caucus/consultative structure will be created to allow for interested Indigenous Faculty across the province to participate in this undertaking. With the appointment of the union members, the committee now waits for the CEC to identify its members so that the important work of the committee can be started.

Divisional Timeline: the Road Ahead

The Kaplan Award in September 2022 represented the culmination of a difficult round of bargaining. Significant improvements were made to our Collective Agreement (CA), and a full strike was avoided. We have yet to formally sign off on the new CA, and with Bill 124 struck down by provincial court, the two parties have agreed to resume talks about wages. With luck, the bargaining process will finally conclude this year, and will allow our division to focus on the upcoming round of negotiations scheduled to commence in the summer of 2024.

Feb. 1, 2024

Throughout this summer and autumn, the Union and CEC members of the new Workload Task Force will meet to engage in discussions about workload and appropriate changes to our Collective Agreement.

By February 1, 2024 the Task Force is scheduled to provide a report that will inform the upcoming round of bargaining. Elsewhere in this newsletter, you can find more detailed discussion of the Task Force and the advisory committee that is being formed to give the Union’s appointees access to a broad range of faculty voices and concerns.

April 20-22, 2023

Elected delegates from the 24 faculty Locals will attend the OPSEU/SEFPO Convention in Toronto. At a caucus meeting that week, the Divisional Executive will provide updates and answer questions from delegates. This will be the first OPSEU/SEFPO Convention chaired by new President JP Hornick, former CAAT-A DivEx and Bargaining Team Chair.

Autumn of 2023

The Division will have its Prebargaining Conference.

This meeting will include delegates and alternates from all 24 College Local unions, and will have as its main task the election of our next bargaining team. The conference will also include an overview of the previous round of negotiations and a review of bargaining procedures.

Early 2024

The new bargaining team will send out a demand-set survey, in which members across the province will have the opportunity to shape our Division’s bargaining agenda. The results of this survey may also impact Local demand-set meetings, at which members of each college’s Local meet to decide their Local demands and priorities for the next round of bargaining.

Spring of 2024

The Division will then have a final Demand-Set Meeting, in which elected delegates from all 24 Locals will select and rank the demands that the bargaining team will bring forward in negotiations with the CEC.

Summer of 2024

The CAAT-A bargaining team will once again be seated at the negotiating table with the CEC. The recommendations of the Workload Task Force and the wage impacts of Bill 124 will be important points of discussion, along with the other demands put forward by members across the province.

Coming Soon! OHCOW Workplace Stress Survey

We are delighted to once again partner with the Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW). Later this spring, OHCOW will be conducting and compiling short, confidential Workplace Stress Surveys of college faculty systemwide. This survey will provide Locals and the CAAT-A Division with data to assess the psychosocial health
factors that impact college faculty. It will support and inform the work that is being done by Local Health & Safety Committees, to ensure that our working environments promote health and well-being. It will also support the work of the next bargaining team.

This upcoming survey is following up on a similar survey that was conducted systemwide in the Spring of 2021; some of those results were shared by St. Clair College’s Local 417, at: www.slcfaculty.ca/mental-health-survey-results-oct-2021/.

This year’s follow-up will provide concrete tracking data about changes in recent years. Please watch for announcements and invitations to participate in this survey, which will be distributed by your Union Local this spring. Understand that this is a confidential process conducted by OHCOW, and your individual survey data will be shared with neither your Union Local nor anyone at your College.


To contact your CAAT-A Divisional Executive, please write to: divexcaata@gmail.com

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Authorized for distribution by JP Hornick, OPSEU/SEFPO President

Dear College President,

As a public college president you have one job to do – make sure students get the school year they’ve paid for and the high-quality education they deserve.

But despite your huge salary, you’re failing to do your job, and putting students’ school year at risk.

You don’t seem to understand what students are going through. You’re ignoring their needs by continuing to put the profit agenda before students’ education.

That has to stop, and it’s why we are supporting college faculty in the fight for a better college system that puts students’ needs first – including more time for students.

It seems simple, but despite faculty’s reasonable demands, your bargaining team (the College Employer Council) is still refusing to bargain. It’s your job as a college president to stand up for your students and save our school year. That means instructing your bargaining team to resume bargaining with faculty, or to agree to voluntary binding interest arbitration.

With binding interest arbitration, a trusted, neutral party will decide on how the differences should be addressed and ensures there is no labour disruption. Surely, that’s what is best for students.

Instead of finding a resolution, your bargaining team is forcing an escalation and threatening students’ entire school year. As a college president, you get paid A LOT. It’s time to do your job, step in, and save our school year!

Signed by you