"Tuesday was another frustrating day of bargaining, during which our employer once again refused to consider key faculty issues. They have walked away from the table" — JP Hornick, union bargaining team chair
Toronto (12 Oct. 2017) — College faculty represented by the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) have set a strike deadline of 12:01 a.m. October 16 in contract talks with their employer, the College Employer Council.
"Tuesday was another frustrating day of bargaining, during which our employer once again refused to consider key faculty issues. They have walked away from the table," said JP Hornick, chair of the union bargaining team. "The purpose of setting a strike deadline is to get negotiations moving – before it’s too late."
OPSEU represents over 12,000 professors, instructors, counsellors, and librarians working at 24 public colleges across Ontario. Union members include full-time permanent and “partial load” contract faculty who teach 7 to 12 hours per week.
Precarious work a growing problem at colleges
"Our union team has been clear about its goals since bargaining began in early July," Hornick said. "We have put forward concrete proposals to improve education quality by including the voices of faculty and students in academic decisions; we have made the case for strengthening the complement of full-time faculty; and we have called on the colleges to read the signals from Queen’s Park and start treating contract faculty fairly."
“Unfortunately our employer is not moving forward on the issues faculty care about most – even in the case of no-cost items like academic freedom or longer contracts for contract faculty.”
OPSEU President urges colleges to resume negotiations
OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas cautioned the College Employer Council to get back to the table and not wait until the last minute to negotiate.
“Students already have enough to worry about with their courses and exams and tuition fees,” said Thomas. “They don’t need the stress and anxiety of not knowing if they will be in class next week.
“I encourage the colleges to get down to business now.”
The OPSEU strike fund sits at $72 million.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 370,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. — NUPGE