“College faculty are committed to providing high-quality education for the hundreds of thousands of students who rely on Ontario colleges to prepare them for the rest of their lives. It’s time for management to listen to their expertise on how best to do that.” — OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas
Toronto (9 Aug 2017) — On August 3, 2017 the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE) asked the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) to schedule a September strike vote for faculty at Ontario public colleges.
Management refuses to address core issues
The chair of the union bargaining team, JP Hornick, says the vote should come as no surprise to college management, given their refusal to deal with the core issues raised by faculty.
“For students and faculty alike, the learning and teaching environment plays a critical role in the success of the college system,” said Hornick. “We’ve put forward proposals that would improve academic decision-making through collegial governance and academic freedom, create fairness in how partial-load and contract faculty are treated, and support the success of students.
“Together, our better plan will provide students with the quality education that they deserve – and that will benefit their future employers, and our province as a whole.”
Requesting date in second week of September for a vote
Under the Colleges Collective Bargaining Act (CCBA), the OLRB is responsible for scheduling a strike vote when requested by the union bargaining team. The team has asked for a date in the second week of September, after faculty have returned for the fall term.
Hornick added that the team is committed to continuing to bargain for a settlement, not a strike, but that the result of the vote will help send a clear message to management.
“We are asking members for a strong ‘YES’ vote to help the team push for the best deal possible.”
Need to address concerns to secure the future
OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas expressed his disappointment with management’s refusal to engage with the ideas put forward to improve Ontario’s college system.
“Our colleges have played a vital role in providing access to education for the past 50 years,” said Thomas. “But to make sure they can continue to do this for the next 50, there are some serious problems to be addressed.
“College faculty are committed to providing high-quality education for the hundreds of thousands of students who rely on Ontario colleges to prepare them for the rest of their lives. It’s time for management to listen to their expertise on how best to do that.”
The OPSEU collective agreement for college faculty will expire on September 30, 2017.
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