Management hardens demands as strike deadline arrives, driving two sides further apart
Toronto (7 March 2006) – Education quality is the central issue in a dispute between Ontario's 24 community colleges and 9,100 faculty members represented by the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE).
The faculty, who have been working without a contract since Aug. 31, 2005, reached a legal walkout deadline at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday.
Talks broke off after union negotiators tried without success to bargain changes to the collective agreement that would reverse the decline in education quality in the colleges, providing for smaller classes and more faculty so every college student would get more time, more attention and more feedback.
Unfortunately, the negotiators for the colleges refused to accept solutions proposed by OPSEU to improve quality education. Instead, management aggravated the situation by tabling last-minute concession demands that moved the two-sides further apart.
“The union will be going on strike to get exactly what Premier McGuinty says he wants for our students – higher quality education,” OPSEU president Leah Casselman said in a statement.
“Over five days of negotiations, management did not table a proposal until 9:30 p.m. Monday, March 6. Incredibly, that last-minute proposal moves backwards from the offer that management had in place at the time of the strike vote,” noted Ted Montgomery, chair of the OPSEU bargaining team.
“The management team’s complete failure to bargain in good faith is shocking and deplorable. Management has wasted five days and never put an offer on the table until the last minute. Not one of the issues of quality has been addressed in their offer,” he added.
The colleges are represented in bargaining by the College Compensation and Appointments Council. NUPGE