Bargaining Updates 2022

***College faculty are currently operating under Work-to-Rule (WTR) due to the decision of the College Employer Council (CEC) to impose a contract on us instead of bargaining in good faith. Since the CEC escalated by engaging in labour disruption, all faculty are expected to follow WTR, which is legal labour action. Please see below for information to help you understand the WTR expectations. You are legally protected not to face retribution for participation in WTR. If you haven’t already, don’t forget to sign up for our mailing list with your personal email address here: https://local350.ca/contact-2/. All bargaining information will be shared on this website and to the personal emails we have on file.***

The Bargaining Team for all partial load and full-time faculty in Ontario colleges is comprised of JP Hornick (Chair), Jonathan Singer, Michelle Arbour, Kathleen Flynn, Shawn Pentecost, Ravi Ramkissoonsingh, and Rebecca Ward.

They are bargaining with the College Employer Council (CEC), a third-party organization that bargains on behalf of the 24 colleges.

If you haven’t signed a union card yet, please do so here: https://hub03.opseu.org/Forms/emaweb. If you are unsure, please contact Local 350 Secretary, Emily Brett.

Are you a student looking for information on how the current Work-to-Rule action will affect you? Please see Humber College’s helpful FAQ and the bargaining team’s FAQ.

In solidarity.

Helpful Overview Documents:

WORK-TO-RULE

How to deal with Blackboard issues, academic appeals, PLARs, or other tasks that involve helping students or performing administrative tasks

Direct the College Employer Council (CEC) to return to the bargaining table by writing a letter to the college president, CEC, and senior government officials.

Sample Email Signature

10 Things Students Should Know About Bargaining, FAQ for Students from the Bargaining Team.

2021 Update on Education in Ontario Colleges (Report), by Kevin Mackay and Martin Devitt

Suggested response for partial load faculty replying to manager requests.

Suggested response for SWFd faculty about 30 minutes of meeting time per week.

Sample messages for managers who request meetings and for students.

Work-to-Rule clarification on meetings, open house, coordinator time, etc.

WTR for Librarians, WTR for Counsellors, FAQ for Counsellors.

Download the Bargaining for Better logo for screencasts.

Consider posting this script as an announcement in Blackboard for students to under the WTR action.

From the bargaining team, a reminder of your right to Work-to-Rule (January 4, 2022).

Work-to-Rule FAQ from the bargaining team, including a helpful email template to use with admin and supervisors (January 3, 2022).

For Work-to-Rule Phase 2 instructions for Georgian faculty, click here (posted January 3, 2022).

Infographic on using Toggl to track the time it takes you on tasks.

Summary of Negotiations so far (December 21, 2021) – Key Points: Explanation of Imposition of Terms, Work-to-Rule Action, and the Main Issues

Work-to-Rule Phase 2 (effective January 3, 2022)

● We are in the midst of job action which entails limiting our work to the letter of the collective agreement. This is not voluntary.
● The list below is struck work, and must not be undertaken by any bargaining unit member. Engaging in struck work is equivalent to crossing a picket line.
● If you have any questions, contact your union local for assistance.

Key Points: Continue to support students and follow management directives. Track how long it takes you to perform work and stop when the time given is used. Set clear boundaries of availability with management and students.

○ No unassigned college meetings
○ Professional development must be compensated or voluntary.
○ No unassigned extracurricular activities
○ No holiday gatherings
○ No town halls.

Please read the above Work-to-Rule Phase 2 link for all other work-to-rule action outlined by the Bargaining Team.

Work-to-Rule Phase 1 for Georgian Faculty (December 16) Key Points: We are currently mapping memberships and seeking “Picket captains”. Our solidarity actions will be determined by our picket captains in working with their teams. Our picket captains will also work with their teams to determine what Work To Rule looks like in each sector and each department.

Start recording all of the time you spend on the different parts of your work, such as evaluation, preparation, meetings, student email, etc. We recommend using Toggl, a free and easy to use app that you can use from your computer or phone.

Change the signature line on your college and personal email to read:
“The College Employer Council and college management have chosen to impose terms and conditions of work on college faculty, rather than agreeing to extend existing terms while the faculty and employer bargaining teams negotiate a Collective Agreement. College faculty have begun a work-to-rule campaign, in protest. For more information, click here [insert collegefaculty.org or local350.ca].”

Bargaining Team Response to Imposition of Terms and Work-To-Rule (December 13)

BARGAINING UPDATES PRIOR TO WORK-TO-RULE

Strike Vote FAQs and CCBA Strike Procedure (December 7)

Bargaining Team Presentation to Local 350 (December 6)

Bargaining Basics: What’s Happened So Far (November 25)

Faculty Bargaining Team Presentation – Update for Members (November 25)

Comparison of Offers (November 17)

CEC Claims: Fact or Fiction (November 12)

Latest Union Offer of Settlement (November 18)

Latest CEC Offer of Settlement (November 23)

Local 240 (Mohawk) Newsletter w Recap of Events, History of Bargaining (December 1)

December 13 – MESSAGE FROM LOCAL 350 EXECUTIVE

You’ve probably already read the update from the College Employer Council (CEC) that was sent this morning indicating that they imposed their terms and conditions of work on faculty. Attached to this email is the bargaining team’s response to the imposition of terms.

While the imposition of terms does address some of the demands that the bargaining team was fighting for, many of the terms fail to directly address the problems facing members (job security, workload, no contracting out of faculty work, intellectual property protections). More importantly, the imposition of terms is a measure that indicates a blatant lack of respect for the collective bargaining process. The bargaining team proposed to keep the existing collective agreement until the new year, but the CEC has escalated by imposing terms. If they truly feel as though theirs is a fair offer, they could use a forced offer vote to take it directly to members at any time. Instead, they have decided to impose their will on members.

The imposition of the current terms and conditions is, in the words of JP Hornick (chair of the bargaining team), a strategy akin to throwing “a pizza party” to make everyone believe that the CEC is taking good care of us. The truth is that the CEC can return to the terms and conditions and alter them at any time. We expect that the “pizza party” won’t last long.

In terms of what work-to-rule means for Georgian College faculty, there are no changes for the immediate future. We will continue to sit on joint committees with management because there is important work to be done on important issues. We will be looking at solidarity strategies and work-to-rule actions in January.

Until then, thanks for supporting both the bargaining team and your local stewards and executives. You showed us that you care about the demands on the table and we will continue to fight for improvement on those issues until the CEC decides to come back to negotiations. 

In Solidarity,

Local 350 Executive (Anita Arvast, Jason Hunter, Mary Spencer, Trista Hill, Emily Brett, Mark Dorsey)

December 2FOR IMMEDIATE DISTRIBUTION

Dear CAAT-A Members, We wanted to keep you updated on the latest developments around bargaining as we progress towards a scheduled strike vote.

Strike Authorization Vote Confirmed – The Ontario Labour Relations Board has confirmed that it will conduct a strike vote online, from Thursday December 9 until Saturday December 11 (at 3:00 P.M.). All current full-time and partial-load faculty will be eligible to vote, and each Local is currently confirming the lists of eligible faculty.

A successful strike mandate is legally required in order for the bargaining team to organize any work action, including work-to-rule, targeted strikes, or rolling strikes at different workplaces. It is made necessary by the CEC’s refusal so far to negotiate any of the core issues raised by faculty in this round of bargaining, including workload, job security, use of faculty course materials, and the conditions of partial-load faculty during and between their contracts.

A successful strike mandate will tell the employer that faculty are standing behind their demands, standing up for each other, and standing behind the bargaining team. It will also give faculty the chance to organize a response if the Employer unilaterally imposes new Terms and Conditions of employment, which it has prepared to do as early as December 13.

Upcoming Provincewide Bargaining Update Meetings

The CAAT-A Divisional Executive is organizing two Provincewide Bargaining Updates, in advance of the strike authorization vote. The Bargaining Team will be presenting bargaining updates at these meetings, and attendees will have the chance to submit questions.

Pre-registration is required, at the links below. All members are invited to both meetings, although the Tuesday meeting will be devoted to partial-load issues.

Simultaneous translation for these meetings has been arranged.

November 26FOR IMMEDIATE DISTRIBUTION

Greetings faculty: We have reviewed the College Employer Council team’s latest offers, including their proposal for Final Offer Selection arbitration, received through various email channels this week.

It is important to note that the faculty team offered Voluntary Binding Interest Arbitration – not Final Offer Selection, which we made clear in our presentation to the CEC on November 18. 

Final Offer Selection is when the arbitrator is only allowed to choose one side’s offer or the other’s in its entirety. It allows no room for reasoned consideration around the serious issues surrounding each article. It allows no room for compromise, or for selecting the best proposals in each side’s offer. It chooses winners and losers, and therefore leads to toxic labour relations. 

Voluntary Binding Interest Arbitration is a very different process that examines every issue under debate within the collective agreement closely, with the arbitrator issuing a ruling on each.  

We are also extremely concerned that the CEC put this proposal to the public and members without having conversations at the table first. In other words, the CEC’s behaviour is the exact opposite of good-faith bargaining.

We have now received notice of the “No Board” report from the Ministry-appointed Conciliator, and have reviewed . As we endeavour to clarify and explore next steps with the CEC team, we continue to plan for the upcoming online strike mandate vote, confirmed to take place December 9, 10, and 11.  Detailed instructions will follow, as soon as we receive them from the Ontario Labour Relations Board.

We are also planning two provincewide information sessions for faculty:

  • December 7 from 6:30-8:00 pm:  A session specific to partial-load faculty
  • December 8 from 6:30-8:00 pm:  A session open to all faculty (including partial-load)

In the meantime, the team continues to be happy to attend Local General Membership Meetings and Information Sessions to address member questions and concerns.

November 25 – FOR IMMEDIATE DISTRIBUTION

Greetings faculty:

You have likely received a new update from the CEC, in which they “agree” to arbitration.  While the faculty bargaining team will look carefully at their offer tonight and tomorrow, we should caution you that their offer is not what it appears to be on the surface, and clarify that the CEC is not agreeing to a proposal made by the faculty Bargaining Team.  

Specifically, the CEC is proposing “final offer selection”–a process by which means an arbitrator would be forced to choose one offer or the other in its entirety. This is different from the more common practice of “interest arbitration” (which the faculty team had explicitly offered at the bargaining table), where arbitrators select which parts of each offer they believe are the most appropriate.

We also note that your bargaining team received this proposal only minutes before it was distributed publicly through College e-mail and the CEC website.  We regret that the CEC is choosing to bargain in public in this way, and we feel that it is not conducive to a productive bargaining relationship.  

You have also recently received communication from the College Employer Council (CEC) regarding their revised (not final) offer, which was sent by email to the faculty team at 4:40pm on Tuesday, November 23. In both this communication and today’s, the CEC has proposed no further bargaining dates.

Attached, you will find a presentation that includes a comparison of the two offers — including the areas where they agree — as well as a clear infographic about what’s happening now, and what you can do to help.

To be clear:

  • The faculty team has offered to go to voluntary binding interest arbitration to avoid labour disruption.  Despite the impression they tried to present in their latest announcement, the CEC team still has not agreed to this.
  • The CEC’s current offer does not address faculty needs with regard to workload, partial-load issues, contracting out faculty work, use of faculty materials, online learning, equity, Indigeneity, Decolonization and TRC, and the counsellor class definition.  Our current offer contains reasonable, lawful, and low- and no-cost proposals which the CEC refuses to bargain.
  • The CEC has posted their latest offer and response publicly, and circulated it to faculty directly without first discussing it at the bargaining table.

The faculty team has reached out to the conciliator to invite the CEC team back to the table, to determine whether the CEC team is prepared to continue bargaining or to agree to binding interest arbitration.

Below are some quick answers to common questions faculty have raised about a strike mandate:

Does a successful strike vote mean there will be a full strike?

Despite the CEC’s assertions, the simple answer is no. 

A strong strike mandate indicates to the employer that faculty are serious about their demands, and about their willingness to take action to support them.  

The faculty team has planned an escalating campaign of labour and other actions to build pressure on the employer, and to be able to respond to attempts by the CEC to impose terms and conditions.

Will we be on strike over the holiday break?

No.

When will the team call a strike?

The faculty team will not call a strike over the holiday break.  In fact, the faculty team has planned an escalating work-to-rule and labour action campaign to build pressure on the employer and avoid a strike.

What would a strike look like now? 

It’s not about walking around (mostly empty) buildings with signs: it’s about recognizing that our collective power comes from the work that we do.  Withholding that work (in various forms) is what will force the employer to recognize its value.

Questions you should ask your College President and the CEC team:

  1. Why won’t the CEC team agree to voluntary binding interest arbitration to settle outstanding issues and avoid labour disruption? As a college president, will you tell the CEC team to either bargain faculty’s key demands or agree to send outstanding issues to binding interest arbitration? 
  1. If the CEC’s offer is fair and reasonable and represents the best they can do this round, why won’t they call a final offer vote?  
    • This is something only the CEC team can do, and the results would tell them exactly what faculty think of their offer.
  1. Why won’t the CEC team tell faculty whether or not they plan to impose terms and conditions and what those terms will be?

Again, we encourage you to read the attached presentation and infographic, to better understand the current bargaining situation, and to get a clear sense of each side’s offer.  We look forward to communicating more shortly, once we have had an opportunity to carefully consider the CEC’s latest proposal, as we are similarly reviewing their latest proposed Offer of Settlement.

November 18 – FOR IMMEDIATE DISTRIBUTION

Employer Team Rejects Voluntary Arbitration, Abandons Negotiations

Dear CAAT-A Members,

Today, your faculty bargaining team returned to the bargaining table, to resume negotiations with the assistance of a Conciliation Officer appointed by the Ministry of Labour. It was the first day that we have met with the College Employer Council (CEC) bargaining team in a week, despite our offer for additional days earlier this week.

We commenced the day by providing a new Offer of Settlement that features an attempt to move closer to agreement and which ensures that faculty’s needs are addressed in concrete terms now in the key areas of Workload, Partial-Load, Equity and Indigeneity, and Protections of Faculty Instructional Materials.

Since our latest offer incorporates additional language proposed by the CEC team in their last offer, we believe that the two sides’ are close on some areas. Indeed, even three of the CEC’s recent publications claim that “CEC and CAAT-A proposals are very similar”.

Noting how close the two sides are, and noting that there is very little room for the faculty team to compromise further, we made a formal offer to the CEC, to have both teams agree to voluntary binding arbitration to avoid escalation leading to labour disruption.

Unfortunately, we regret to inform you that our efforts to find common ground and achieve a settlement through negotiations or a mutually-agreed process were unsuccessful.  Specifically:

  • The CEC team rejected our latest Offer of Settlement;
  • The CEC team rejected our offer to refer all outstanding issues to voluntary binding arbitration;
  • The CEC team requested that the Conciliator file a “no board” report, which is a legally-required step towards labour disruption, including lockout, strike, or Imposed Terms & Conditions of Employment.

While the CEC’s conduct is regrettable, it is nevertheless typical of their behaviour throughout the bargaining process, which has been marked by tactics that escalate towards labour conflict. These tactics include requesting conciliation—a first necessary step on the legal path to labour disruption—and filing legal complaints in the middle of the bargaining process.

The CEC team’s request for the Conciliator to file a “no board report” is dismaying, as it indicates that the CEC team is unwilling to counter the faculty team’s compromises with compromises of its own. We note that the CEC team’s current Offer of Settlement fails to meet our members’ needs and our students’ needs in its current form, since;

  • It fails to include any necessary increase in time attributed for evaluating student writing or projects
  • It fails to include any necessary increase in time attributed for teaching classes with an online component
  • It fails to provide necessary transparency for the Partial-Load faculty
  • It creates new limits on which Partial-Load faculty are eligible for inclusion in the Partial-Load Registry
  • It proposes three committee structures to address issues including workload; Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion; and Indigenization, Decolonization, and Truth & Reconciliation, but the lack of adequate dispute mechanisms in these structures means that the CEC will be able to effectively “veto” any effective change that might otherwise come out of them
  • It proposes language that would permit greater contracting-out of Counsellors’ work.
  • It prevents Union Locals from filing staffing grievances to create new full-time positions and replace retirees, for the next three years.

Since the CEC team has effectively turned its back on negotiations, and the faculty team has used every tool we can to avoid escalation, it is now up to all of us to stand together for our priorities. To demonstrate faculty power at  the table, the team needs you to show your support– to show this Employer that faculty need change now and that faculty are willing to stand up for ourselves, for each other, and for our students.  

The faculty team’s current Offer of Settlement includes concrete proposals to address the immediate needs of faculty and students related to online course delivery, additional time to evaluate student work, along with no-cost improvements to better the working conditions of partial-load faculty. These are balanced with other proposals for effective structures to address longer term needs in the areas of Workload (including Partial-Load workload); Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion; and Indigeneity, Decolonization, and Truth & Reconciliation.

We believe that management’s current offer is designed to ensure that necessary change does not occur now or in the next three years. The faculty team’s offer is designed to ensure that necessary change begins now, and grows through the life of our next Collective Agreement.

Now that the CEC team has walked away from negotiations and rejected the faculty team’s offer for voluntary binding arbitration, they have left faculty with literally no choice than to organize in favour of the faculty offer. We ask that you prepare for this by ensuring that your Union Local can reach you at a non-College email address and phone number, and that you participate in upcoming solidarity actions, digital pickets, and local events.  We will be in touch very soon with next steps.

Together we are strong; together we can demand that the Employer agree to reasonable improvements needed by faculty and students.

In solidarity,

Your CAAT-A Bargaining Team