Strik­ers about to vote

Col­lege strike: What you need to know

Northumberland Today - - FRONT PAGE - JEN­NIFER BIEMAN

Now in their fifth week on the picket line, On­tario’s 12,000 strik­ing col­lege fac­ulty mem­bers are gear­ing up for a vote that could stop the job ac­tion in its tracks.

The Col­lege Em­ployer Coun­cil – which bar­gains on be­half of the prov­ince’s 24 pub­lic col­leges – ap­proached On­tario’s Labour Re­la­tions Board to bring its fi­nal of­fer to a vote with strik­ing fac­ulty mem­bers.

By­pass­ing the bar­gain­ing com­mit­tee, the coun­cil is ask­ing rankand-file On­tario Pub­lic Ser­vice Em­ploy­ees Union (OPSEU) fac­ulty mem­bers to weigh in on the deal after talks broke down a week ago.

The elec­tronic vote be­gins Tues­day at 9 a.m. and will run un­til Thurs­day. OPSEU is urg­ing its mem­bers to vote against the coun­cil’s pro­posal.

Even so, a vote in favour of the set­tle­ment would end the strike that’s cast more than a half mil­lion stu­dents out of class, a vote against it could send both sides back to the bar­gain­ing ta­ble.

Here are some highlights of the coun­cil’s fi­nal of­fer:

Wage in­creases

1.75 per cent wage in­crease in the first year, fol­lowed by 2 per cent an­nual in­creases for the next three.

$115,378 max­i­mum salary in place by Oct. 1, 2020

Im­prov­ing par­tial-load fac­ulty – in­struc­tors who teach more than six hours but less than 12 per week on a reg­u­lar ba­sis – salaries by giv­ing them more credit for the months they’ve taught, push­ing them through the com­pen­sa­tion grid faster than be­fore.

Job se­cu­rity

Col­leges will pri­or­i­tize cre­at­ing full-time po­si­tions over par­tial-load ones when pos­si­ble, while weigh­ing the pro­gram’s eco­nomic vi­a­bil­ity and course ob­jec­tives.

The union can grieve col­lege staffing de­ci­sions

The agree­ment asks col­leges to keep a reg­istry of par­tial-load fac­ulty and the courses they’ve taught to pri­or­i­tize the em­ploy­ees in fu­ture hir­ing de­ci­sions.

When a full-time po­si­tion opens up, first con­sid­er­a­tion will be given to cur­rent full-time or par­tial-load em­ploy­ees. They’re con­sid­ered in­ter­nal can­di­dates.

Al­low teach­ers to vol­un­tar­ily take on more work to re­duce the use of part-time em­ploy­ees, a move the unions says will mean fewer teach­ing hours avail­able for par­tial-load fac­ulty.

Aca­demic free­dom

Ev­ery col­lege will de­velop a pol­icy that de­fines rights, obli­ga­tions and lim­i­ta­tions to aca­demic free­dom.

The coun­cil’s let­ter said fac­ulty have “the right to en­quire about, in­ves­ti­gate, pur­sue and speak freely about aca­demic is­sues” with­out fear of reprisal.

While ex­er­cis­ing aca­demic free­dom, fac­ulty must fol­low le­gal pa­ram­e­ters, col­lege reg­u­la­tions and Min­istry of Ad­vanced Ed­u­ca­tion and Skills De­vel­op­ment di­rec­tives.

Fac­ulty can speak freely as pub­lic cit­i­zens in the class­room, as long as they in­di­cate they’re not rep­re­sent­ing the col­lege.

Other pro­pos­als

Cre­at­ing a govern­ment task force to weigh in on key is­sues in­clud­ing staffing mod­els, gov­er­nance and col­lege fund­ing.

Dis­cuss in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty is­sues be­tween both sides with the prov­ince

JA­SON BAIN/POST­MEDIA NET­WORK

Flem­ing Col­lege staff picket on Dob­bin Road in Peter­bor­ough as a strike by On­tario Pub­lic Ser­vice Em­ploy­ees Union (OPSEU) Lo­cal 352, which rep­re­sent teach­ers, li­brar­i­ans, coun­sel­lors and in­struc­tors, con­tin­ued on Mon­day. OPSEU will vote, start­ing Tues­day, on what the Col­lege Em­ploy­ers Coun­cil has called its fi­nal con­tract of­fer. The work stop­page, which be­gan in mid-Oc­to­ber, has af­fected more than 500,000 On­tario col­lege stu­dents, in­clud­ing Flem­ing stu­dents in Cobourg.

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