Nei­ther side budg­ing as strike/lock­out looms

The Barrie Examiner - - NEWS - bbru­ton@post­media.com BOB BRUTON BAR­RIE EX­AM­INER

Nei­ther side is giv­ing ground as the Oct. 15 strike/lock­out dead­line ap­proaches for On­tario’s col­leges, in­clud­ing Georgian in Bar­rie.

“We’re pre­pared to go, on strike,” said Anita Ar­vast, chief ste­ward of On­tario Pub­lic Ser­vice Union Lo­cal 350. “It looks more than likely that we will be go­ing on strike.”

The col­lec­tive agree­ment for col­lege fac­ulty ex­pired Sept. 30, 2017.

Ar­vast, a lib­eral arts pro­fes­sor at Georgian, says the stick­ing point is the num­ber of full-time, and the num­ber of con­tract, fac­ulty at On­tario col­leges.

She says Georgian has more than 70% con­tract fac­ulty. Ar­vast said the Lo­cal 350 bar­gain­ing team has pro­posed a grad­ual in­crease to 50% full-time and 50% con­tract fac­ulty.

“We be­lieve they (the col­leges) could re­jig some of what they’re spend­ing their money on,” she said. “When you’re pay­ing that much more for ad­min­is­tra­tion than you’re pay­ing for fac­ulty, then that’s a cause for con­cern.”

From 2007/08 to 2016/17, Ar­vast pointed out the in­creases sys­temwide at On­tario col­leges.

The num­ber of full-time stu­dents has in­creased by 20.3%, full­time fac­ulty by 12.1%, con­tract fac­ulty by 36.2% and ad­min­is­tra­tors by 56.1%, she said.

The Col­lege Em­ployer Coun­cil, which bar­gains for the col­leges, could not be reached for com­ment Thurs­day by the Ex­am­iner.

But its web­site says the col­leges had of­fered a four-year ex­ten­sion to the ex­ist­ing con­tract that in­creased salaries by 7.5%, a new max­i­mum of $115,094, a sign­ing bonus, ben­e­fit en­hance­ments, and no con­ces­sions.

The union re­jected the col­leges’ of­fer to ex­tend the con­tract that had been on the ta­ble for eight weeks, and re­fused to al­low fac­ulty to vote on the of­fer, the coun­cil said.

A con­cil­ia­tor set Oct. 15 as the time a le­gal strike or lock­out can be­gin in­volv­ing union­ized fac­ulty at all 24 On­tario pub­lic col­leges.

The date was is­sued af­ter fac­ulty rep­re­sented by OPSEU re­quested a ‘no-board’ re­port.

Un­der the rules set out in the Col­leges Col­lec­tive Bar­gain­ing Act, the union is re­quired to give five days’ no­tice prior to go­ing on strike, and the Col­lege Em­ployer Coun­cil must give five days’ no­tice of a lock­out.

This means an ac­tual strike or lock­out dead­line could come af­ter Oct. 15.

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