April 5, 2012
Faculty = Counsellors +
Instructors + Librarians + Professors
Quality education tops agenda at demand-setting
The first step in collective
bargaining is the setting of demands by members at each college. All of those
demands are then sent to the provincial demand setting meeting.
On March 31 and April 1, delegates
from every college met in Toronto to establish the bargaining demands and
priorities for the next round of collective bargaining. There was a strong
consensus that demands need to be reasonable and focused in order to optimize
success at the bargaining table. Over the two days of discussion it became clear
that quality education was at the very top of everyone’s agenda.
The first priority is to strengthen
the language around the faculty member’s control over the selection of
materials, evaluation methods, and teaching methodology. It will be the task of
the bargaining team to negotiate in good faith to achieve this and other
The next priority is to improve the
rights of our partial-load members. Although all delegates to the demand-setting
meeting were full time faculty, they voted to make the right of partial-load
teachers to maintain their employment one of the top two priorities in the
upcoming round of negotiations.
The third priority is to address
the issues of on-line and hybrid teaching and learning in all of its various
forms. In all, the delegates voted to take only 28 demands to the bargaining
table. The academic rights of faculty, the additional specific needs of
partial-load teachers, fair compensation for college faculty in relation to
university and high school teachers, job security and staffing, and some
reasonable improvements to benefits are all included in the demand package.
The union will give notice to
bargain June 4, the earliest possible date under the Colleges Collective
Bargaining Act. Meeting dates have already been established throughout the
summer, and the union has every intention of negotiating an ontime settlement.
Faculty will learn in June whether or not the colleges also intend to negotiate
in good faith to an on-time agreement. Faculty are seeking reasonable and needed
improvements to their contract. Settlement will be attainable if the colleges
proceed in the same vein.
Delegates to the demand-setting
meeting also got to explore and discuss some of the new communications tools and
strategies that can help keep members informed about and in touch with
bargaining as it unfolds. Blogger, Jonathan Singer – Collegeprof.ca – presented
an insightful look into the dos, don’ts, strengths and weaknesses of blogging,
and other social-media based communications and community building. The
bargaining team will utilize Facebook, Twitter and blogs throughout the
Eric O’Brien, OPSEU General
Counsel, took the delegates through a comprehensive presentation on the details
and implications of the Colleges Collective Bargaining Act, 2008 [CCBA].
Delegates gained a good understanding of how college academic negotiations must
be leaner and faster than in years past. Members must be informed and ready to
act swiftly to bargaining developments now possible under the revised CCBA.
Two of the major steps in the
bargaining process have been completed. The bargaining team will now draft
contract language to propose to the Council when face-to-face negotiations get
underway. It is essential in the new bargaining environment that members stay in
touch to keep informed of the negotiations as they proceed from now to June and
especially from June through to September.
Enter the Quality Education Video Contest
Delegates at the demand-setting
meeting were excited to learn that OPSEU is sponsoring a video contest for
college faculty and our students. The best under-5-minute video that showcases
quality education at Ontario Colleges will receive a $1000 prize from OPSEU! The
contest is open to full-time and partial-load teachers, counsellors, and
librarians at Ontario’s colleges. Look for details on the OPSEU website
www.opseu.org and from your Local President. The contest submission deadline is
Sunday, May 13, 2012. Put your YouTube skills to work!
Symposium on Academic Freedom and Quality
On Friday June 1, in Toronto, OPSEU
and CAUT (Canadian Association of University
Teachers) are co-hosting a
symposium – Quality Education and Academic Freedom in Ontario Colleges. This
symposium will feature a panel of academic experts who will examine the state of
basic academic freedom – the rights of faculty to determine their teaching and
related work – in Ontario Colleges. The symposium will be of interest to current
college faculty members, college students, persons studying college systems, and
all those considering a college career. Space will be limited so look for the
detailed announcement soon.
Although there are space
limitations, OPSEU hopes to live-stream the symposium.
Discussion and findings will be
made available to all college faculty members as soon as possible after the
symposium. Watch for further details.
Your bargaining team
Cambrian College (Co-Chair)
Seneca College (Co-Chair)
Benoît Dupuis, La
Lynn Dee Eason,
George Brown College
Contact your team: