The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) has learned that Ontario College Management called for a No Board report on August 23, 2012. This decision puts management in a position to lock out faculty or impose terms and conditions of employment as early as September 18.
“We are not surprised by this employer’s behaviour,” said OPSEU President, Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “The Colleges have ignored faculty demands, asked for major concessions, and demanded a wage freeze. Their delays and refusal to budge on key issues have demonstrated ill-will from the start of negotiations.”
“College Faculty have worked hard at negotiating a contract before the beginning of the school year, The Colleges’ decision to request a No Board causes the greatest possible amount of disruption for students,” said Ted Montgomery, College Faculty Co-chair.
“We don’t believe they had any intention of reaching a reasonable agreement with faculty before the start of the school year. It is clear from their timing that they planned to file a No Board all along.“
Of major concern is management’s proposal to make a massive structural change to the college system.
“We are deeply opposed to the colleges establishing a new classification of teachers called facilitators. The colleges want a new kind of teacher who is paid half as much and works twice as many hours as current faculty,” said Montgomery. “This would result in a serious deterioration of the quality of education provided to college students.”
The union has numerous no-cost demands on the table which management refuses to discuss. Union demands at the table equal less than 0.5% of the college budget of over $7 billion for the next two years.
Key issues in negotiations are better treatment of partial-load faculty, academic freedom so that teachers rather than management determine how courses are delivered, and recognizing the work required for online learning.
OPSEU represents more than 10,000 faculty members at colleges across Ontario. Faculty members include counsellors, instructors, professors and librarians.