Message from the President and First Vice-President/Treasurer: Congratulations on your tentative deal
The first day at the bargaining table is always uncertain. No matter how long you prepare and how hard you work on proposals, you can never be sure of 50 per cent of the equation: the employer. What concessions are they going after? How ready are they to agree to demands? How serious are they about getting a fair deal?
That’s why we’re so proud of our Part-Time College Support bargaining team members, who devoted their time and resources to bargain in good faith. They’ve got so many members counting on them – while so much depends on the individuals across the table. We thank the bargaining team for taking on a tough job.
When we read the employer’s opening statement it was full of demands for concessions. It’s a testament to the bargaining team’s skill and determination that every single concession was defeated and substantial job security gains were achieved.
As they move forward into the ratification process, all OPSEU/SEFPO staff will continue to support the bargaining team. They’ll have the full resources of the union as they set up a telephone town hall, in the rollout of regional meetings and, finally, the ratification vote.
A strong house isn’t built overnight. It requires time and a solid foundation. This agreement lays a very sound foundation for agreements in rounds of bargaining to come. We’re looking forward to the result of your vote and thank you for all the support you’ve given your bargaining team.
OPSEU/SEFPO President Warren (Smokey) Thomas
Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida, OPSEU/SEFPO First Vice-President/Treasurer
Message from your bargaining team: Why we’re recommending acceptance
As your bargaining team, we are proud to recommend acceptance of this tentative agreement.
We came to the bargaining table with the employer – the College Employer Council – armed with a number of demands with a focus on job stability and security, including an extension of the recall period from nine to 12 months.
You, our members, also wanted an agreement from the colleges to convene a consultative committee with the locals to sustain job security.
The employer was in no mood to concede to any of our demands. We spent the first day resisting no fewer than 24 concessions.
The second day of negotiations was held on June 25. The bargaining team was determined to begin the long and gruelling battle, not only to fight back on the concessions demanded, but also to score victories for their members.
And we did precisely that.
After a marathon bargaining session, the two sides reached a tentative agreement – one that contained not a single concession. Rather, it features a number of gains that will build greater employment stability and security, while laying a solid foundation for future wins.
Beyond job security, a key priority of the membership was to see an increase to our compensation. We negotiated one per cent wage increases in each of the three years of the agreement – the maximum allowed under Bill 124.
The tentative deal also allows for a return to the table to negotiate improved compensation gains, should OPSEU/SEFPO’s Charter challenge of Bill 124 be successful.
The agreement runs from February 1, 2021, to January 31, 2024. Here are some of the highlights of the tentative agreement (page numbers refer to the memorandum of settlement):
Wages: One per cent increases in each of the three years, retroactive to February 1, 2021 (page 11).
Probation: The probationary period will be reduced from 936 hours to 742 hours (page 1).
Recall: The recall list will be increased from nine to 12 months (page 2).
Layoff meetings: The college will give notice to the local when it has decided to lay off 50 per cent of the regular part-time employees or 15 regular part-time employees, whichever is greater, in a four-week period. At those meetings, strategies will be advanced and discussed to reduce layoffs to the extent possible (page 2).
Student/temp/casual: These members are now eligible for paid absences to attend to union matters (pages 5-6).
Temporary and casual employees: Both categories will now be paid for absences to attend to union duties (pages 8-11).
In our opinion, this is a strong agreement. We fought back on every one of the employer’s concessions – and won.
While Bill 124 kept total compensation gains to one per cent, we’re confident OPSEU/SEFPO’s Charter challenge will be successful – and that we’ll be back at the bargaining table seeking improved increases.
Most importantly, the tentative deal comes with important and substantial job security gains. Almost half our membership was laid off because of COVID. We need to be ready for the next time the employer wants to make massive layoffs.
No deal is perfect. No deal delivers what everyone wants. But this deal has something for everyone and sets us on very solid ground for the next deal.
That’s why we strongly recommend you vote yes. This is your chance to say yes to a better future. Make sure you take that opportunity.
Join us for the telephone town hall
OPSEU/SEFPO is hosting a telephone town hall on Tuesday, August 10 from 5:00 – 6:30 p.m. All CAAT-S PT members are encouraged to attend.
If OPSEU/SEFPO has your up-to-date personal phone number, you’ll receive a call roughly 10 to 15 minutes before the town hall starts. Just stay on the line, and you’ll be connected.
You can also dial the meeting directly: call 1-877-229-8493 and enter ID Code 112847.
Regional meetings are coming
OPSEU/SEFPO is organizing virtual information meetings in each of the union’s seven regions for members from the noted colleges invited to attend and learn more about the deal. Visit http://collegesupportpt.org/ for more information as updates will be posted regularly.
Regions 1 and 2: Conestoga, Fanshawe, Lambton, Mohawk, Niagara, St. Clair, Sheridan: August 11 from 12 to 1:30 p.m.
Regions 3 and 4: Algonquin, Fleming, Georgian, La Cité, Loyalist, St. Lawrence: August 11 from 7 to 8:30 p.m.
Region 5: Centennial, Durham, George Brown, Humber, Seneca: August 12 from 12 to 1:30 p.m.
Regions 6 and 7: Boréal, Cambrian, Canadore, Confederation, Northern, Sault: August 12 from 7 to 8:30 p.m.
When is the virtual ratification vote?
The virtual ratification vote will take place from August 13 to 17. It will be supervised and administered by the Ontario Labour Relations Board using Simply Voting. A link to your ballot with your unique elector ID and password will be sent to your work email in the days preceding the opening of the ballot.
If you don’t have access to your work email, but believe you should be entitled to cast a ballot in the ratification vote, please email CollegePTBarg@opseu.org to let us know.
Continue to check the CAAT-S PT webpage for updates on this ratification process, and to provide your contact information to keep informed.
Lisa Lavigne Chair, Local 349
Nour Askandar Vice-Chair, Local 557
Dale Gartshore Local 124
Rick Townend Local 109
Denis Martinez Local 561
Julie Davis Local 351
Doreen Follett Local 416
Heather Petrie (OPSEU/SEFPO negotiator)