College faculty will vote Tuesday on an offer that could end strike – here are the details

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

Striking Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) members will cast their ballots on the colleges’ final offer beginning Tuesday at 9 a.m. — a vote triggered by the colleges after talks broke down a week ago - writes

Bypassing OPSEU’s bargaining committee, the College Employer Council approached the Ontario Labour Relations Board to bring its deal to rank-and-file faculty. The vote will be completed by electronic ballot and will run until Thursday.

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.

On the eve of the potentially strike ending vote, the council created a new website to give striking faculty more information about their offer.

“College faculty are making a very important decision and still have many questions,” said council bargaining chairperson Sonia Del Missier in a statement.

“We are launching this site in response to the union’s continued misrepresentation of the offer being voted on by faculty.”

If the deal is approved by OPSEU members, classes could begin as early as Nov. 21, the council said. A vote to reject the offer means faculty will remain on strike until a resolution is found.

In a letter to faculty Monday, OPSEU called on its members to reject the council’s offer, saying it does not do enough to stem precarious work or ensure instructors’ academic freedom — two issues at the core of the job action that started Oct. 16.

“The offer you are to vote on is filled with concessions that will gut our system for years to come, cost each of us more in unpaid work after the strike, and further expand the ranks of the most marginalized contract workers,” OPSEU’s letter to faculty read.

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

    Read also other news of London on our site.
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