Why Vote to Reject? Faculty and Students Deserve Better
As you may be aware of by now, a forced offer vote will be held online from 9 am on February 15th to 3 pm on February 17th. You are being asked to vote on the last offer presented by the College Employer Council (CEC), which is virtually unchanged from its November 23rd offer. Faculty have already rejected this with the strike mandate we handed down in December.
The upcoming vote is a critical one that will have both short- and long-term consequences on collective bargaining in the college sector.
In the short-term, voting to REJECT means that we will end up with a new collective agreement that is better than what the CEC is presently offering. The CEC offer does not meaningfully address faculty demands around key issues:
more time for students,
partial-load job security,
preventing contracting out, to protect the work of counsellors, librarians and all other faculty,
faculty consent for how the colleges use our course materials,
equity and decolonization.
Once we reject this offer, the CEC will have no tactics left to avoid bargaining faculty issues.
For the second consecutive round of bargaining, the CEC has demonstrated little willingness to negotiate our demands, and instead continues to stoke fear of a full strike and threats of reprisal to try and divide faculty. After a five-week long strike in 2017 that resulted in significant gains for college faculty (e.g., academic freedom, increased seniority rights for partial-load members, and the creation of new full-time positions by removing a moratorium on Article 2 grievances), the CEC gambled this round that faculty would not stand together again, even after experiencing significant changes to our working conditions over the past four years.
But we are, and we are telling them that their strategy isn’t working for faculty. Let’s continue to prove them wrong – not just for our own good but for that of our students.
If the CEC is successful in having faculty accept their offer, there will be no incentive for them going forward to change their negotiation strategy of delay, defer, deny, and do nothing.
Why would they change their approach if it works for them this time? Taking a forced offer vote–rather than negotiating or agreeing to faculty’s offer to refer unresolved issues to voluntary binding interest arbitration–demonstrates little respect for faculty. If the CEC can routinely avoid negotiating in good faith, our needs and the needs of our students will not be met and our system will suffer as a result.
Voting to REJECT the CEC offer in mid-February does not mean a picket line–it means a better resolution for all.
We will send an undeniable message to the CEC, and the college presidents who direct them, that faculty issues must be taken seriously.
JP, Jonathan, Katie, Michelle, Ravi, Rebecca, and Shawn
For months, CAAT-A faculty have been bargaining for modest, realistic, but much-needed improvements to the College system. The CEC and the Colleges have refused to address these issues, resulting in our successful strike vote in December.
As we predicted, the CEC has called for a forced offer vote (likely to be scheduled sometime in February). The CEC's offer is virtually identical to the one faculty already rejected in December.
The CEC has bypassed the bargaining team and our negotiator and called for a forced offer vote—on an offer that again refuses to address faculty issues.
Nothing has changed from their last offer on November 23.
As a reminder, here’s what’s wrong with their offer:
it allows for contracting out of all faculty work and contains no protections for partial-load faculty, counsellors, librarians, or coordinators
it contains no changes to workload factors, which have remained unchanged since the ’80s
it does not acknowledge the need for faculty consent prior to the reuse or sale of their course materials
their proposed workload taskforce looks to expand two-tiering of faculty workload (including apprenticeship, aviation, academic upgrading, placements, and “other specialized programs”)
their proposed equity taskforce and roundtable on Truth and Reconciliation are all for show and do not guarantee any changes at all in the next three years and beyond
it contains no commitment to improved ability to bridge benefits for PL members, a group already without the same benefits as FT.
Faculty have already told the CEC that this offer isn’t good enough for us and our students. Apparently, we need to reinforce this message loudly and clearly. They can take a forced offer vote only once, and this is a further attempt by the CEC to force their position on faculty.
If, following the rejection of their forced offer, the CEC continues to refuse to bargain faculty demands, the faculty team will leave open the door to voluntary binding interest arbitration. The CEC could have chosen this path at any point to avoid further pressure on faculty and students.
Rejecting their offer takes away their last tool, and ensures that any final agreement will be better than this.
Vote to REJECT the employer’s offer. We are bargaining for better: time for our students, quality education for all.
JP, Jonathan, Katie, Michelle, Ravi, Rebecca, Shawn
CEC Forced Offer? Article from Local 244
Can Faculty be bought for trifling bonuses? We’ll soon find out. Did you notice that we just received our retroactive pay from the College Employer Council’s (CEC) imposed contract. That is less than $200 after taxes for fifteen weeks, to those at the highest pay step.
Look for the CEC to add a signing bonus to the one forced offer they are permitted to make over the heads of our union bargaining team (BT) directly to our membership; that’s you, that’s us. And look for that one-time offer to come as soon as today or this week, while they think we’re softened up by the retroactive pay.
They should know better, considering Ontario’s College Faculty chose to reject their forced offer after three weeks on the picket line in 2017. Rather than accept their menu of concessions, we were forced to stay on strike for two more weeks until the government legislated us back to work with binding arbitration. Work-to-Rule (W2R) is our new labour action strategy.
Seems like the CEC never anticipated we would counteract their bad faith bargaining by choosing a different strike strategy. Our new labour interruption action has us doing less harm to our students and to our bank accounts. And, there is the collateral value, never imagined by the CEC when they abandoned the bargaining table. They gave everyone a poignant purpose to see how our Standard Workload Form's (SWF) maximums measure up against our real weekly hours worked.
44 Hours In A 40 Hour Week?
The time limits on SWFs are set in stone during W2R. Some of you have written to ask if they should average times until they reach 44 hours; do a little more marking one week, less another. No, we never should, though most who are involved in the work they love, and know their managers have their back, work overtime without knowing it. There is a fine line between working to live and living to work when everyone respects your hard-earned contribution. Right now the CEC is stabbing us, and our collegial local managers, in the back.
So, no extra work during W2R. The CEC is hoping that more than 50% of us are not paying attention to how their unilateral action will erode our worklife, our calling, deliver less to our students’, our charges’ education. It’s time for some Faculty action; that’s where W2R is providing collateral value. Here’s some background knowledge worth keeping with you after W2R.
Fasten your barrister belts, we’re going forensic. Our legally assigned workload contracts, our SWFs, are based on maximums not averages. Case and point, our Collective Agreement (CA) says we work a maximum five eight-hour days in Articles,
11.01 K 2 Weekly contact hours assigned to a teacher by the College may be scheduled into fewer than five contact days and such compressed schedule shall be deemed to be five contact days.
11.01 L 1 The contact day shall not exceed eight hours from the beginning of the first assigned hour to the end of the last assigned hour
That’s a 40 hour week. Yet, our SWF does not go into overtime until we go over 44 hours a week. So how many can our managers assign, forty hours or forty-four hours? The extra four hours was a concession made in 1985 for those weeks when there is more to do, so that overtime pay does not often come into play. Forty-four hours was a maximum:
11.01 J 1 Such teaching contact hour agreed to in excess of the respective weekly teaching contact hour maximum shall be compensated at the rate of 0.1% of annual regular salary. Such workload hours agreed to in excess of the 44 hour weekly workload maximum shall be compensated at the rate of 0.1% of annual regular salary. Such overtime payments shall be for the greater amount but shall not be pyramided.
Everyone knew it was a forty-hour week; the full-time college classes were scheduled from nine to five! And the 1985 academic year had 32 weeks of teaching (two sixteen week semesters), there were four consecutive working non-teaching weeks for program planning and course development, eight professional development (DP) weeks minus public holidays, and eight vacation weeks.
11.01 B 1 Total workload assigned and attributed by the College to a teacher shall not exceed 44 hours in any week for up to 36 weeks
Now we teach 35 weeks a year, have seven disbursed non-teaching working weeks for program planning and course development, 2 PD weeks minus public holidays, and eight vacation weeks. Assigning maximums is the norm now; no doubt you have heard your AD say that they have been ordered to maximise SWFs. That’s how a small 1985 concession (first four hours on the rare heavy week, no overtime) manifests in 2022.
So, when our demands ask for an extra minute and a half a week to evaluate each student’s matriculation, there’s no time, we’re already maxed out. The college would have to reduce our course load, hire more teachers and raise Ontario’s post-secondary student expenditure so that we are no longer the lowest per student funding Canadian province in college training and retraining of its workforce!
The numbers in our CA are maximums not to be averaged. During W2R, any leeway would be like crossing a picket line, strike breaking.
Chers membres du CAAT-A:
Depuis des mois, les membres du personnel scolaire de la CAAT-A négocient pour obtenir des améliorations modestes, réalistes, mais indispensables au système collégial. Le CEC et les collèges ont refusé de traiter ces questions, ce qui a mené au succès de notre vote de grève en décembre.
Comme nous l'avions prédit, le CEC a demandé un vote forcé sur l'offre (qui devrait avoir lieu en février). L'offre du CEC est pratiquement identique à celle que le corps enseignant a déjà rejetée en décembre.
Le CEC a court-circuité l'équipe de négociation et notre négociateur et a appelé à un vote forcé sur une offre qui, une fois de plus, refuse d'aborder les problèmes du personnel scolaire.
Rien n'a changé depuis leur dernière offre du 23 novembre.
Pour rappel, voici ce qui ne va pas dans leur offre :
elle permet la sous-traitance de tout le travail du personnel scolaire et ne contient aucune protection pour les professeurs à charge partielle, les conseillers, les bibliothécaires ou les coordonnateurs.
elle ne contient aucun changement aux facteurs de la charge de travail, qui sont restés inchangés depuis les années 80
elle ne reconnaît pas la nécessité d'obtenir le consentement du corps professoral avant la réutilisation ou la vente de son matériel didactique
le groupe de travail sur la charge de travail qu'ils proposent cherche à étendre un système à deux niveaux de la charge de travail des professeurs (y compris l'apprentissage, l'aviation, le rattrapage scolaire, les placements et les " autres programmes spécialisés ")
le groupe de travail sur l'équité et la table ronde sur la vérité et la réconciliation qu'ils proposent ne sont que pour les apparences et ne garantissent aucun changement au cours des trois prochaines années et au-delà
il ne contient aucun engagement à améliorer la capacité pour étendre des avantages sociaux des membres à charge partielle–un groupe qui ne bénéficie déjà pas des mêmes avantages que les membres FT.
Les professeurs ont déjà dit à le CEC que cette offre n'est pas assez bonne pour nous et nos étudiants. Apparemment, nous devons renforcer ce message haut et fort. Ils ne peuvent voter une offre forcée qu'une seule fois, et ceci est une nouvelle tentative de le CEC d'imposer sa position au personnel scolaire.
Si, à la suite du rejet de leur offre forcée, le CEC continue de refuser de négocier les demandes du corps professoral, l'équipe professorale laissera la porte ouverte à un arbitrage d'intérêt volontaire et contraignant. Le CEC aurait pu choisir cette voie à n'importe quel moment pour éviter toute pression supplémentaire sur le corps professoral et les étudiants.
Le rejet de leur offre leur enlève leur dernier outil, et assure que toute entente finale sera meilleure que celle-ci.
Votez pour REJETER l'offre de l'employeur. Nous négocions pour mieux: du temps pour nos étudiants, une éducation de qualité pour tous.
En toute solidarité,
JP, Jonathan, Katie, Michelle, Ravi, Rebecca, Shawn.