Mid-July Update on Negotiations

On a regular basis, your provincial union bargaining team communicates with all 24 Ontario college locals through conference calls.  The purpose of these calls is to update the membership on progress in bargaining and also to gain feedback from union reps in the 24 college locals.

An update was recently held with the 24 college communications officers, and three developments were noted:  first, our provincial team’s pro-active approach to bringing forth our concerns;  second, our team’s positive tone in negotiations;  and third, an update on monetary concerns.

Our bargaining team has been meeting regularly with management negotiators, and as of today, ten formal bargaining meetings have occurred.  Some results of these meetings are as follows:

First, for this round of bargaining, our team has been more pro-active in putting concerns before management representatives at the table.  Positive changes are needed to address challenges in the college system including privatization, contract teaching (including massive growth in Partial Load and part time), management’s claims of ownership of our teaching materials, hybrid and on-line teaching.  An example of our team’s approach is its discussion of a clearer recognition of intellectual property/copyright in our collective agreement.  A second example is our team’s discussion of the need to formally protect professors’ control over the classroom and student evaluation methods.

Second, our bargaining team is attempting to create a positive, problem-solving approach.  Everyone is aware of the financial constraints on the current provincial government:  as a result, our bargaining team is willing to listen to proposals that can be beneficial to management and the union alike.  Ideas coming from management representatives are being received in a positive light in order to maintain a positive, collegial and trustworthy environment.  Although talks are proceeding somewhat slowly, the tone of discussion is positive and respectful.

Third, monetary issues (salary) have NOT yet been addressed at the table.  Out team expects that management negotiators will present a monetary proposal in late August.  As soon as it is presented, members will be notified.

Finally, the strike vote is scheduled for August 28.  Again, it needs to be stressed that an “imposed” contract could be presented in September when our current collective agreement expires, necessitating a vote before that date.  Updated information regarding the vote will be forthcoming.