College Bargaining Team responds to Union Statements

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The College Bargaining Team today released a series of statements made by OPSEU Academic about their proposals and the views of the college system.

“From the start of bargaining, we have been clear to the union that its proposals are not the basis for a settlement. The union’s proposals would eliminate 4,280 contract faculty jobs, increase costs by $400 million annually, change the governance of colleges, and restrict the colleges from overseeing academic delivery,” said Sonia Del Missier, Chair of the Colleges’ Bargaining Team.

The following are a series of OPSEU’s public statements and the colleges’ responses:

1.    “[The strike vote] means more power to negotiate fair wages, and fair treatment, for contract faculty…” – OPSEU Bargaining Update, Sept. 12, 2017

The union’s proposal on staffing ratios means that 7,120 contract faculty positions will be lost with only 2,840 new full-time faculty positions gained – a net reduction of 4,280 contract faculty jobs.

2.    “Management believes that faculty can be bought off with a bit of money…”

– JP Hornick, Chair, OPSEU CAAT Academic Bargaining Team, Niagara Advance Interview, Sept. 15, 2017

The colleges are investing in faculty with an offer of 7.5% over four years, a new maximum of $115,094, a lump sum payment, benefit enhancements, and no concessions. The colleges have been clear that the union’s proposals are not the basis for settlement.

3.    “Money is not the issue.” – Smokey Thomas, OPSEU President, CP24 Interview, Sept. 14, 2017

The union has proposed a wage increase of more than 10% over three years – 2.25% per year plus a new step in the salary grid.

4.    “Ontario’s college system is broken.” – OPSEU Bargaining Update, Sept. 12, 2017

83% of 2015-16 graduates in the labour force were working six months after graduation.

91% of employers who hired 2015-16 college graduates are very satisfied / satisfied.

87% of college students are very satisfied / satisfied that their program is giving them knowledge and skills that will be useful in their future career.

*Source: Key Performance Indicators, Colleges Ontario, April 2017

5.    “Faculty are excluded from it [academic decision-making].” – JP Hornick, Newstalk 610 Interview, Sept. 15, 2017

Faculty are critical to academic decision making and are active in program development, curriculum design, setting learning outcomes, evaluation, and program review.

6.    “… faculty don’t have the same ability that our colleagues in university do, to actually control the quality of education.” – Kevin MacKay, OPSEU CAAT Academic Bargaining Team Member, Barrie Examiner, July 12, 2017

Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology are required to comply with provincial standards on learning outcomes, requirements of accreditation bodies, program advisory committee recommendations, and provide consistent, province-wide outcomes within programs. Faculty members contribute to but cannot control academic decision making.

7.    “But faculty cannot accept a contract like the one the colleges are trying to sell us now.” – OPSEU Bargaining Update, Sept. 12, 2017

The colleges’ offer is in line with recent settlements by public servants, teachers and college support staff.

8.    “… teaching in our colleges is done by exploited, underpaid contract faculty.”

– OPSEU Bargaining Update, Sept. 15, 2017

Partial-load contract faculty earn an average of $104 per hour.

Part-time contract faculty and sessional instructors earn an average of $60 and $62 per hour respectively.

9.    “Underpaid, insecure contract work is everywhere – nowhere more so than in the colleges.” – OPSEU Bargaining Update, Sept. 12, 2017

More than 1,000 faculty positions – 527 full-time and 556 partial-load –  have been added since 2010.

“The colleges remain committed to achieving a negotiated settlement, which is fair to our faculty while being affordable and responsible for the colleges. But we need practical proposals from the union to be successful,” said Ms. Del Missier.