College faculty will vote Tuesday on an offer that could end strike
Faculty continue their picket in front of the Niagara-On-the-Lake campus of Niagara College Monday October 30, 2017. File photo
Now in their fifth week on the picket line, Ontario’s 12,000 striking college faculty members are gearing up for a vote that could stop the job action in its tracks.
The College Employer Council – which bargains on behalf of the province’s 24 public colleges – approached Ontario’s Labour Relations Board to bring its final offer to a vote with striking faculty members.
Bypassing the bargaining committee, the council is asking rank-and-file Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) faculty members to weigh in on the deal after talks broke down a week ago.
The electronic vote begins Tuesday at 9 a.m. and will run until Thursday. OPSEU is urging its members to vote against the council's proposal.
Even so, 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.
Here are some highlights of the council’s final offer:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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