Faculty Guide to respond to students’ questions

This document is not meant to instruct students. It is meant to assist union members if questions arise.  

Members are encouraged to direct all questions to the bargaining section of our website, opseu560.org/bargaining-2017, and to our divisions main website collegefaculty.org.  There is ample information at both of these websites to help inform students about the issues for this round of bargaining.

Here are some responses to common questions:

  1. Are faculty going on strike?

Faculty are in the bargaining process with the College Employer Council. Our goal is an on-time settlement that improves the quality of education for our students. We are still bargaining, and a strike is only an option if management continues to refuse to discuss faculty concerns.

  1. What do faculty want?

Faculty have tabled proposals seeking improvements to ensure quality education for students, including:

  • More full-time faculty teaching students. This is the only way to ensure students have access to professors inside and outside of class, to ensure that students have consistent professors who can act as references in getting jobs, and ensure there is stability in our programs to better deliver the learning to students.
  • Greater faculty and student input into academic decision making by creating a senate with student representatives as well as faculty representatives. This would address some of the poor decision making by managers who don’t understand our students, programs or the industries we are training students to join.
  • Provide job security for contract faculty. Currently, contract faculty need to reapply to teach every semester. They don’t know if they will have a job four months from now.
  • Improve pay equity and working conditions for contract faculty. Contract faculty are not paid to prepare, correct and offer out of class support to students. Most of them have to work several part-time jobs to make ends meet.
  1. What happens to my studies if there is a strike?

In the unlikely event of a strike, the college will develop a plan for students to complete their studies.  In the colleges’ 50 year history there have only been three strikes. Each lasted four weeks or less. No student lost their academic year.  

For specific information about what the colleges’ plans are, please direct your questions to your program’s Chair or Associate Dean.

  1. Is it true that faculty are seeking a major pay increase?

No. This round of bargaining is not about money. It is about improving the quality of the student experience.

We also want to ensure that there are enough counsellors and that mental health services are not outsourced, so colleges can adequately meet the increasing mental health needs of their students.

  1. Why did faculty vote for a strike?

No faculty member wants to strike. We would rather be in the classroom or in our respective services, doing what we do best. A strike vote is a tool that is used in bargaining to let the employer know that we are serious about issues that need to be addressed.

Some examples of what is at issue:

  • Faculty academic freedom and college senates will improve the quality and status of college diplomas and degrees, giving students more options for future study in Canada and abroad. Senates will also include students in academic-decision-making.
  • 81% of all teaching in Ontario colleges is now done by non-full-time faculty. This is unsustainable, and is hurting the quality of college education. The Faculty Bargaining Team is proposing a reasonable ratio of full-time to non-full-time within the system.
  • Non-full-time faculty are skilled and committed, but their working conditions make it hard for them to do everything they would like for students:
    • they don’t receive time for out-of-class student meetings o   they don’t receive time for faculty meetings
    • they don’t receive enough time for student feedback on assignments o   they are not given enough time to prepare their courses
    • they don’t know if they will have a job from semester to semester
    • they are often given courses at the last second, leaving no time to prepare
    • they have no job security, and can’t speak up to defend the quality of their courses
  1. Where can students get more information on faculty proposals?

Students can come to our website, opseu560.org, and can go to collegefaculty.org

  1. What can students do to support Faculty ?

They can contact their MPP: http://www.collegefaculty.org/call_mpp

They can also sign the quality education petition at  http://www.collegefaculty.org/petition