What the Employer is Actually Saying

| 10/08/2017

You have read what they wrote, now read what they are actually saying:

The Question

The Employer’s Answer

The Truth

1.  Why [is the employer] making this offer to college faculty?

“The colleges considered it only fair to provide the same opportunity to its faculty as other public sector unions have received.”

It is not a fair offer.

It completely ignores the concerns raised by union members.

2.     Why is the offer structured as an extension?

“The offer is in line with recent public sector extension settlements for college support staff employees, the Ontario Public Service, teachers, and education workers.”

The employer does not arbitrarily get to choose our comparator groups; they were established by an arbitrator three decades ago. 

The employer wants to call the offer an “extension” because they do not want to change anything substantial about the status quo, which leaves faculty without meaningful authority.

3.     Why is the offer time limited?

“The colleges want a timely settlement to ensure continued stability for its faculty, students and employees. The offer remains open while the OPSEU team deliberates and hears from its members.”

If the employer truly wanted a timely settlement, they would be at the bargaining table and negotiating our membership’s demands, rather than dismissing them.

4.     Why are you putting out the terms of the offer? Isn’t that bargaining in public?

“OPSEU sent out very detailed and lengthy documents but did not provide any information to its members about the 7.5% increase, the new maximum of $115,094, and other benefits with no concessions. We felt it very important to get the information out to faculty.”

The bargaining team has shown more transparency with its members than ever before, and is fully empowered to put forward our demands. They are under no obligation to promote offers that disregard the members’ demands.

5.     What are next steps?

“The Colleges’ Bargaining Team urged OPSEU to allow its members to vote on the offer of settlement rather than hold a strike vote. The parties will be back at the table on August 22.”

The employer needs to come to the table and bargain in good faith.  None of the members’ concerns around partial-load job security, academic freedom, collegial governance, or workload have yet been addressed.

6.     Why is OPSEU refusing to hold a vote on the offer?

“We can’t speak for OPSEU. OPSEU advised it intended to hold a strike vote on September 14, 2017. The union has not responded to the offer of settlement on the table.”

OSPEU should not hold votes on offers the bargaining team rejects. If the employer believes this is a great offer, they can and should bring it directly to the membership for a final offer vote in September.

7.     Isn’t a strike vote just a normal part of bargaining?

“A strike vote is setting the faculty on a path toward a strike. We want to avert a strike that would disrupt our students, which is one of the reasons we made this early offer of settlement.”

A strong strike vote from the membership sends the employer a message that we are united in negotiating our collective demands.  Without it, the employer will continue to disregard our demands.

8.     How do you answer the charge by OPSEU that management has refused to discuss its priority issues?

“The Colleges’ Bargaining Team has been very clear that it does not consider many of the Union’s proposals matters with which it can agree.”

In other words, only a strong strike vote from the membership will motivate the employer to seriously consider our demands.

9.     Why are the colleges refusing to bargain on the issue of senates?

“Legislation makes college boards of governors responsible for governance of the colleges. Governance is not an issue that is appropriate to address at a bargaining table which deals with terms of employment.”

Sheridan College (and virtually all Universities) have both a Board of Governors and an Academic Senate. Additionally, management governance is already a negotiated item in our Collective Agreement.

10. Why are the colleges refusing to bargain on the issue of academic freedom?

“Colleges have established their own academic freedom policies based on their distinct cultures. We don’t believe that a single policy on academic freedom in a central collective agreement can be responsive to those differences among the colleges.”

If collective bargaining is suitable for workload and salary, then it is suitable here as well. The employer simply refuses to bargain members’ concerns around academic freedom, intellectual property, and collegial governance.

11. Where can faculty find more information?

The colleges’ offer of settlement has been posted at www.thecouncil.on.ca Faculty can also speak with their union representative.

Please do speak with your stewards and officers.  Also, catch up on bargaining news here


Tags: , , ,

Category: Negotiations

Comments are closed.