Faculty union representatives reject settlement

by | Sep 18, 2014 | News

HumberEntrance

Humber College front entrance.

By Jessica Laws

Faculty from colleges across Ontario will be voting next Tuesday to accept or reject a tentative agreement proposed by the Ontario Public Service Employment Union.

The faculty union representatives from Humber and five other colleges say they do not support the settlement and have also sent out statements.

The tentative agreement claims refined language, improved job security, academic freedoms and guarantees a foundation for students and education.

Michaud explains that there are two teams that get together to do the actual bargaining, a faculty side and a management side.

Main concerns not supported by the faculty union representatives are:

  • More guarantees to partial-load employees, which includes job security. A partial-load employee is someone who teaches between seven to 12 hours a week.

Partial-load employees “are here for a limited amount of time which I think really shows up for students because often these people are not around. Many of them are actually working at other colleges or doing more than one job to be able to live in the GTA,” Michaud said.

  • The salary increase that the union is offering is 1.2 per cent whereas the Bank of Canada lists that inflation over the last 12 months is at 2.1 per cent.

That would make college teachers in the pay bracket lower than some high-end high school teachers informed Michaud.

  • Where Universities have academic freedoms, colleges are subject to more control by management.
  • Although most professors have control, management has the choice to override faculty decisions

“We’ve been arguing for a form of academic freedom, which is really more around classroom control,” said Michaud.

Even with the possibility of a “no” vote, Michaud said, “I’m fairly optimistic that if they went back to bargaining that some change would happen…they are going to bargain because they don’t want it to fall apart.”

“The college faculty bargaining team is advising the members to vote ‘yes’ to ratify the tentative agreement, and believe it was the best outcome available at the bargaining table,” said Emily Visser, Communications Officer at OPSEU in an email.

Visser believes the agreement will best preserve the quality of education.

However, with the need of a 51 per cent majority vote nothing is certain.

“Ratification is done by a democratic vote, and the members will decide on the outcome,” said Visser.