By: Brett McGarry
Negotiators for the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) rejected a settlement offer earlier today by the College Employers Council.
In response, the Ontario Labour Relations Board has been asked to schedule a faculty vote on the settlement offer and to suspend the strike while the vote is arranged. It is expected that the vote could take five to 10 days to organize.
“Rather than continue to bargain, the colleges have called a vote that, in itself, could easily keep faculty and students out of their classrooms for another two weeks,” said JP Hornick, CAAT-A bargaining leader.
The colleges bargaining team have a response of their own.
“OPSEU insistence on continuing the strike is a terrible outcome for students and faculty. we addressed all faculty priorities and the off that is available right now on the table should have ended the strike,” said Sonia Del Missier, the chair of the college’s bargaining team. “An employer vote is never the preferred path because a settlement should be reached at the bargaining table but we have exhausted all efforts at the bargaining table and now faculty will decide.”
According to a memo by the CAAT-Academic Bargaining Team, the new vote is considered “forced” and is a step backwards.
The memo also included a response to the rejected settlement. The CAAT-A bargaining team claims the settlement offer establishes an Academic Freedom Letter of Understanding that is “less than worthless”, allows for unlimited overtime and teaching weeks, includes “deeply flawed” Return to Work protocol, undermines an areed-to task force to solve precarious work issues among other things.
The 19-page document of the offer put forward by the colleges can be found on the front page of the College Employer Council’s website.
Here are some reactions on twitter to the most recent offer:
Most notably from RM Kennedy, Chair of the College Academic Division of OPSEU
Instead of negotiating, Council forces a vote on their concessions deal and sets strike end back by days. #collegestrike
— RM Kennedy (@RM_Kennedy) November 6, 2017
— Yes Im still faculty (@Elarem60) November 6, 2017
— Derrick Hempel (@DerrickHempel) November 6, 2017
— Cambrian 655 (@Local_655) November 6, 2017
— #StandWithFaculty (@StandWithFac) November 6, 2017
As of now classes remain suspended as the strike enters it’s fourth week today. The strike began Oct. 16.
Updates will be posted as they happen.