CAAT-A is the OPSEU division for Ontario college Partial Load Faculty, Full-time Faculty, Counsellors and Librarians.
The current contract for CAAT-A members expires at the end of September 2021. While the end of an old contract may seem stressful, it is part of the normal ebb and flow of our work lives and is an opportunity to improve job security, workload conditions, define roles, and more. Our contract is negotiated between our union (OPSEU) and the College Employer Council (CEC). It is important to know that bargaining follows a process. While the process does not guarantee an ideal outcome, it is a legal process and must be followed.
Negotiating the terms of a new contract takes nearly a year. Our negotiations started back in November with the Pre-Bargaining Conference and election of the Bargaining Team. You can learn more about the conference and the bargaining team here: slcfaculty.ca/pre-bargaining-conference
Demand-setting comes next. The new contract is an opportunity for improvement to the old one and the demands are, essentially, requests for improvement. Demand-setting is a four-month process. It started with a province-wide survey and meetings at the Local level, seeking to understand what matters to members. It will culminate between April and June with a set of demands, written as contract language, and the development of a bargaining agenda and strategy.
By July 2021, pre-bargaining work will have been going on for eight months, but Bargaining will only officially begin July 4 at the earliest, with the “Notice to Bargain.” Recently, the CEC asked OPSEU to accept a two-year renewal of the current contract. This was not an offer in the traditional, bargaining process sense of an offer, as bargaining had not yet begun. The CEC still does not yet know what is important to CAAT-A members and so how to improve its terms of employment. The offer of renewal of the current contract was not so much an offer as it was a move to circumvent the bargaining process. Rejecting offers at various stages of the bargaining process, including offers made before bargaining has officially begun, is not the same thing as a strike vote. It is process.
Bargaining will begin this summer and it will include the demands–the suggestions for improvement–that came from members. The Bargaining Team will represent members and their wishes. Visit slcfaculty.ca/bargaining for bargaining updates and news.