For breaking news and updates, please visit the SLC Faculty archive.
November 2022 Update:
CEC Interference Forces New Round of Arbitration
Dear College Faculty Members,
Arbitrator William Kaplan issued an award on September 23rd, 2022, which resulted in a new Collective Agreement (CA) with significant improvements for our members. Most of that CA became effective immediately on the date of Kaplan’s award. There has been one key outstanding issue and a resolution has, unfortunately, not come easily. The College Employer Council (CEC) has intentionally delayed providing the Union with essential information related to our benefits and the potential impact of a 1% increase in compensation upon them. This interference has delayed the completion, signing, and distribution of the CA to our members. Most importantly, it has delayed the start of key components awarded in the CA, such as the Workload Task Force and the determination of the Indigenous Knowledge Definition.
Under the Ford government’s Bill 124, increases to total compensation – which includes both wages and benefits – have been capped at 1% per year for three years (known as the “moderation period”). The difference between total compensation and our legislated wage increases is known as the remainder. In short, the amount of the remainder determines any increases to our benefits.
Starting in July of 2021, we asked the CEC repeatedly for their detailed costing of the remainder amount. They eventually provided limited information and claimed that there was only enough to provide our members with up to $4000 per year of medical cannabis, although members’ ability to use this benefit came with significant restrictions. Subsequently, we obtained our own costing of the remainder from an expert in this area, Professor Robert Hickey at Queen’s University. Professor Hickey uncovered significant differences between the CEC’s costing and his own costing of the remainder.
A key difference is that the CEC did not believe that statutory benefits, such as Employment Insurance (EI), Canada Pension Plan (CPP), and Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), should be included in the calculation of the remainder whereas Professor Hickey believed that they should. Professor Hickey’s costing analysis revealed that the remainder should be more than twice the amount that the CEC had been claiming.
As we have been unable to resolve this issue with the CEC and have experienced repeated delays due to the CEC’s not providing essential information, we asked Arbitrator Kaplan to rule on this unresolved remainder issue in a brief hearing on November 18th, 2022. Arbitrator Kaplan issued a ruling on November 21st (see the attached award) in the Union’s favour. Arbitrator Kaplan further recognized the urgency in resolving this matter “so that the available monies can be allocated to the benefit of the bargaining unit.”
During the demand-set process in early 2021, our membership prioritized two improvements to our benefits: medical cannabis and dental implants. It is our hope that we can gain improvements to our dental coverage as a result of this latest award from Kaplan.
We expect to provide a further update and information about improvements to our benefits soon. This round of collective bargaining has already lasted almost a year and a half, and our next round will begin in a little over a year and a half. By standing together in solidarity, we have been able to make key gains, despite both the intransigence of the CEC and the significant impediments to free and fair collective bargaining which the Ford government has imposed .
Your CAAT-A Bargaining Team
Kaplan Bargaining Award Decision Published
This was another historic round of bargaining for CAAT-A. Our most recent round of collective bargaining lasted 15 months, was severely constrained by Bill 124, and occurred in the midst of the Covid-19 global pandemic. CAAT-A members voted in favour of a strike and then against a forced offer by the Employer. As a union we also responded to the Employer’s Imposition of Terms and Conditions of Employment with the largest work-to-rule action in the history of Canadian postsecondary institutions. The Union and Employer entered binding arbitration (under media blackout) resulting the Kaplan Bargaining Award that was released Friday, September 23, 2022.
This settlement was ultimately achieved with no disruption to classes, and with no loss of pay. By fighting for our demands and refusing to back down, we managed to make significant gains with no concessions. In so doing, we achieved greater gains than most (if not all) other faculty unions in Ontario and other provinces who negotiated Collective Agreements during the pandemic, including some that did go on strike. We all have reason to take tremendous pride in our collective accomplishment.
December 2021 Update:
College faculty bargaining team invites faculty to provincewide update meetings
The CAAT-A Bargaining Team will be holding two faculty meetings via Zoom (December 7 and 8) to provide an update on bargaining and the upcoming strike mandate vote. This is an excellent opportunity for members to hear the latest news and answers to their questions. Both meetings are open to all members, although the meeting on December 7 will focus on partial-load issues.
Pre-registration is required. Please register for the meeting(s) using your private (non-college) email:
- Partial-Load faculty meeting
Tuesday, December 7, 2021, 6.30 – 8 p.m.
Click here for webinar registration.
- Province-wide faculty meeting
Wednesday, December 8, 2021, 6.30 – 8 p.m.
Click here for webinar registration.
Upon registration, you will immediately receive a confirmation email with the actual meeting link. French translation will be available for both meetings.
Don’t miss this valuable opportunity to chat with the Team as we continue #BargainingForBetter.
November 16th, 2021 Update:
Find an overview of the comparisons between the current offers of settlement here.
November 2021 Update:
It was a pleasure to meet last night with over 1,500 members at our Provincewide Bargaining Update. It was our first chance to provide an update and talk with members after several weeks of mediation and bargaining and we welcomed the chance to field member questions.
The meeting occurred following the mutually-agreed scheduled ending of a communications blackout during this week’s negotiations between the teams. The faculty bargaining team has also proposed three additional dates for negotiations next week, and we hope to build upon the momentum of this week, which saw both teams table new offers. The team has yet to meet with or hear from the Ministry of Labour-appointed conciliator requested by the CEC team, and has not received a request from the conciliator to continue a blackout.
Attached, please find our latest offer of settlement, on behalf of faculty. It represents many significant compromises from the last offer that we made available to you. While these compromises were very difficult for us to arrive at, they represented our best effort to achieve a settlement at the table, without abandoning the priorities that faculty tasked us with negotiating. These priorities include workload (including work associated with online teaching), Partial-Load, Equity and Indigenization, and the Counsellor class definition. While Bill 124 has limited our ability to negotiate salary and benefits, both parties’ offers currently have language that would see our compensation negotiations reopened in the event that Bill 124 is overturned or replaced.
Despite any compromises, however, we believe that this offer maintains our principles, enhances stability in the college system, and provides a balance between modest short-term changes that faculty need immediately in workload, coupled with proposals that would create bipartisan structures for researching and effecting long-term structural changes needed in the system: to workload; to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity; and to Indigenization, Decolonization, and Truth & Reconciliation.
In short, the faculty proposal maintains that some immediate changes are needed, and longer-term changes will require careful consideration and research. It also maintains that this round of bargaining is an appropriate place to establish a strong framework for that future work, to ensure that it actually produces concrete results.
We have also attached a summary chart challenging some of the claims made by the CEC team in regard to our proposals. We hope you find it helpful, and will keep you updated on any developments. If you haven’t already, make sure that your Local has your non-college contact information to ensure you are able to receive those updates.
In the meantime, here’s how you can show your support:
- Download your very own CAAT-A Zoom background
- Add union content to your photo on your College’s LMS
- Subscribe to your Local’s and CAAT-A’s Social Media
- FB: https://www.facebook.com/OntarioCollegeFaculty
- IG: @CAATAbargaining
- Twitter @CAATfaculty
- Actively involve yourself in your employer’s social media campaigns, using their hashtags and introducing bargaining issues (e.g., #CentennialFam, #ExperienceGeorgian, #LaCitéEnsemble)
JP, Jonathan, Katie, Michelle, Ravi, Rebecca, Shawn
October 2021 Update:
It is with great disappointment and frustration that we report to you that mediation has failed. Click the following links to see the final report of the mediator, along with the offer of settlement we tabled during mediation.
We absolutely disagree with the finding of the mediator’s report, most of which paints the faculty bargaining team as recalcitrant and unreasonable, as well as unwilling to negotiate realistic changes to our Collective Agreement. As you will see in the offer of settlement, your faculty team focused our demands on workload, partial-load working conditions, equity, Indigenization, and intellectual property rights; in other words, the top demands of faculty. We stripped our initial proposals down to their bare bones in order to try and start a dialogue with the CEC team. We responded to their questions, provided research, incorporated their language and structures into our revised proposals. We were repeatedly told by the CEC team that their offer of settlement was the only path to a negotiated agreement.
While Mediator Keller was suggested by our bargaining agent, OPSEU, and we did consent, as a team we have great concern with the way in which the process of mediation unfolded. In particular, we believe Mediator Keller’s conclusions about the proposals were arrived at on the basis of very little direct communication with the faculty bargaining team, and even less understanding of the process by which the faculty team arrived at its proposals, nor the urgent needs of our members that they attempt to address.
Realistically, Mediator Keller’s position reflects that of the CEC and is a classic approach to collective bargaining: that the only changes possible in any round of negotiations are minor and few in number. Our team’s approach to bargaining is that attempting to negotiate greater changes is possible and necessary. It is our opinion that it is realistic and appropriate to bargain for all work to be paid work; for partial-load faculty to have that work recognized and appropriately compensated; that evaluation and preparation factors that have not changed in 30+ years need to be adjusted; that mode of delivery affects faculty workload; and that Counsellors, Librarians, Indigenous faculty and faculty from equity-seeking groups deserve fair working conditions now.
We also know that faculty having intellectual property rights has NOT prevented innovation or research in the university sector, and would not do so here.
We also know that the CEC’s offer of settlement is not enough for faculty, nor will it prevent the ongoing and accelerating erosion of full-time faculty work in the colleges.
We invite you to read our offer of settlement, along with the mediator’s report, and will set up time to consult with the Local Presidents and Bargaining Advisory Committee as soon as possible. We also promise to continue to bargain and fight for the improvements you need and deserve.
JP, Jonathan, Katie, Michelle, Ravi, Rebecca, and Shawn
Faculty Notes on Management Settlement Offer
This attachment contains a comprehensive review of the language the CEC team has proposed. Please note that this settlement offer does not address any of faculty’s top demands, but does, however, contain a number of additional concessions. This offer exemplifies the distance remaining between the CEC proposals and our own. It is why we have proposed voluntary mediation with no additional escalation as the path forward to settlement, which is dependent upon both parties’ consent.
Bargaining Update – Faculty Proposals – Partial Load
Bargaining Update – Faculty Proposals – Workload
Bargaining Update – Faculty Proposals – Equity
Bargaining Update – Faculty Proposals – Class Definitions
Bargaining Update – Union Proposals – Academic Freedom, Intellectual Property,
& Academic Councils
Bargaining Update – Faculty Proposals – Staffing
Bargaining Update – Faculty Proposals – Outside Work
Bargaining Update – Faculty Proposals – Joint Committee Work
Bargaining Update – Faculty Proposals – Coordinators
Bargaining Update – Opening Statements & Summary of Initial Proposals
Bargaining Update – College Employer Council Early Offer Rejected
2021 BARGAINING TEAM:
Contact the 2021 Bargaining Team at firstname.lastname@example.org
JP Hornick, Local 556 (George Brown) – chair
Jonathan Singer, Local 560 (Seneca) – vice-chair
Ravi Ramkissoonsingh, Local 242 (Niagara)
Rebecca Ward, Local 732 (Confederation)
Kathleen Flynn, Local 354 (Durham)
Shawn Pentecost, Local 415 (Algonquin)
Michelle Arbour, Local 125 (Lambton)
Karen Weisbaum, Local 417 (St. Lawrence)
Frank Yee, Local 560 (Seneca)
Read more about the Pre-Bargaining Conference and election of the bargaining team members HERE.
St. Lawrence College Local Bargaining Advisory Committee members: