OPSEU rejects council’s renewed offer after bargaining discussions break down

Photo by Chad Bush

On Nov. 6, 2017, bargaining talks between The Ontario Public Service Union (OPSEU) and the College Employer Council (CEC) broke down.

Both parties had returned to the bargaining table on Nov. 1, almost three weeks since their last talks and when the strike first began on Oct. 16.

The union represents more than 12,000 faculty members.

According to a statement released by the CEC, the union refused to accept a renewed offer which, CEC alleges, addressed many of the unions priorities and concerns, including increased pay, enhancing full-time employment for contract faculty, more academic freedom, better job security, amongst other factors.

However, the Union continues to claim that the prevalent issue surrounding precarious work has yet to be addressed to their satisfaction.

The unions refusal to accept the offer stonewalled the bargaining process early Monday afternoon.

“OPSEU’s insistence on continuing the strike is a terrible outcome for students and faculty,” Sonia Del Missier, chair of the CEC bargaining team, said in a statement. “We addressed all faculty priorities and the offer that is available for faculty right now  on the table  should have ended this strike.”

In a statement sent out by the union on Monday, OPSEU called the CEC’s wish to return to the bargaining table a “public stunt.”

The union claimed that the CEC is forcing a vote upon college faculty despite the fact that they are merely offering the same concessions which they have been for months.

The college confirmed late last week that the fall semester would be extended a full week later in order to full complete the academic semester and fulfill program requirements.

The CEC announced on the same day that they have asked the Ontario Labour Relations Board to schedule a vote based on the colleges’ latest offer, despite the Union’s recommendation to say no to the deal currently being offered.

“It is nothing short of outrageous that the colleges have refused to continue bargaining and have instead called for a vote on their final offer, which contains serious concessions,” JP Hornick, chair of the faculty bargaining team for OPSEU, said in a statement.

“Until yesterday, we thought we were very close to a deal. Today, it turns out, they’ve pushed us farther apart.”

The Labour Board has determined a date for the faculty vote which is set to start Nov. 14 and continue for approximately three days.

The college team requested that the strike be suspended during the voting period in order to get students back into classes; however, OPSEU has opted to continue their strike efforts until after the voting has been completed.

“An employer vote is never a preferred path, because a settlement should be reached at the bargaining table. But we have exhausted all efforts at the bargaining table and now our faculty will decide,” Del Missier said in a statement.

Students at Conestoga College, who have been out of class for over three weeks, will now have an extended semester.

The college confirmed late last week that the fall semester would be extended a full week later in order to full complete the academic semester and fulfill program requirements.

This story was edited on Nov. 8 at 12:03 p.m.

One Comment

  1. This article is out-of-date and inaccurate. Both sides were back at table Nov 6 late afternoon, in spite of the fact this article is posted Nov 8 at 7 AM, though dated Nov 6, 2017. The dates for the vote were also published yesterday.

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