Well... the CEC decided to try to set up an endrun today by distributing a letter to Smokey (OPSEU president) and JP (chair of negotiating team) with an offer to our negotiating team to the college faculty through their HR departments 5 minutes after sending it to the negotiating team. They are allegedly agreeing to what they are calling binding arbitration in the title, but go on to refer to as 'final offer selection', (read their proposal here) needless to say these words matter. There will be more information coming from the bargaining team as they sort out all the details, but here is their first very early response to this 'proposal'.
You have likely received a new update from the CEC, in which they “agree” to arbitration. While the faculty bargaining team will look carefully at their offer tonight and tomorrow, we should caution you that their offer is not what it appears to be on the surface, and clarify that the CEC is not agreeing to a proposal made by the faculty Bargaining Team.
Specifically, the CEC is proposing “final offer selection”--a process by which means an arbitrator would be forced to choose one offer or the other in its entirety. This is different from the more common practice of “interest arbitration” (which the faculty team had explicitly offered at the bargaining table), where arbitrators select which parts of each offer they believe are the most appropriate.
We also note that your bargaining team received this proposal only minutes before it was distributed publicly through College e-mail and the CEC website. We regret that the CEC is choosing to bargain in public in this way, and we feel that it is not conducive to a productive bargaining relationship.
You have also recently received communication from the College Employer Council (CEC) regarding their revised (not final) offer, which was sent by email to the faculty team at 4:40pm on Tuesday, November 23. In both this communication and today’s, the CEC has proposed no further bargaining dates.
Attached, you will find a presentation that includes a comparison of the two offers -- including the areas where they agree -- as well as a clear infographic about what’s happening now, and what you can do to help.
To be clear:
- The faculty team has offered to go to voluntary binding interest arbitration to avoid labour disruption. Despite the impression they tried to present in their latest announcement, the CEC team still has not agreed to this.
- The CEC’s current offer does not address faculty needs with regard to workload, partial-load issues, contracting out faculty work, use of faculty materials, online learning, equity, Indigeneity, Decolonization and TRC, and the counsellor class definition. Our current offer contains reasonable, lawful, and low- and no-cost proposals which the CEC refuses to bargain.
- The CEC has posted their latest offer and response publicly, and circulated it to faculty directly without first discussing it at the bargaining table.
The faculty team has reached out to the conciliator to invite the CEC team back to the table, to determine whether the CEC team is prepared to continue bargaining or to agree to binding interest arbitration.
Below are some quick answers to common questions faculty have raised about a strike mandate:
Does a successful strike vote mean there will be a full strike?
Despite the CEC’s assertions, the simple answer is no.
A strong strike mandate indicates to the employer that faculty are serious about their demands, and about their willingness to take action to support them.
The faculty team has planned an escalating campaign of labour and other actions to build pressure on the employer, and to be able to respond to attempts by the CEC to impose terms and conditions.
Will we be on strike over the holiday break?
When will the team call a strike?
The faculty team will not call a strike over the holiday break. In fact, the faculty team has planned an escalating work-to-rule and labour action campaign to build pressure on the employer and avoid a strike.
What would a strike look like now?
It's not about walking around (mostly empty) buildings with signs: it's about recognizing that our collective power comes from the work that we do. Withholding that work (in various forms) is what will force the employer to recognize its value.
Questions you should ask your College President and the CEC team:
- Why won’t the CEC team agree to voluntary binding interest arbitration to settle outstanding issues and avoid labour disruption? As a college president, will you tell the CEC team to either bargain faculty’s key demands or agree to send outstanding issues to binding interest arbitration?
- If the CEC’s offer is fair and reasonable and represents the best they can do this round, why won’t they call a final offer vote?
- This is something only the CEC team can do, and the results would tell them exactly what faculty think of their offer.
- Why won’t the CEC team tell faculty whether or not they plan to impose terms and conditions and what those terms will be?
Again, we encourage you to read the attached presentation and infographic, to better understand the current bargaining situation, and to get a clear sense of each side’s offer. We look forward to communicating more shortly, once we have had an opportunity to carefully consider the CEC’s latest proposal, as we are similarly reviewing their latest proposed Offer of Settlement.
Your Faculty Bargaining Team,
JP, Jonathan, Katie, Michelle, Ravi, Rebecca, and Shawn