On November 1, Day 17 of the strike, the College Employer Council (CEC) finally announced that they were prepared to return to the bargaining table. While this was welcome news at the time, their actions since returning indicate that this was clearly a publicity stunt.
Today, instead of negotiating a fair settlement at the table, Council has called for a forced vote on an offer that largely peddles the same concessions that they have been pushing for months. Instead of addressing the core issues of fairness and quality, Council has put forward proposals that will have devastating negative consequences on the college system for generations to come. Council’s actions, in forcing a vote at this late date, are recklessly playing with student’s lives, and delaying any potential end to this strike.
Their forced offer vote:
- Attacks and undermines Article 2 by excluding part-time workloads from consideration in staffing grievances. It also doesn't allow locals to file staffing grievances that include workload data for the past few years. This will profoundly affect our capacity to get new full-time jobs.
- Establishes an Academic Freedom Letter of Understanding that is less than worthless and that will enshrine the same policies that have given rise to the problem. This is likely more harmful than no language at all.
- Undermines an agreed-to taskforce that the union proposed by including as key stakeholders parties that aren't bound by our Collective Agreement.
- Implements specific provisions that will help Council evade its obligations to contract faculty under Bill 148.
- Allows for unlimited overtime and teaching weeks. This allows faculty to be pressured into unlimited overtime, and also leads to fewer full-time hires and fewer contract faculty positions.
- Seeks to narrow the definition of professional development and increase management control over PD.
- Attacks the union's ability to have its members work for their union locals and on the bargaining team.
- Includes the same deeply flawed Return to Work protocol that saw over 1,400 unresolved grievances from the 2006 strike.
When they called for this vote, only one no-cost item remained: academic freedom, the right of faculty to make decisions in our classrooms. We had negotiated to eliminate all immediate monetary costs. We are .25% apart on salary. This offer takes us backwards not forwards.
This forced offer vote is unnecessary, harmful and will delay the end of the strike. We will be providing more information shortly, but we will need to stand strong and reject this offer.
The CAAT-Academic Bargaining Team