As you may be aware of by now, a forced offer vote will be held online from 9 am on February 15th to 3 pm on February 17th. You are being asked to vote on the last offer presented by the College Employer Council (CEC), which is virtually unchanged from its November 23rd offer. Faculty have already rejected this with the strike mandate we handed down in December.
The upcoming vote is a critical one that will have both short- and long-term consequences on collective bargaining in the college sector.
In the short-term, voting to REJECT means that we will end up with a new collective agreement that is better than what the CEC is presently offering. The CEC offer does not meaningfully address faculty demands around key issues:
- more time for students,
- partial-load job security,
- preventing contracting out, to protect the work of counsellors, librarians and all other faculty,
- faculty consent for how the colleges use our course materials,
- equity and decolonization.
Once we reject this offer, the CEC will have no tactics left to avoid bargaining faculty issues.
For the second consecutive round of bargaining, the CEC has demonstrated little willingness to negotiate our demands, and instead continues to stoke fear of a full strike and threats of reprisal to try and divide faculty. After a five-week long strike in 2017 that resulted in significant gains for college faculty (e.g., academic freedom, increased seniority rights for partial-load members, and the creation of new full-time positions by removing a moratorium on Article 2 grievances), the CEC gambled this round that faculty would not stand together again, even after experiencing significant changes to our working conditions over the past four years.
But we are, and we are telling them that their strategy isn’t working for faculty. Let’s continue to prove them wrong – not just for our own good but for that of our students.
If the CEC is successful in having faculty accept their offer, there will be no incentive for them going forward to change their negotiation strategy of delay, defer, deny, and do nothing.
Why would they change their approach if it works for them this time? Taking a forced offer vote–rather than negotiating or agreeing to faculty’s offer to refer unresolved issues to voluntary binding interest arbitration–demonstrates little respect for faculty. If the CEC can routinely avoid negotiating in good faith, our needs and the needs of our students will not be met and our system will suffer as a result.
Voting to REJECT the CEC offer in mid-February does not mean a picket line–it means a better resolution for all.
We will send an undeniable message to the CEC, and the college presidents who direct them, that faculty issues must be taken seriously.
JP, Jonathan, Katie, Michelle, Ravi, Rebecca, and Shawn