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President’s Report, October 2019

Today you may have heard that Part-Time and Sessional employees at Centennial College received an email announcing that their wage increase for Oct 2019 was being cancelled. This move is mean-spirited, an attack on their professionalism, and an insult to the hard work & energy they give to the College every single day. And it's just plain wrong. Let me state OPSEU's position perfectly clearly: there’s absolutely no language in the Colleges Collective Bargaining Act that prevents Centennial from increasing Part-Time and Sessional wages. As the College knows well, the Act states that during a union certification process, the terms and conditions of employment binding on the College Employer Council, the employer, the union or the employees shall not be altered unless there's an agreement between the Council and the union. Not surprisingly, neither Centennial nor the Council has asked OPSEU if it would consent to granting a wage increase. (Spoiler alert: we'd be happy to consent.) In fact, in OPSEU’s view, not increasing Part-Time and Sessional wages is itself an "alteration" of the terms and conditions of employment. This is because it violates Centennial’s well-established past practice of linking Part-Time and Sessional wage increases to Partial Load wage increases. For the benefit of Centennial’s HR department, here’s a history lesson: Centennial has increased wages for Part-Time and Sessional employees continuously since 2015. Many of you will remember past-President Ann Buller’s announcement in Feb 2015 that Part-Time and Sessional wage rates would be set as a percentage of Partial Load wage rates. They’ve moved in tandem with Partial Load rates ever since. In fact, on Oct 1, 2018 - just a little over a year ago - Centennial increased wages for Part-Time and Sessional

President’s Report, October 20192020-01-11T17:12:09+00:00

The Faculty Voice Volume 2 Issue 1

The Faculty Voice Volume 2, Issue 1 October, 2018 Download the complete newsletter The Faculty Voice is the official publication of the OPSEU CAAT Academic Division, which includes professors, instructors, counsellors, and librarians who work in Ontario's public colleges. Email: divexcaata@gmail.com Twitter: @caatfaculty Facebook: @OntarioCollegeFaculty The Faculty Voice is written and assembled by the Divisional Executive (DivEx) with the assistance of our members and OPSEU staff. RM Kennedy, Chair Martin Devitt, Vice Chair Heather Giardine-Tuck JP Hornick Pearline Lung Marking the anniversary of our historic gains A message from your Divisional Executive by RM Kennedy, L558 On October 16, 2017, nearly 12,000 college faculty across Ontario began a historic strike. While strikes are never easy, we realized incredibly important gains for the future of the college system. We achieved academic freedom language, on par with most universities, that protects the professional expertise and judgment of faculty. In the coming months, we will need to exercise our voices -now protected by Article 13 - to speak out about the ongoing attacks on quality education. We also gained meaningful seniority for partial load faculty with a new registry that allows our partial load members to have priority in course assignment so they can have some measure of job stability. And, very importantly, contract and full-time faculty stood together united to take a principled stand against precarious work. As the anniversary of the strike approaches, this is a good moment to look around and take stock. The challenges before us are daunting. Doug Ford's government is coming at us with broken promises every time we turn around. On his very first day on the job, the Ford government recklessly cancelled the College Task Force, the purpose of which

The Faculty Voice Volume 2 Issue 12019-02-26T00:13:59+00:00

How faculty said no to the gig economy 

by RM Kennedy One of the most powerful moments for me during the 2017 Ontario college faculty strike involved sitting down with College Employer Council CEO Don Sinclair for an interview with Matt Galloway on Metro Morning. [Listen to the interview here.] During the debate, in a somewhat stunning declaration, Sinclair admitted that the colleges were not willing to address the jobs crisis in Ontario’s CAATs because they could not predict how artificial intelligence would shape the “gig economy” of the future. While Sinclair’s comments spawned numerous mocking “Instructo-Bot” memes, it is worth noting what they really say about Council’s vision for our system. The term “gig economy” was popularized during the 2009 financial crisis and refers, almost always pejoratively, to the painful experience of working on short-term contracts without job security, or benefits such as sick pay. In the gig economy, a worker is hired “just in time” and gets paid for doing a single piece of work, for example giving a customer a ride through an Uber app, selling an upgraded internet package, or, in the case of college faculty, teaching a course. The employer has no responsibility to the worker and can dispose of them on short notice. While a small percentage of individuals choose the flexibility of piecemeal employment, the vast majority are forced into it by a lack of options. In short, the gig economy is everything that our students dream they can escape by going to college. Local 558 1st VP and CAAT-Academic Divisional Chair RM Kennedy with the Instructo-Bot Busters at Queen’s Park rally Precarious work is a leading cause of social inequality in Canadian society and a growing trend; however, nowhere is it more pronounced

How faculty said no to the gig economy 2019-02-26T00:17:14+00:00

A Message from JP Hornick, Bargaining Team Chair

Dear CAAT-A Faculty: Attached you will find a bulletin that details faculty's wins in Arbitrator Kaplan's award which dictates our new Collective Agreement.  This award, from a neutral arbitrator, is a clear vindication that faculty's vision for the college system is not only reasonable, but necessary for Ontario colleges. Despite Council and management's attempts to claim this for themselves, there is no way to read this award other than as an unprecedented and historic victory for college faculty. Arbitrator Kaplan heard submissions from both sides, probed these issues deeply, and appears to have agreed that faculty had the better plan for the colleges. For context, arbitrators are inclined to keep status quo in their decisions; Kaplan instead has--based on the strength of our submissions--repudiated Council's concessions AND given us our language on academic freedom in the new Article 13, "Copyright and Academic Freedom."  We cannot overemphasize how unusual this is. In addition, we fought hard for and won gains for our partial load faculty on seniority and job security.  For the first time ever, partial-load faculty have been included in the lump sum awards given by an arbitrator.  In addition, the Provincial Task force will begin in January to address issues of complement and precarity, and we meet with the employer to begin discussions on Bill 148 on January 15. Kaplan has primarily adopted our RTW language, and repudiated Council's claims that no additional work was required to salvage the semester.  Indeed, by granting lump sums to every faculty member, he has acknowledged that the strike is an atypical circumstance that requires remuneration.  He has also made the salary increase retroactive--something the Council fought stridently against. Faculty are more united and organized than ever.  We have

A Message from JP Hornick, Bargaining Team Chair2019-02-26T00:24:29+00:00

Bargaining Team Update – Issue #3 – Dec. 20, 2017

Arbitrator awards union language on academic freedom; previously agreed-to items included in award Just over a month after the province legislated striking faculty back to work, we have a new collective agreement. In an award issued Wednesday, December 20, arbitrator William Kaplan set out the terms of a four-year contract that will govern faculty work until September 30, 2021. The award includes language on items previously agreed on in bargaining, plus his (final and binding) decisions on issues that were still in dispute when bargaining ended.  Academic freedom  On academic freedom, Kaplan accepted the union’s language in its entirety, with the addition of five words to clarify one point. The new language under the heading “Copyright and Academic Freedom” makes it clear that all faculty have the right “to enquire about, investigate, pursue, teach and speak freely about academic issues without fear of impairment to position or other reprisal.” This change is nothing less than historic. It is a watershed moment for the colleges that will be truly transformational in the years ahead. Wages On wages, the award provides the agreed-on raises of 1.75, 2.00, 2.00, and 2.00 per cent over the four-year term, but retroactive to October 1, the beginning of the contract. The employer had called for the first wage increase to take effect on the date of the award.  Partial-load faculty  Among the items negotiated prior to the back-to-work legislation were huge gains for partial load faculty. Under the new contract, partial-load faculty will: get their contracts earlier; move up the salary grid twice as fast;  have their seniority respected when applying for new contracts; and have a much-improved chance of being considered for full-time positions. Paramedical coverage Coverage for paramedical

Bargaining Team Update – Issue #3 – Dec. 20, 20172019-02-26T00:25:15+00:00

Strike Purchase Information from the CAAT Pension Plan

Strike purchase information from the CAAT Pension Plan As a Plan member who was on strike, you will be able to purchase the pensionable service lost during the strike. The CAAT Plan is working on a special process “window” to efficiently deal with the expected high number of strike purchase requests. The window will start in June 2018. Before then the Plan will be working with employers to receive and validate the data necessary to calculate strike purchases. We will roll out more details on this special process in the coming weeks through our website, newsletter and My Pension Newslink. If you don’t make a 2017 strike purchase during this special window, you will be able to purchase it at a later date with no change in cost. All 2017 strike purchases will be based on your salary rate and the contribution rates at the start of the 2017 strike. In other words, the costing remains the same no matter when you make a 2017 strike purchase. If you terminate employment or retire before this special strike purchase window, you will have the chance to make your strike purchase before the special window starts. To make any other kind of service purchase (for example a leave of absence or lay off) please follow the usual process. More details here on the website: https://www.caatpension.on.ca/en/members/increasing-your-service/purchasing-service What do you have to do? No action is required at this time to start your strike purchase. In addition to any updates in our upcoming Newsletter, we will be regularly updating our website with information to help you make a decision about making the purchase, as well as details about the purchase process. If you wish to have these details sent directly to your email address as they become available, we

Strike Purchase Information from the CAAT Pension Plan2019-02-26T00:25:54+00:00

UPDATE from your Bargaining Team – Issue #2 – December 1, 2017

 Mediation set for mid-December Arbitrator William Kaplan has set out his schedule for trying to arrive at a new collective agreement for Ontario college faculty through mediation. Beginning December 12, both the College Employer Council and OPSEU will file mediation briefs to give the arbitrator background information on the issues in dispute. Kaplan, an experienced arbitrator agreed to by both parties, will meet with union representatives December 14 and employer representatives December 15. After that, there will be two days of mediation December 16-17. If the parties do not reach a new collective agreement through mediation, arbitration of unresolved matters will begin in early- to mid-January. Earlier this week, Council’s law firm, Hicks Morley, brought a preliminary motion before the arbitrator to speed up the process and have arbitration start before January. The arbitrator did not grant the motion, and instead accepted the timeline proposed by the union. Kaplan also denied another motion from Council, which called for a freeze on the filing and processing of grievances or workload complaints related to faculty’s return to work post-strike. This is an important victory for the union: absent a return-to-work protocol, the grievance process is essential to protecting faculty’s rights in the workplace. Bill 178 directs the arbitrator to finalize the new collective agreement no later than 90 days after being appointed. While this deadline may be extended if both parties agree, a likely scenario is that faculty will have a new contract before the end of February 2018. If the contract is ordered by the arbitrator, it will be final and binding, with no ratification by the parties. Council has agreed that OPSEU’s participation in the mediation/arbitration process is “without prejudice” to the union’s position

UPDATE from your Bargaining Team – Issue #2 – December 1, 20172019-02-26T00:23:42+00:00

News Release—November 30, 2017

Suspensions at La Cité show why ‘academic freedom’ matters: OPSEU TORONTO – The suspension of four college professors at La Cité collégiale in Ottawa shows why college faculty must have the freedom, and the authority, to make decisions on academic matters, the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) says. “La Cité has suspended four OPSEU members for standing up for the integrity of their profession,” said JP Hornick, chair of the college faculty bargaining team for OPSEU. “College administration wants faculty to say that students possess the full range of skills related to the practice of respiratory therapy whether they do or not. “This just shows what faculty have been saying all along: college administrators are making decisions about academic programs that they are not qualified to make,” she said. “In this case, administrators are putting both students and the public in danger.” The union has proposed that the College of Respiratory Therapists of Ontario be brought in to assist with the matter. The return to work of over 12,000 faculty after a five-week strike that ended November 20 has been plagued by problems that are interfering with the colleges’ efforts to save students’ semesters, Hornick said. Bill 178, the back-to-work legislation passed November 19, requires the parties to abide by the existing faculty collective agreement, but the colleges are refusing to do so. “Unless the colleges begin issuing new contracts and Standard Workload Forms to faculty to make up the lost time, we are heading for a crisis very soon,” she said. “Faculty are working hard to save the semester, but we will not do it in a way that violates our collective agreement or the law.” OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas called

News Release—November 30, 20172019-02-26T00:27:05+00:00

UPDATE from your Bargaining Team – Issue #1 – November 24, 2017

Strike action is a profound experience of solidarity. I know we will all remember our time on the picket line with colleagues, students, allies and family for the rest of our lives. We know firsthand what it means to take part in a province-wide work action, and leverage our collective power to help change the system. College faculty have much to be proud of. We made significant gains at the table for partial-load members, and we were able to get the government and the College Employer Council to agree to a provincial task force on precarious work, faculty complement, academic governance, intellectual property rights, student mental health, and college funding. Every faculty member can be proud of what we have accomplished together. While most faculty are now back at work with our students, it’s important to acknowledge that the strike was a long and difficult five weeks. Our experiences of returning to work have likely included uncertainties and frustrations. Please know that you are not alone, and your union is here to help you. Remember that the chaos at your college is of the colleges’ making, and it’s their job to fix any problems. Hold your head high, and be proud that you were part of a collective action to help improve post-secondary education for our students and for generations of workers to come. In solidarity, JP Hornick Chair, college faculty bargaining team OPSEU is challenging the Ontario government’s Bill 178 back-to-work legislation in court, and disputing this blatant trampling of labour rights. The province ended a five-week strike by Ontario college faculty November 20 by passing Bill 178, the Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology Labour Dispute Resolution Act, 2017, on November 19. OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas says

UPDATE from your Bargaining Team – Issue #1 – November 24, 20172019-02-26T00:28:03+00:00

News Release—November 23, 2017

OPSEU to file Charter challenge over college back-to-work law Publication Date: Thursday, November 23, 2017 - 3:00pm Toronto – The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) is challenging the Ontario government’s latest back-to-work legislation in court. The province ended a five-week strike by Ontario college faculty November 20 by passing Bill 178, the Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology Labour Dispute Resolution Act, 2017, on November 19. OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas says the law violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, specifically Section 2 (d), which protects freedom of association. “For over a decade, the Supreme Court of Canada has viewed collective bargaining as a protected right under the Charter,” Thomas said. “More recently, the court has extended that protection to the right to strike. “In the case of the colleges, the provincial government had the power to direct the employer to make the moves necessary to bargain a settlement,” he said. “The government chose legislation instead. They trampled on the right to collective bargaining when they clearly had other choices.” On November 16, hours after 86 per cent of college faculty had rejected the colleges’ contract offer, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne met with both sides and gave them three hours to settle the strike. “The government never gave collective bargaining an honest chance after the contract was rejected,” Thomas said. “That three-hour deadline was a sham designed to provide legal cover for legislation that was already a foregone conclusion. Instead of directing the colleges to settle, the government let them walk away from the table, then came back with a hammer.” The colleges are Crown agencies that receive nearly half their overall funding from the provincial budget and are in no way

News Release—November 23, 20172019-02-26T00:29:21+00:00