Ontario college faculty vote in favour of a strike mandate
Credit: MELISSA NOVACASKA
On Sept. 14, 68 per cent of faculty members across 24 Ontario Colleges, voted in favour of a strike mandate.
“Going on strike is not the desired outcome, of course. Faculty would rather be working with our students as professors, counsellors, and librarians, than walking a picket line. But Council has not been willing to even discuss concerns around quality and fairness,” JP Hornick, chair of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union's (OPSEU's) bargaining team said in a Sept 15 news release.
“Our bargaining team has a mandate to address our issues at the table. The College Employer Council (Council) now has to take them seriously. When it comes to quality of education, input for faculty and fairness for all faculty, which includes contract faculty, [is crucial]. They now have to pay attention to this,” Darryl Bedford, president of Local 110 and member of the OPSEU bargaining team said.
Both the OPSEU and the council went back to the bargaining table on Sept. 18 to resume negotiations.
“Unfortunately, both parties at the bargaining table remain far apart with two very different visions for Ontario's college systems and two very different paths. One that could lead to a settlement, and one that could lead to a strike,” Sonia Del Missier, chair of the Council's bargaining team said in a Sept. 7 video update regarding the Sept 14 strike vote.
“Whether the faculty vote in favour of a strike or not, the outcome won't change the College's view on these key issues or the college's ability to accept the radical changes being proposed.”
The council has extended their offer of settlement to Sept. 29.
According to the Council's academic bargaining update, published on Aug. 28, the newest offer of settlement features a number of things including:
- A 7.5 per cent salary increase
- A new maximum salary of $115,094 that would be in place by Oct. 1, 2020
- Positive changes to pregnancy and parental leave
- Expanded catastrophic drug coverage
- A lump-sum payment of $500 for full-time faculty and $250 for partial-load faculty
Bedford explained that the college faculty will be at Queen's Park in Toronto on Sept. 20 to lobby the legislature. In doing so, the faculty hopes to receive improved funding.
“The root of this problem is the underfunding of the system. Our students deserve better,” Bedford said.
For more information regarding a possible strike at Fanshawe, please visit fsu.ca/news.php?id=140.