Strike By Faculty Members Appears Imminent As Talks Sour

Picketing at St. Clair, during the last time a faculty strike occurred in the Ontario college system.
Picketing at St. Clair, during the last time a faculty strike occurred in the Ontario college system.


This week’s resumption of talks aimed at averting a strike by faculty members at Ontario’s two dozen colleges did not go well, and a work-stoppage now appears imminent.

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU, representing the 12,000 professors) released this information on its website on October 11:

College faculty returned to the bargaining table Tuesday morning, October 10, ready to negotiate. (The College Employer) Council (“management”) tabled an offer that did not address any of faculty’s key demands. We could not recommend it to our members, and we told them so in detail.

The college faculty team rejected the Council’s offer; and issued a strike deadline of 12:01 a.m., October 16, 2017.

The faculty bargaining team is committed to staying at the table right up until the strike deadline.

The Council, however, has walked away from the table, and now claims that their offer was their final offer.

By setting a strike deadline, we are giving a clear message to the employer that we expect a fair deal for college faculty before Monday morning.

The employer’s so-called “final offer” is a poisoned pill. It fundamentally undermines the quality and fairness we have been working towards in this round of bargaining.

An hour or two after the union posted that news release, the Council posted its – blaming the union for walking away from the table.

The Council noted that its final offer featured:

• a 7.75 percent salary increase over the four-years-long term of the proposed contract;

• new full-time faculty maximum pay of $115,378 per year;

• new partial-load hourly maximum of $154.26;

• improved conversion of contract faculty to full-time positions;

• a plan to respond to Bill 148 when it becomes law (providing further upgrades and benefits to part-timers);

• more faculty autonomy over personal workloads;

• enhanced benefits; and

• no concessions.

The Council added that its proposed deal “is comparable to, or better than, offers accepted recently by other public-sector employees, such as teachers, public servants, and college support staff.”

Its news release also argued that “a strike is unnecessary and would be disruptive to hundreds of thousands of college students. The colleges have asked OPSEU to allow faculty to vote on the final offer. An unnecessary strike will be avoided if the majority of faculty vote to accept the offer.”