No-board report could mean that college faculty could strike, or be locked out, as early as mid-October
Updated Sept. 22 with new information
As bargaining continues this week, Ontario colleges and their unionized faculty appear no closer to reaching an agreement on a new contract.
“Right now, what’s happening at the table I can only describe as stonewalling,” said JP Hornick, chair of the bargaining team for the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU). “They have absolutely shown no interest in addressing any faculty issue.”
The comments follow a vote last week, where 68 per cent of college faculty voted to strike if a deal can’t be reached with Ontario colleges. After the contract between unionized faculty and colleges expires on Sept. 30, OPSEU can strike with five days notice.
On Thursday, Sept. 21 the union asked the Ministry of Labour for a “no board” report. After a no-board report is issued the union can strike, or the employer can lock out workers, 16 days later.
The union has not set a strike deadline and in a press release Hornick said that requesting the no-board report was “an attempt to trigger real negotiations around around education quality, fairness for contract faculty, and other issues.”
In a statement, Sonia Del Missier, chair of the colleges’ bargaining team, said that OPSEU’s proposals weren’t “the basis for a settlement.”
“The union’s proposals would eliminate 4,280 contract faculty jobs, increase costs by $400 million annually, change the governance of colleges, and restrict the colleges from overseeing academic delivery,” the statement read.
OPSEU is asking for more full-time positions and the creation of an academic senate, similar those at universities in Ontario.
In a release, the College Employers Council said that colleges have to follow province-wide standards and that “faculty members contribute to but cannot control academic decision making.”
Hornick called this round of bargaining “aspirational” and said that the union has made an offer that will improve things for faculty and students.
“We tried to correct the course that was set by management and has set us off the road of the original vision of colleges,” she said. “We’re trying to bring that (vision) back to the fore.”