Work Stoppage Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why is there a strike?
• OPSEU CAAT Academic called an unnecessary strike at all 24 Ontario colleges.
• We appreciate that students are frustrated that OPSEU CAAT Academic called this strike.
• The colleges cannot accept the union’s demands that would ultimately add more than $250 million in costs, eliminate thousands of contract faculty jobs, and jeopardize the quality of college programs.

2. Why did you allow a strike to happen?
• The union called the strike.
• The strike is unnecessary.
• The colleges cannot accept the union’s demands that would ultimately add more than $250 million in costs, eliminate thousands of contract faculty jobs, and jeopardize the quality of college programs.
• The colleges’ final offer is fair for faculty and affordable for the colleges.
• Our final offer is comparable to, or better than, recent public-sector settlements with teachers, college support staff, hospital professionals, and Ontario public servants.

3. How long will a strike last?
• It is very hard to predict – remember the union called the strike.

4. How will the strike be resolved?
• The fastest way to resolve the strike is for the union to accept the colleges’ final offer, or, at the very least, put the colleges’ final offer forward to its members for a vote.

5. When will you get back to the bargaining table?

• Both parties are working with the mediator.
• The mediator will indicate when he thinks the parties should return to the bargaining table.

6. Will students lose their year?
• No Ontario college student has ever lost their year because of a work stoppage.
• Colleges have contingency plans in place to help students during a work stoppage.

7. Will students receive a tuition rebate for time out of the classroom?
• On the specific issue of rebates, we look forward to when classes resume and students can continue their learning to complete their studies.

8. Will the government intervene and stop the strike?
• The government has no role in the bargaining process and expects the colleges and the union to resolve these issues.

9. Why didn’t you accept the union’s final offer?
• The colleges cannot accept the union’s demands that would ultimately add more than $250 million in costs, eliminate thousands of contract faculty jobs, and jeopardize the quality of college programs.

10. Why haven’t you countered with a better offer after the union cut more than $150 million ($400 million down to an estimated $250 million) in its demands?
• The union’s demands continue to be unaffordable and cannot form the basis of a settlement.
• The colleges cannot accept the union’s demands that would ultimately add more than $250 million in costs, eliminate thousands of contract faculty jobs, and jeopardize the quality of college programs.

11. How do you respond to the union’s claim that the colleges allowed the strike to happen because you wouldn’t relinquish power to professional faculty?
• The union continues to demand academic control by individual faculty members.
• Faculty are critical to academic decision making but they are not the exclusive voice.
• Our programs require consistent delivery to meet provincially mandated standards and the requirements of accreditation bodies and industry partners.

12. Why should the union accept your final offer?
• The colleges’ final offer is fair for faculty and affordable for the colleges.
• Our final offer is comparable to, or better than, recent public-sector settlements with teachers, college support staff, hospital professionals, and Ontario public servants.
• It is regrettable that the union chose not to take the colleges’ final offer to its members for a vote.

13. How do you answer the charge by OPSEU Academic that colleges have refused to discuss the union’s priority issues?
• The colleges’ final offer is responsive to what we have heard at the bargaining table and fair to our faculty.

14. Why didn’t you let faculty vote on your offer and stop the strike?

• As the employees’ bargaining agent, the union is responsible for the collective bargaining process for their members.
• The union can put the new terms and conditions forward to its members for acceptance or rejection at any time.

15. Will you call an employer vote and let faculty vote on your offer?
• The fastest way to resolve the strike is for the union to accept the colleges’ final offer, or, at the very least, put the colleges’ final offer forward to its members for a vote.
• As the employees’ bargaining agent, the union is responsible for the collective bargaining process for their members.

16. Why can’t you accept the union’s salary proposals?
• The union is demanding 9% over three years for a new full-time faculty maximum of more than $116,000, which is out of line with comparable public-sector settlements.
o 2% per year for three years and a new step in the salary grid

17. Why can’t you accept the proposal to have a minimum of 50% full-time teachers in the colleges?
• Moving to a new staffing ratio would increase costs through new positions and reduce the colleges’ flexibility in meeting the programming needs of our students.

18. Why are you against the union’s academic freedom proposal?
• The union continues to demand academic control by individual faculty members.
• Faculty are critical to academic decision making but they are not the exclusive voice.
• Our programs require consistent delivery to meet provincially mandated standards and the requirements of accreditation bodies and industry partners.

19. Don’t you see the withdrawal of the senate demand as a positive step?
• College governance is not an appropriate topic for college bargaining.
• However, the union’s demands are not acceptable because they would ultimately add more than $250 million to annual costs, eliminate thousands of contract faculty jobs, and jeopardize the quality of college programs.

 

College Faculty Strike Update information is available at www.northernc.on.ca/strikeupdates