Message from Dr. Fred Gibbons

Friday, September 15, 2017

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), representing full-time and partial load faculty at all colleges in Ontario, was successful in achieving a strike mandate from its membership in a vote conducted September 14th. The two parties are scheduled to resume negotiations on Monday, September 18th.

No one wants a strike but unfortunately the parties at the bargaining table remain far apart with two very different visions for Ontario’s college system. The colleges’ vision is one that celebrates 50 years of excellence, 50 years of great service to students and the province of Ontario, 50 years of a unique model in post-secondary education – the envy of many other jurisdictions. The colleges have changed a lot in 50 years because we have always focused on innovation and investment in teaching and learning.

We want to continue to invest in faculty, which is why the colleges have tabled a reasonable offer of settlement that provides a 7.5% wage increase, a lump sum payment, a new maximum salary of $115,094, and other benefits, while requesting no concessions. For more details on the offer of settlement, you can visit the Ontario college’s negotiating team’s website, www.thecouncil.ca

I want to assure you that our main concern is the education of our students. We understand that news articles and commentary that refer to the possibility of a strike by college faculty might concern students; and there really is no reason for a strike. The colleges remain committed to achieving a negotiated settlement, which is fair to our faculty while being affordable and responsible for the colleges. But we need practical proposals from the union to be successful. The proposal provided by the negotiating team for Ontario’s public colleges has provided OPSEU with an offer of settlement that remains in effect until September 29th. It is a reasonable offer that should be presented by OPSEU to our faculty.

Dr. Fred Gibbons
President & CEO, Northern College