College Faculty Could Strike as Early as September 15
Union refuses to accept two-year wage freeze
Conciliation yet to produce a settlement - money is major hurdle
Colleges call for union to cancel September 10 strike vote and focus on bargaining
TORONTO, Aug. 23, 2012 /CNW/ - Ontario's 24 colleges are warning that the union could trigger a strike of 10,000 college faculty as early as September 15. A strike would disrupt the start of the school year for hundreds of thousands of students across the province.
"The union won't accept the colleges' offer that is more generous than the deal the government has set out for teachers. We are offering a two-year wage freeze that preserves maximum salaries at $102,186, but we are not asking for any concessions from faculty," said Sonia Del Missier, Chair of the Colleges' Bargaining Team and Vice-President Academic at Cambrian College.
"We can't pretend that bargaining is progressing. We've been at this since June and we've had a conciliator working with both sides over the last two weeks. Yet, we remain far apart on major issues and the union is driving toward a strike vote on September 10. There is the real prospect of a strike in September," said Ms. Del Missier.
The colleges have requested that the conciliator advise the Minister of Labour that conciliation has not yet resulted in a collective agreement. A strike could start as early as September 15, 2012 if the union goes ahead with its September 10 strike vote and a majority of faculty vote in favour of giving the union a strike mandate.
Union Urged to Cancel September 10 Strike Vote
"We have asked the union to cancel its September 10th strike vote. The union has the power to avoid a strike by calling off its strike vote and, instead, work with us to reach a settlement. A strike vote won't make the union's demands more affordable and it won't get the colleges any more money," said Ms. Del Missier. "Faculty have to consider carefully the impact if they vote to strike. A strike mandate will give the union the ability to trigger a province-wide strike with just five days' notice."
Colleges' Offer - Two-Year Wage Freeze but No Concessions
The colleges have tabled an offer that pauses wage increases, but does not ask for any concessions from faculty.
- Faculty salaries would be frozen for the term of the agreement - September 1, 2012 to August 31, 2014
- Eligible faculty would still move through the grid and receive compensation increases
- Benefits including sick leave, dental, and vacation will remain untouched
"Given the times we are in, this is a very fair offer that pauses maximum salaries at $102,186, allows for grid movement to invest in our younger faculty, but asks for no concessions from faculty," said Ms. Del Missier.
Comparing the Colleges' Offer with the Government Legislation for Elementary and Secondary Teachers
The colleges' offer is more advantageous to college faculty than the terms the government is proposing to legislate for elementary and secondary teachers. Compensation and benefits terms are more generous and no concessions - on wages, benefits or workload - are being asked of faculty.
|Colleges' Offer||Government Legislation for Elementary and Secondary Teachers|
|Maximum college faculty salary of $102,186||
Maximum teacher salary of $94,682
(Toronto Catholic District School Board)
|Two-year freeze on wages||
Two-year freeze on wages
|Continued movement through the grid||
Grid movement delayed for several months
|No unpaid days off||
Three unpaid days off
|No change to short-term disability plan at 75%||
New short-term disability plan at 66.7% or 90%
|No reduction in sick days||
Reduction of sick days from 20 to 10 annually
|Accumulation of unused sick days permitted||
No accumulation of unused sick days from year to year
|Pre-1991 faculty continue to accumulate sick days with payout at final salary rate||
Sick leave gratuity payout frozen for existing teachers at August 2012
rate - no further accumulations of sick days
Two Sides Remain Far Apart
The colleges and the union remain far apart on major issues. The union continues to demand a range of salary, staffing and workload proposals that would increase colleges' costs by close to $200 million over two years.
- $140 million increase in workload and staffing costs to deliver the exact same programs as today
- $46 million to fund salary increases of 3.5% over two years plus another 2.7% in grid movements
"An additional $200 million in costs are completely unaffordable. The provincial government will not fund salary increases and will not support increased costs to service delivery," said Ms. Del Missier.
Five Days of Scheduled Bargaining Left
"There is still time to reach a negotiated settlement with five days of bargaining remaining before the contract expires on August 31, 2012. However, until the union drops its unaffordable proposals and seriously considers the colleges' offer, the likelihood of a settlement will remain remote and the threat of strike will increase," said Ms. Del Missier.
Media Conference Call
The colleges' bargaining team will be hosting a teleconference for media at 4:15 p.m. today (August 23, 2012).
|Canada Toll Free Dial In:||1-800-319-4610|
|Outside of Canada & USA call:||1-604-638-5340|
Callers should dial in 5 - 10 minutes prior to the scheduled start time and ask to join the Ontario Colleges' Bargaining Update call.
SOURCE: College Employer CouncilFor further information:
Sarah Louise Gardiner