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College strike talks resume

OPSEU releases details of negotiations.


 

Negotiations between Ontario’s colleges and the union representing faculty have resumed, after faculty voted in favour of a strike on Jan. 13. The two sides were back at the bargaining table on Jan 19. Towards the end of the week, a provincial mediator advised a  recess from negotiations. Talks are set to resume Tuesday Jan 26.

On Saturday, the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, released an update of the negotiations so far. Initially, the colleges had proposed a 1.75 per cent wage increase for the first two years of a four-year contract, and a 2.0 per cent increase during the final two years. That proposal has been amended to include a 2.0 per cent increase for the second year. OPSEU had been asking for a 2.5 increase in each year of a three-year agreement.

OPSEU also notes that the colleges:

  • withdrew their demand to increase retiree life insurance premiums.  The imposed term would have increased the costs to retirees five-fold.
  • withdrew their demand that an employee who changes from employment at one College to a different College would lose the right to continue with the pension plan.
  • amended the list of arbitrators withdrawing some of the persons they had added when terms and conditions were imposed on November 18.
  • As for OPSEU, the union has amended their proposal on academic freedom. Whereas before they were calling for academic freedom to be protected in colleges to the same extent it is protected at universities, the union has revised their proposal to more closely align with management’s position, to “make it clear that faculty, in the exercise of academic freedom, remain accountable to external accrediting and regulating bodies, the Ministry, the terms of the Collective Agreement, and program requirements.”

    Despite these advancements, both sides remain divided over the recommendations of the Joint Workload Task Force report. Although both sides agreed to the recommendations in March 2009, they are at odds over what it entails. The more than 500 page document made recommendations regarding flexibility in workload, evaluation of faculty, out of class assistance for students, and professional standards and relationships.

    OPSEU represents 9,000 academic staff at Ontario’s 24 community colleges. If a strike occurs, it would not be held until the middle of February. Some 500,000 students would be affected.

    For all of our coverage of a looming college work stoppage, please click here.


     
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    College strike talks resume

    1. Hello, I am writing this as a student. I am very frustrated with this entire situation, and feel it is a selfish act on behalf of the professors. We are in an economic down fall, and all they can do is beg for more money and threaten the thousands upon thousands of students who would be affected. Not only the students would suffer, but their parents who are often times going into debt themselves just to be able to send their child of to a higher education. This is not in consideration. In my opinion very few college professors deserve over $100,000…they often encourage independent study, have classmates mark assignments, and often times are unreachable. For these teachers to value their jobs above a Registered Nurse for example is ridiculous! The college professors in my school have been using the same material for atleast four years, the same exams, the same class assignments. Besides marking *which I am pretty sure is in their job description* what else do they have to do!!! I in all of my college experience have had 1 college professor that was worth the money she is getting paid…other than that I feel my tuition is paying for a salary of someone not deserved. Thanks and please continue supporting us as students, and make every effort to get these greedy 57% back to work. Our economy is suffering enough.

    2. Some college professors do much more than teach. Depending on the institution and department, some are coordinators/department heads and do much of the same work as management. It is OK if you refer to the “greedy 57%” but please, please do not lump all of us together. Personally, I am always there for my students, plus I administer a full-time department with over half a dozen part-time instructors, prepare the budget, assist in the hiring process, develop and design curriculum, participate in provincial quality audits, sit on provincial committees and advisory board, etc….etc……Oh yes, and I DON’T use the same material in any two consecutive years, let alone over four years. I can understand students’ frustrations, as I too am frustrated by the current situation, but making blanket statements about a group of individuals without checking one’s facts first can hardly help bring about positive change.

    3. I am also a student and as much as the strike might frustrate me I can sympathize with the profs who are fighting against the increase in workload. Many professors put an effort into making new material that is current – well at least in my program. The intent of the administration is to increase the amount of students in classes and reduce the amount of written work and making it easier to pass students. Unlike in University, College professors rarely get help from TAs to mark papers and spend many nights working late marking. Since colleges are built on a business model that is purely for profit. It’s understandable that students see it as teachers being greedy but if you read into it more, it’s the administration that is looking to pocket more of the money, the teachers barely profit from the increase in their salary. Also, The amount of time spent picketing is money they don’t get back, therefore the money they “make” over the 4 years is lost because of picketing. So to all students who think profs are being greedy – please at least talk to them and understand what it is they’re fighting for and don’t use the economy as an excuse, they definitely have enough money to dish out if they think they’ll profit in the long run.

    4. I think that it is proposterous for college professors to be asking for a salary increase when our countries unemployment rate is higher then it has been in years. Perhaps before asking for a salary increase the professors should think about the people who do not have jobs and can’t find jobs, before asking for an increase in their salary. I understand that as a professors they do a great deal of work, I am not denying that, but there are many other professions in which people are paid much less and work many more hours then professors do.
      Also, perhaps if a professor is doing more than teaching and they feel that their workload is too much perhaps they should stop doing all of the extra jobs that they are doing. I believe that if you become a department head you are asked to become a department head and you take on that responsibility yourself. Do not try to blame your workload onto other people, you took it on, if it is too much give up the extra work that you are doing and JUST TEACH!

    5. I appreciate your response. I certainly agree with you,there are college professors that deserve the money they are getting. It is unfortunate I have only had one experience with a teacher who has deserved it. I referred to the 57%, and that is why I did that. The college I attend, DOES USE THE SAME MATERIAL, DOES HAVE THEIR STUDENTS MARKING EACHOTHERS ASSIGNMENTS, AND ARE UNREACHABLE. I know there are always exceptions to the rule, and I am grateful for professors like yourself…but you need to understand where we are coming from. To threaten our education every time your contract comes up for renewal is ridiculous.
      Thanks for your service, I just wish everyone else was on the same page as you.

    6. I completely agree with Allison. College professors are threatening my education. I have exciting plans in the end of April which I may just have to cancel.

      Generally though, the profs in my program are amazing. They don’t use textbooks, very animated presenters and truly care for my education. They are the ones who are against the strike – two have even said they will continue conducting classes during a strike. One prof will conduct classes online where another will conduct them in his personal studio. These are the guys who deserve the raise, not the 57% who think their 2% raise is worth more than thousands of student’s education.

      It’s almost like they learned nothing from that York strike. Idiots.

    7. I agree with Allison as well. Also, does it not seem a bit suspicious that they chose to go on a possible strike in February, early March?…When our tuition can not be refunded in full, or for some not refunded at all. The teachers are up to something. If they were going to go on strike and not think about the tuition from this year, I think they would have already went on strike but they’re greedy. They want our money from this semester.

      There are said education plans for the students once and if the college goes on strike. How? What do they consist of? I know I can’t read and learn from a book myself. What about those students that are unable to learn on their own? I have took an online course twice and failed, I know that is not just me..there are others. It is hard for some to learn something unless someone is teaching it, that is what we are paying for…isn’t it?

      Can you go on strike already and stop fooling around so I can go on my spring vacation…

    8. I am currently studying at George Brown and I am extremely disappointed with the quality of their teachers. Not prepared at all, using unreliable information to teach us (like wikipedia) always looking to cut corners to reduce their workload (eg giving lots of group work- easier to mark). Also disappointed with the college itself, too many of their mandatory courses are just a repetition of previous courses…and now this whole potential strike its just so frustrating

    9. College professors should have more formal training on how to educate.

    10. I cannot agree more with the frustration of the students as expressed on this page. Thanks Allison, for clarifying your position and agreeing that some of us are exceptions. Personally, I am so angry with OPSEU now for putting my students and me in the bind that they have. The union has done nothing for me in the 10+ years I have been teaching, except take union dues off my paycheque and cause irretrievable losses of income whenever a strike happens.

      I have heard rumours that some faculty who voted “NO” to the strike vote are seriously talking about decertification. That, in my opinion, wouldn’t be a bad thing. With our union, I feel I am paying dues to a group that does NOT have my best interests at heart. I would gladly leave their ranks in a heartbeat.

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