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UPDATE: College faculty vote to strike

Semester could stall in mid-February


 

The semester is officially under threat for Ontario college students, as faculty voted 57 per cent in favour of a strike mandate on Wednesday, although both sides have indicated a willingness to return to negotiations. If faculty go on strike, it would be the second time since 2006, when there was a 21 day work stoppage.

Greg Hamara, media spokesman for the Ontario Public Services Employees Union (OPSEU), says that a strike mandate does not necessarily mean faculty will go on strike. “What it does, is give the bargaining team the authority to call for strike action if negotiations fail to reach a fair settlement,” he said, adding that the union would be looking to strike “no earlier than the middle of February.”

OPSEU represents 9,000 college teachers, counselors and librarians at all of Ontario’s 24 community colleges.

Rachel Donovan, chair of the bargaining team for the College Compensation and Appointments Council, agrees that the strike vote does not have to lead to a work stoppage. “We will be asking OPSEU to return to the negotiating table as soon as possible,” she said.

Talks initially broke down in November after the colleges unilaterally imposed terms and conditions of employment, a power the colleges were granted by the province in a 2008 redrafting of the Collective Bargaining Act. OPSEU has said that imposing terms of employment is “union busting.” Donovan counters that “because talks weren’t going anywhere, we would give them our best offer.”

The union is seeking a 2.5 per cent pay increase in each year of a three-year contract while the colleges are offering 1.75 per cent in each of the first two years and two per cent in the last two years of a four-year deal.

Another point of contention is that both sides argue that the other is refusing to adhere to the Joint Workload Taskforce Report. 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. Both sides agreed to the terms in March 2009.

“There were four recommendations in that [report] and the colleges have addressed all four recommendations in their terms and conditions,” says Donovan.

Not so, says Hamara. “What we would like to see are those recommendations in this collective agreement, and we believe that management has reneged on what just a few short months ago . . . they had agreed to.”

The colleges say that the union’s salary demands as well as demands to shorten faculty teaching load by two hours per week would cost an extra $218 million, and would necessitate the hiring of 1,100 extra teachers.

Hamara says that management has “exaggerated wildly” the cost of their proposal. “We don’t buy the figures that they are using,” he said. “We find them misleading.”

Both sides also fail to see eye to eye on academic freedom. Whereas the union wants faculty to gain control over course content and research similar to the protection afforded university professors, the colleges say that is an issue best dealt with within individual colleges.

Approximately 43 per cent of faculty voted against giving the union a strike mandate. In fact, the majority of faculty at six colleges voted “No.” The union has not released voting numbers on a college by college basis. Provincial legislation provides a caveat that colleges, where faculty reject a strike mandate, can continue to operate in the event the union elects to strike. No word yet on whether such a stipulation will be put into practice.

Tyler Charlebois, director of advocacy for the College Students Alliance, says his group is urging both sides to return to negotiations. “We hope that both sides are able to reach an agreement fairly and quickly . . . and that their goal is protecting the academic semester,” he says.

Charlebois did express concern over the union waiting until mid-February before deciding whether to strike. “Student’s can’t wait that long, and getting so close to the middle of the semester . . . and then pulling the rug out from underneath students and saying, well, we’re going on strike, isn’t good enough.”

Asked if the CSA would be officially taking sides in the dispute, he restated the CSA’s commitment to encourage both the union and management to return to the table. “We always take a position, and that position we will always take is the position of the students.”

Turnout for the strike vote was nearly 75 per cent. If negotiations break down again, as many as 500,000 students would be affected.

With files from Canadian Press

For all of On Campus’ strike coverage, please click here


 
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UPDATE: College faculty vote to strike

  1. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

  2. It seems that no one seems to think of us students who pay THOUSANDS of dollars to pay for our education, and we get this in return!! Teachers and union members alike- REMEMBER that WE pay for your nice cars and warm houses as we wallow in YOUR debt for YEARS after our education. If it wasn’t for the students, you wouldn’t be where you are now. Think of the students!!

  3. Based on the voter turnout only 27.23% of the faculty actually voted in favor of a strike. If only 27.23% vote for a strkie, then why do they get a strike manadate!!! What kind of union only has 47 voter turnout.

    The teachers will get there token extra 1%, but thousands of Second Career Students will lose there funding.

    To the 27.23% thanks for nothing. And by the way all you are teaching your students is that you are selfish and greedy. Many of your students have been laid off and would die to get a steady good paying job like yours. You don’t need a teachers degree to teach college. You do not need any formal training, but you still think you are worth as much as Univeristy Prof.? And by the way stop calling yourselves Prof’s, you are teachers; Non Certified Teachers at that!

  4. Wow Unions make me sick! You stupid clowns follow your leader like sheep…what half of you don’t realize is that your salaries come from OUR pockets…if it weren’t for US STUDENTS your asses wouldn’t be at their respective placements right now….. And as far as I’m concerned their placement at this point should be the front of my shoe!

    Good job for using the students like pawns. The colleges better start preparing their accounting department to issue refunds….

  5. Does this mean there won’t be classes..?

  6. Thanks for the input. Check what the college barganing team was doing to the union and the academic freedom required to provide a quality education for you. I am not what one would consider a strong union person but in this case there was no alternative but to vote in favor of the strike. As for whether or not we are valuable assets to the educational system I wonder why students still seek out a college education for skilled trades and professional endeavours. The professors in the colleges are dedicated to education and many have Masters degrees and Phd’s. Those that do not have this acreditation have a high level of skill in a wide array of skilled trades. Find a person who has a degree in Sociology or a Masters of Education teach you how to weld, pipe fit or fix a diesel engine. If the previous writer has such a low opinion of the college professors – get an education elsewhere!

  7. Yes we can blame the government, but i look at the profs at my college and many others and feel a sense of anger and disgrace. Being a teacher is not a 9-5…5 day a week job and its a real shame most profs treat it that way. You became a teacher to teach so stop hiding behind your union and do what your paid to do. TEACH

  8. Lets be honest here…42.97% of the faculty voted 57.03% in favour of a strike mandate. The balance of the faculty members (52.24%) couldn’t get off their asses to vote. Thanks for the caring.

  9. everyone needs to grow up seriously there are so many people out there loosing jobs, getting laid off, or even trying to make a decent dollar. look at the economy every one says “oh the economy sucks”, are the teachers going on strike going to help the economy? no, it hurts it even more because we cant get the education we need to get the jobs to make the economy grow. if it wasn’t for you guys being greedy just thinking about yourselfs im sorry that there are so many people out there making alot less than you guys but since there is a union involved, who cares about everyone else i want more money cause i cant get fired for being lazy standing around because you want to make almost double the amount of the average wage of ontario workers. if i were you guys ide be happy with even having a job and the satisfaction of thinking hey im making ontario a better place but instead who cares about students you just want money…GROW UP!

  10. I’m a student who is no more happy about the strike than anyone I know. The reason why anyone goes on strike is to gain some sort of leverage against the opposition. Colleges going on strike and taking students money and education is aimed as a incentive to promote a fast settlement. Yes, It’s unfair, yes, it’s basically theft; but I think if they had another choice they would have already tried it. Hopefully both sides can come to a swift agreement and not repeat last year at york university.

  11. So what about the highschool students that are planning on or have already applied to a college in Ontario? Is their education delayed a year?

  12. I think the voter turnout might be a typo; College Student Alliance tweeted that voter turnout was 74.76% and The Spectator reported that turnout at Mohawk was 75%.

  13. SM,

    You are correct. It was a typo. Thanks.

  14. What does this mean for classes being cancelled?

  15. This is possibly the worst thing that can happen to a student. Not only do we miss out on valuable learning time, but we must make it up during our vacations. Our vacations and night hours are times for not only rest and relaxtion but the one time we can work to even earn enough to BE at school. This hurts more than it helps and I speak for large quantity of students that will be more than upset about this.

  16. Ok.. Glad it was a typo.I feel better, at least the majority of teachers did vote! Thanks, I apologize.

  17. This is the second strike that has happened since I have been in college I have lost two semesters! I think the students should go on strike to get a refund!

  18. I am a college professor and I voted “yes” today. I surprised myself by my decision to vote yes because I have always been sceptical of unions and I don’t think a strike is the right thing to do. I whole-heartedly don’t want to go on strike, as do all of the other faculty that I work with, but I voted yes because I truly believe that it will end this situation faster by forcing the colleges to negotiate.

    At my college, we have been bombarded with messages from the unions and the college management telling us two completely different sides of the story – neither of which I believe. They are both working against each other and trying to paint the other side as the “bad guy.” It’s really sad that our colleges, our union and our GOVERNMENT (who seems to be avoiding any blame for this mess) cannot see that we should all be working for a common goal – – to provide a decent education for our students and create a stronger economy in Ontario and Canada. There has to be give and take and some creative solutions from all sides.

    It is easy (and understandable) to get angry at people who have jobs and are threatening to go out on strike. I get that. But please keep in mind that the college management teams have been working overtime on their PR campaigns to make it seem like the strike is ALL about faculty making more money, and it’s not. Salaries are always part of the negotiation, but I suspect this is one of the smaller disagreements. While I am not aware of all of the issues and offers that have come out of these negotiations, there are a few points that the public may not be aware of and if you’re willing to continue reading, I will share the information that I am aware of. (I will refrain from saying the “facts” as I really don’t know what the facts are – – there are too many versions of “the truth” out there.)

    A large part of the disagreement between the unions and the colleges is over workload and academic freedom. Faculty would like to have more input into how their hours are calculated because not all courses are created equally and the true amount of work required for each varies greatly. When we went on strike in 2006 (I know… it wasn’t that long ago), one of the things that the union fought for and got, was the creation of a task force to look at workloads. The taskforce was formed and came up with recommendations. However, the recommendations they came up with will cost the system more money because they would reduce the course load for some faculty and result in the need to hire more teachers.

    At this point, you may be thinking… screw you, suck it up and just do your job. But, reason this is an issue comes down to how we are able to service our students. If faculty are overloaded with work, we are less prepared in the classroom, it takes longer to provide feedback (grades) and we have less time to help students outside of the classroom. As students, wouldn’t you like your teachers to offer more interesting classes (be more prepared), give you your grades in a timely manner (and not just the stupid Scantron quizzes), and be able to meet with you when you need help?

    I’d like to give you a little perspective on what our workload looks like. I think that people who don’t teach often see teaching as an easy job. Yes, I am only in the classroom 14-16 hours per week teaching students. But that is 14-16 hours of content and activities that I have to plan for. It usually takes several hours to prepare for each class – – definitely longer that the time it takes to teach it. (Think about how much work people in business put into a 20 minute presentation – now multiply that by 40!) So between preparing for classes and teaching them, I’ve already put in a full week’s work (say 35-40 hours). However, the fun doesn’t stop there, I have to provide feedback to my students on how they’re doing so they know if they pass or fail my courses. My classes typically have between 30-40 students (which I understand is on the small side compared to some of my colleagues) and an average of 5 assignments per semester per class (usually 5-7 classes). That means I may mark around 875 assignments (35x5x5) in a semester (14 weeks). If assignments take me an average of 10 minutes to mark (and it often takes a lot longer), then this is an additional 146 hours of work per semester (which is the equivalent of 4 weeks of full-time work). Oh yeah, and now I have to make time to meet with students. That’s okay… I don’t need to see my family or sleep.

    Yes, I’m being a bit facetious and have over-simplified my calculations, but they are not all that far from the truth (for me). There are faculty who put in much less time than this, but there are also other teachers who put in much more work. For the most part, we got into this job because we care about teaching. And at the end of the day, we want to provide a great learning environment for students.

    The issue surrounding academic freedom is more complicated because it varies by department and program. We all have course outlines (based on industry standards) that provide the topics each course should cover, and most of us already have the freedom to determine how the content should be delivered and evaluated. However, it is my understanding that in some departments, faculty do not have much room to customize their curriculum because they are one of several teachers delivering the same course (or other reason). My personal opinion about this is that for many of us, there is already too much academic freedom because there seems to be very little accountability for our course delivery. No one really checks up on us to see if we’re doing a good job, unless there are a lot of complaints about our course. And even then, the repercussions seem to be meaningless. (Yes – – this is one area where unions earn their bad reputation because they will protect people who don’t deserve to have their job. It’s not impossible to get fired, but unions definitely make it a lot more difficult to get rid of these individuals.) This is an issue that needs a lot more discussion and debate and I’m not entirely sure it belongs in a collective agreement. I think it should be reflected in the education standards set by the government.

    While I said earlier that the big issue isn’t surrounding salaries, when all is said and done, it does come down to money. If faculty are able to make changes to workloads which reduce the number of teaching hours, then the colleges will have to hire more teachers and that will cost money. I have no idea where this money will come from. I think the government should step up and help, however, I understand that there is a limited amount of money available for them to spend on essential services like education and health care. I don’t know the solutions, but I do know that something needs to change or we will continue to lose the qualities that have made us proud to be Canadians, such as strong education and health care systems.

    Let’s just hope that the colleges and unions go back to the bargaining table and that Mr. McGuinty comes to the table too. My hope is that they resolve this so that a strike is avoided and they find an agreement that benefits our education system, rather than just worrying about the bottom line.

  19. Just so everyone is clear… The college teachers are not neccessarily selfish or greedy. In fact, they have been threatened to have their benefits cut. Not their salaries, their benefits. All of this is out of our control. Yes it is unfortunate that we do, in fact, pay thousands of dollars to go to school… but we are still getting our education… it is just being delayed a little. We are still getting our money’s worth in the end. This may throw off more than a few people’s plans, and it is very upsetting to many. But the point is, if we were the teachers and we had these steady paying jobs with benefits and were being threatened to lose out on what we have earned and deserve… I would want to go on a strike too. I mean, thinking about the students, it would make me sad to vote in favour of a strike, but at the same time… we students have more time to create our futures than the teachers do as they are already in theirs. It isn’t fair to ask them to cut their benefits in order for us. I mean, yes we do pay, but we do get our education. They aren’t screwing us over for money… All I am saying is put yourself in their shoes… If they lose their benefits, that’s it… they won’t get them… If we lose a month or so (whatever the time may be on strike) we get that back… we will still get that education. Yes it is frustrating and slightly unfair, but this isn’t fair to ANYONE teachers nor us students.
    This is my opinion. I appreciate the right to have a voice.
    Thank you!

  20. This is in regards to the comment of the college professor that was breaking down his work load. Are you kidding me?? I do not want to hear about your sad story! We just came out of a recession……..oh wait we are still sortof there and some people don’t even have a job! Also what about the profession of being a doctor….they don’t get anything when they retire………unless they have saved their money wisely over the years while you guys get a cushy benefits package and pension……and are you going to compare your work to that of a doctor who saves lives?? Umm times your work load by …..I couldn’t even put a number on it to compare to a doctor…there are such huge demands for doctors that the doctors now especially the ones that work in emerg are working sometimes 24 hour days…..and dealing with immensely stressful situations…….so think twice before putting out your sad pencil pushing of a job sob story out there……it is the students who are suffering and as the guy said in the previous post it is the students who pay for all your “hard work”. Suck it up and get back to work!

  21. Soo I vote that students all go on strike once the school they have paid for has ended.. haha
    Without the students there is no need for these clowns from the union…
    See if they like the feeling of being tossed around like insignificant pawns in someones game of life.

  22. “Lets be honest here…42.97% of the faculty voted 57.03% in favour of a strike mandate. The balance of the faculty members (52.24%) couldn’t get off their asses to vote. Thanks for the caring. ”

    Where are you getting these numbers? The article states, “Turnout for the strike vote was nearly 75 per cent.” Meaning 57& of the 75% voted yes, and 43% voted no.

  23. This a response to Collegeprofessor and Student who flamed him or her so badly. Student clearly needs more education in the areas of reading comprehension and critical thinking. Collegeprofessor is not making a cry for sympathy or whining, his or her post is a thoughtful and illuminating description of the life of many teachers and an honest appraisal of the real problems in college education. Shame on Student.
    I too am faculty at one of Ontario’s colleges, I did not vote in favour of a strike, I do not want a strike, I do not believe a strike will solve anything. Collegeprofessor is bang on with his or her assessment of the lack of accountability being the heart of what is wrong with the college system. Wake up citizens and government. Start paying attention to what is really going on in your education system!!! The problem doesn’t exist only in colleges, it is the biggest problem in universities and elementary and secondary schools – no real accountability for teachers.

  24. Students!!! You all should pull out of your programs and go on strike along side your Non Credited Teachers, showing them that, without students they cannot be “Teachers”. I strongly believe that Colleges are allowing this strike to happen so that they can increase their tutitions, so that the fat cats on top can get their raises too! Sorry, but its the honest truth I know a few!!
    STRENGTH IN NUMBERS…REMEMBER there are more STUDENTS than teachers!! Students can finally take a stand, but you must work together!!! Good Luck!!

  25. I agree with most of whats being said, but please don’t teacher bash. Many of the teachers of my College are completely against what is happening, but they can’t do anything as they represent such a small number. Lets look more closely at union rules. Only 27% voter turnout, and 57% of them voted yes? That means only 16-17% of teachers actually voted yes for this. Something needs to change.

  26. oh typo, just got that, i guess thats a bit better/worse

  27. its called the students should protest…not strike…

  28. i don’t know where you people are getting your numbers but the turnout was almost 75% … as a student who has to pay rent and everything else this strike is a huge no on my list its a waste of students time and money.

    so first like i said stop making up imaginary numbers because the 75% turn out is at the end of the article
    and second any student who agrees with this strike is a fool and an idiot … nobody ever wins with a strike !!!

  29. I highly doubt there will be a strike. 57% is not a strong mandate, it means nearly 1 of every 2 members voted NOT to strike (and 5-6 colleges). In addition, there are many, many part-time and sessional teachers (like me) who could not vote but do not want to strike because it will mean we could be laid off (this was written into our contracts this year at our College). The Colleges know that, and will use it to their advantage in negotiations.

    There are some really important issues at stake here that will affect quality of education. Those issues are getting lost in management’s spin (“it’s about the money”) and the union’s utter lack of communication and clarity to the media and its members… for example, today our local has yet to issue any kind of statement about the result of the vote here.

    Both sides are entrenched and unwilling to work together to find common ground at this point. But I believe management has the upper hand due to the lack of a strong mandate and current public sentiment, which is decidedly anti-union.

    I left the private sector (with a huge cut in pay) to teach 3 years ago, and it’s unbelievably rewarding work — and despite what others might say, we have it pretty good compared to the private sector. It’s not perfect, but no job ever is.

    Despite the rhetoric, students don’t seem to factor much on either party’s radar, and for me, that is extremely frustrating to witness. Personally I want this to just be resolved so I can go back to working with my students without this strike hanging over our heads.

  30. I’m looking for anyone who wants to share an opinion on the college strike vote for a story I’m writing for the Canadian University Press newswire. Please get in touch at ontario.bureau@cup.ca if you can help me out!

    thanks.

  31. I’ve been disillusioned about the sincerity of most teachers a long, long time ago. It is extremely rare to find a good and caring teacher who actually chose their profession out of a love for teaching. To those few and hard to find souls, I really do wish that you would get that 2.5%/year increment (or at least close to it) cause well, teaching is not easy. You shouldn’t have to suffer because you care.

    But wait. If you do care, then you will also realise that we who are attending colleges are most likely there because we have no other choice. The current state of affairs is so dire in the world right now that finding a job is next to impossible. My best guess is that of those who are unemployed are getting re-educated simply cause we will just not get meaningful work without that extra credential. And BOY are we paying through our noses at that!

    Look, you may not get what you want, you may not get a nice and jolly increase in your salaries each year but at least you are employed full-time. Please take a moment and step into our shoes and think – “hmm, if I go on strike, that will push the date of completion for my students back a month or so which means – hmm, they will be unemployed or underpaid for and additional 2-3 months if not more. All those hopeful people, all going hungry for another few months. Hmm, am I really that evil? Or maybe I just didn’t think it through… ya, on second thought, I WILL say no to a strike and will wait a year or two for the economy to pick itself up before I try to fatten my pockets a bit more.

    I certainly hope that’s what you’ll think… but then, that rare caring teacher is hard to find, gee… I’m repeating myself.

  32. I am a part time college teacher, I do not belong to a union, I have no use for unions. I think it is most unfortunate students who want to learn are forced to sit idly by while their instructors figure out how to not have to walk the picket line.

    I’d love to see a class action suit by students against the union and the colleges for compromising the integrity of their eventual diploma, lost class time and wasted tuition. They all work for you – you are the client, they are your employee!

  33. If you want Canada to become a third world country, then ban all unions and all employee rights and allow corporations and governments to run everything for their benefit alone.
    We are Canadian, we have the right to decent working conditions, stable conditions and a living wage if we are willing and able to do the work. Allowing the governments and corporations to act without any regard for their employees is resulting in the weak and unstable economy that we have.
    Be careful what you ask for.

  34. I am a faculty member at an Ontario college. I enjoy my job, I do not “work to rule” in any way, and I am NOT a clock-watcher. There! I’ve just banished three myths about the “evil, greedy college faculty”.

    I do not support this impending strike. I look at the money I make, and my job conditions, and shake my head when I have friends who would figuratively kill to have the salary, hours, and benefits I now enjoy.

    The union (OPSEU) has done absolutely nothing to help me since I have been a college employee. All it has done is to impede my professional progress, and make it more difficult for me to do my job efficiently, because of arbitrary workload rules in the collective agreement. To top it off, my union stewards treat me like a piece of dirt. They are rude and condescending to me.

    On the other hand, I am well liked by my students, my superiors, and the vast majority of my non-militant colleagues. What does that say?

  35. Unions are the most insidious form of groupthink there is.

    For those who may not know – or may not remember – what groupthink is, it is a method of consensus buliding in which the opinions of anywhere from a few lone dissenters to a substantial minority are consciously stifled for fear of “rocking the boat”, or delaying the resolution of an issue.

    With unions, there is this little thing called solidarity. We are all supposed to be “brothers” and “sisters”. That means we are not supposed to disagree with what the majority think. This turns us from individuals with the capacity to analyze issues at face value, into nameless entities who follow the masses for fear of upsetting the membership.

    Many, many of Ontario’s community college faculty think that even contemplating a strike in today’s economic reality is sheer foolhardiness. We would love to speak out against it vocally. However, with the exception of anonymous forums like the present, we are often afraid to broadcast our true feelings because when the dust settles – strike or no strike – we are the ones who will have to work with our colleagues again, including ardent supporters of strike action.

    I therefore urge anyone who would use forums like this one to slam college faculty as a whole, to think twice before posting. I have read many comments over the past weeks, on a variety of sites, which have had as their message, “fire all the teachers”, “let them starve”, etc. Please consider the truth I have written above, and understand that a good many of us do NOT want this strike, nor are we dissatisfied with our jobs, pay, benefits, etc. In some ways, we are only following the union train because we have no choice in the matter.

    Is that “democracy”? I think not. Is it reality? Most definitely.

  36. Bravo to Richard the faculty member. As a former college Dean in Ont., I can attest to the fact that there are many dedicated and hard working faculty members like Richard, and that they are the glue and guts of what is good about the Ont. college system. Unfortunately, they are in a minority position when it comes to driving OPSEU agenda.

    The mondern union reality is that it must cater to and protect its lowest common denominator, which is a minority of vocal faculty members who have become deeply entrenched in a mentality of entitlement. There are many faculty members who have completely forgotten what “an honest day’s work” means; what integrity and accountability mean; what true hardship entails. My experience was that the biggest complainers (the “squeaky wheels” who get the most union attention and drive union agenda) are always those faculty members who are simply lazy, greedy and don’t give a damn about students and quality education.

    I had many faculty members who regularly cancelled or cut classes early (in many instances so that they could go to their second job), who saw themselves as “untouchable” (the exact word used many times by my problem faculty members), and who treated students like crap on a regular basis. These “professors” in some cases did not even possess an undergraduate degree. They had 10 to 12 hours of contact (class) time per week, and they “worked” maybe 7 months of the year tops (gone – nowhere to be seen between mid-April & Sept). These “professors” had been doing their classes for so many years that there was no “prep” time required on their part. They just spewed out the same teacher-centered lecture term after term, year after year – with no effort whatsoever to be inovative, creative and progressive. In fact, the union aggressively dumped all over those faculty members who dared to work even one extra minute that wasn’t precisely calculated on their “SWF” work agreement for the term. OPSEU effectively stiffled any extra effort on the part of the truly dedicated and caring professors – those who just wanted to do the job and loved being a teacher. As for “marking” and “student” time, give me a break! The squeaky wheels used the same multiple choice exams year after year (and went balistic when students somehow got copies of exams and cheated – go figure). They marked these exams using a machine (five minutes of their time – tops!) These were the same faculty members who refused to post their hours on the doors of their very nice, individual offices, so that students would know when they could make appointments to see them. These were the same faculty members who regularly complained to the union about any direction from the Dean or management that even hinted at a lack of accountability, professionalism, integrity etc on the part of faculty.

    “Bums in seats” is the #1 priority and bottom line of the Ont college system. It is a business plain and simple, and one that is unfortunately (for students) saddled with a faculty union that has firmly established an out-of-touch culture of entitlement and fear. There is no question in my mind that OPSEU (and a paralizing fear on the part of spineless College Human Resource Directors to stand up to the union in any meaningful way) will ultimately lead students to choose other post-secondary options – it will simply become too expensive. The answer, in my view, is that the silent majority of “good” professors must speak up and be heard. They must attend union meetings and vote! They must speak up against the minority of “squeaky wheel” lazy and greedy faculty members who give them all (and the college system as a whole) a truly horrible reputation.

    Thanks for the opportunity to rant.

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