Update: college strike averted . . . maybe - Macleans.ca

Update: college strike averted . . . maybe

Faculty vote 51.25% in favour of the colleges’ final offer.


College faculty at Ontario’s 24 community colleges have voted narrowly to accept management’s final offer, with 51.25 per cent casting a ballot in favour of the deal. However, the results could change after the Ontario Labour Relations Board conducts an official count, including mail-in ballots.

For more coverage of this story, please click here

Rachel Donovan, chair of the college’s bargaining team, says the colleges are happy with the results, but nerves remain high due to the narrow margin of the vote. “We’re really pleased that so many faculty saw this offer as fair and reasonable, and one that they could accept,” she said. “Obviously we hope that the official results will be available soon.”

Ted Montgomery, chair of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union bargaining team, says the result is disappointing. “First of all we’re disappointed because it wasn’t a clear rejection vote, and it wasn’t a clear vote either way,” he said. “I think its just about the worst possible result.”

In a January vote, only 57 per cent of faculty voted to give OPSEU a strike mandate.

When asked if management would be willing to make any concessions if a recount shows that faculty actually rejected the offer, Donovan reiterated the college’s position that the proposal was a final one. “Well our position is that that was our final [offer] and we have given everything we have given . . . so it will be up to the union.”

Although Montgomery says he doesn’t “necessarily” think the recount will change the results, but if the vote does swing the other way, he indicated the colleges would have to move closer to OPSEU’s position. “If this offer is rejected, they’re going to have a hard time saying its they’re final offer,” he said.

According to Montgomery, there was only a difference of 200 votes, with at  least 300 ballots still to be counted.

The college’s brought the offer directly to faculty after the OPSEU bargaining team rejected the deal. The union had issued a strike deadline of Feb 17. For now both sides are awaiting official counts from the labour board.  As many as 500,000 students would affected by a strike.

Filed under:

Update: college strike averted . . . maybe

  1. You know what this means? It means either the teachers are money hungry enough to not fight for their rights, or they have absolutely no respect for their fellow teachers who are actually affected by this passing. They’ve just regressed 10 years as far as losing workload privileges. I’m ashamed of the teaching faculty, and they should be too.

  2. where is this information coming from?

  3. Did does not point to greed at all. Teachers keep the students in mind as well and they know the adverse affect a strike will have. As well with the economics being the way it is, this is not the time to fight.

    With that said, the results are unofficial and may be wrong.

  4. @WTF,

    This information comes from the Colleges Appointment and Compensation Council. More details will be posted shortly.


  5. Well…let the 51% who voted in favour be amoung the 1 out of 5 (20%) who accept the so-called FLEXIBLE workload, with up to 7 courses to teach per semester…. did somebody say BURN OUT? It’s the students who will suffer in the long run…

  6. Wow, some surly OPSEU union stewards posting here? As a student I am excited that the teachers accepted this more than fair offer as I can graduate in April as planned and not have to tell my future employer that I can’t start on May 3rd. This is great news.

  7. Perhaps the teachers realized that in today’s economy where so many are losing their jobs, so many people are being asked to compromise and so many are struggling just to send their children to institutions of higher learning, that they simply have accepted the reality that while not the best deal, it is an acceptable deal and it would appear they put the interests of the students before their self interests. Being the parent of two college/university students I thank them for their consideration and acceptance that our present economy begs for compromise and they did just that. I believe respect for these teachers has jumped considerably because of this show of understanding!

  8. i never seen any info posted about no strike? i dont know where ny one is getting any of this from???? be nice to know what to believe

  9. @Candice,

    The information posted here has been confirmed with the college bargaining team.

  10. The results are unofficial because there are over 300 mail-in ballots that have yet to be received. The vote was so close that the OPSEU is uncertain if the offer is accepted or rejected. The information is all here on this website. http://www.opseu.org/news/press2010/feb-10-2010.htm

  11. so is there a strike or no strike?

  12. OPSEU’s own site says that they voted 51% in favour of the offer. They wouldn’t report that if it weren’t true since it doesn’t help their cause. They wanted a strike after all. So good times, we can go to school!

  13. so am assuming there’s no strike?

  14. The strike has NOT been averted yet. OPSEU said it’s too narrow a margin and they’re waiting on the mail-in ballots.

  15. Jennifer has the correct information regarding the strike. It was extremely narrow, I read on a section of the OPSEU that since it was so narrow they might want to redo the vote, which is insanity. It looks like there wont be a strike, but there reviewing the votes, segregated votes, and mail in ballots before then can reach a final decision. My college just sent out an email saying the strike is most likely averted to their knowledge so everything looks fine for now!

  16. This indicates to me that OPSEU misrepresented their members interests!

    Bravo to the 51%!

  17. This means that statistically speaking, students have a 51% chance that the teacher in front of them every day has a brain in his/her head.

  18. To: Comment by College Prof.
    You must be one of the morons who voted against the offer. You obviously have no idea what you were even voting on. The AWF was already agreed to by OPSEU (our illustrious Union) the issue was 20% of faculty using vs the unions demand of10-15% of faculty using it. You didn’y know that because they never told you that. This Union is full of liars and cheats, they should be fired immediately.
    P.S. from a college prof who voted in favour of this very good deal. because he read the sdeal with a fine tooth comb.

  19. I don’t get the “brouhaha” over the Modified Workload Arrangement article. The union is saying this will result in a loss of 20% of full-time jobs, because faculty who cannot stand up for themselves will be suckered into taking on a Modified Workload Arrangement and accomplishing more work in a shorter time period. This is the classic view of the poor, helpless, stupid(?) worker capitulating to the demands of a horrible management. It’s mere propaganda, and has no basis in fact.

    I participated in a MWA two years ago. I loved the flexibility and the time off it gave me (I was even able to arrange a trip to Mexico in January, something I could not have done had I been on a SWF’ed arrangement). Where’s the hardship in that? I tried to do it again this year, but the union told me and my manager “no”, because they did not recognize the new “Collective Agreement.”

    Under management’s new deal, a MWA must be agreed upon by the manager and 2/3 of the professors in a program. Even then, the union is free to turn down the request at any time. Again, where is the coercion? If the union is that afraid of the effects of an “alternative workload assignment,” the language of this offer gives them the right to refuse 100% of these requests if they so choose.

    Read the offer, people, don’t just assume that because management created it, then it can’t be any good. Use your own heads rather than let the union tell you how to think.

  20. A lot of people (not all) are commenting on this issue and have absolutely no idea of what is coming out of their rear ends (to be polite) My spouse is a professor for one of those colleges and she voted to strike as did the majority of her workplace. The college gave them a very modest raise and basically said here..we are done now. And the teachers said here take back your money we don’t want it. Instead follow through with the panels recommendations you were suppose to follow and did not 3 years ago when the strike at that time went to arbitration. The college tried to give my spouse a class of 145 students times 5 (this was just one of 5 classes) and she refused. The workload is stressing the teachers to the point where it’s the students who are going to suffer. How is this in any way a quality education. If I am taking a course and having some difficulty, what is my wait time to get that help from that teacher who has just put in a 10 hour day and now has to book appointments past dinner time, with all the students in this enormous class that have questions or need extra help. Today she left at 6:30 am and didn’t come home until 5 pm. That is 10.5 hours and this was a light day. I could go one for another paragraph, but those of you who are intelligent get the picture. No one can criticize the teachers until you have walked a mile in their shoes.