The threat of an Ontario wide college faculty strike remains, even as talks between the union and college administrators resumed Monday. Talks initially broke down earlier this Month when the College Compensation and Appointments Council imposed a contract on faculty. Provincial legislation permits college management to unilaterally draw up an agreement when negotiations stall. This power does not necessarily preclude renewing negotiations.
Bargaining started up again with both sides claiming credit for the meeting. However, a union negotiator told SooToday.com that the talks are “only for Monday,” suggesting that a strike remains a real possibility.
The Ontario Public Service Employees Union, representing 9,000 faculty at 24 community colleges, wants greater commitments on workloads and educational quality. The union also wants academic freedom to be protected in colleges the way it is in universities. While OPSEU insists wages are not the issue, management says OPSEU’s initial offer was unaffordable.
As late as Sunday, the union was still supportive of a strike at the earliest possible moment, and faculty at several colleges have strike votes planned for the new year. A strike would affect as many as 200, 000 students.