First of all, the Local 653 Executive would like to send a sincere thank you to all members of Local 653 who participated in yesterday’s vote. Our democratic processes depend on your participation and we thank you regardless of how you voted.
The local results were distributed via email by President Lad Shaba last night. Local 653 voted 74.4% in favour of authorizing a strike mandate, which was a little higher than the provincial average of 68% in favour. According to our Bargaining Team, this is a very strong result and “close to a historic high for our division” when compared with past strike votes. Keep in mind that provincially our membership is incredibly diverse. We have very different structures and management styles across the 24 Colleges, and approximately 40% of our membership are Partial-Load. Getting 90%+ consensus in with such a diverse groups would be very difficult, and the Team is pleased with the mandate they have been given.
The natural question is “what now”? This is the first time a strike mandate vote has been held while we are still under contract. The Team will be back at the negotiating table on Monday, and we all hope that the message of the strike vote will be clear to the College Council: faculty are serious about the issues and will not be placated with a raise and more of the status quo. The team has always been looking for a negotiated settlement, and that has not changed. The hope is that now the other side will be willing to discuss the key issues and work with the union on an agreement both sides can live with.
Locally, we will continue to share information with you, and we encourage all our members to stay informed and to discuss the issues with your colleagues and the public. This is a fight you can be proud of. The changes we are seeking will improve the college system as a whole, and help to ensure program quality at Ontario Colleges. If we stay united and keep our eyes on the bigger picture we can have a positive impact that will last for decades to come.