September 21, 2017
TORONTO – The union bargaining team for 12,000 Ontario college faculty has asked the conciliator in its negotiations with the College Employer Council to issue a “no-board” report, a move that will put the parties in a legal strike or lockout position by mid-October.
Under the Colleges Collective Bargaining Act (CCBA), either party can request a no-board report, which is typically issued within a few working days of the request. From there, workers can strike, or their employer can lock them out, 16 days later.
Union bargaining team chair JP Hornick said calling for the no-board report is an attempt to trigger real negotiations around education quality, fairness for contract faculty, and other issues.
“Unfortunately, our employer’s approach to this round is based on demanding concessions and refusing to engage with our proposals at all,” she said. “It is our hope that a no-board report will make the colleges see that the way through the current impasse is through constructive negotiation.”
The union has not set a strike date, Hornick emphasized. The CCBA requires the parties to give five days’ notice of a strike or lockout. “If negotiations are moving forward as we approach the legal strike or lockout position, we will continue bargaining,” she said.
OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas said the colleges appear to be “out of step” with the thinking of their major funder, the Government of Ontario.
“At Queen’s Park yesterday, The Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development, and the Minister of Labour, both displayed a real willingness to work together with us to resolve the serious issues in the colleges,” he said. “I advise the colleges to listen much more closely to what is being said at Queen’s Park so we can come to a settlement that is acceptable to both sides.”