Ontario Independent

Thursday, June 30, 2022

After a union ultimatum, a strike is looming for 24 Ontario colleges

Key Takeaways:

  • Thousands of faculty members from Ontario’s 24 public colleges have given their employer an ultimatum.
  • A work-to-rule campaign was launched by members of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, who represent faculty at Ontario colleges.

Thousands of faculty members at Ontario’s 24 public colleges have issued an ultimatum to their employer, indicating that they are prepared to walk off the job on Friday unless the labor dispute is resolved through arbitration.

On Monday, the bargaining team for about 16,000 professors, instructors, counselors, as well as librarians sent an open letter to college presidents, urging them to agree to send all outstanding issues to binding interest arbitration, which would permit a neutral 3rd party to impose a compromise solution.

Members will “have no choice” but participate in a full strike beginning at 12:01 a.m. on March 18 if the College Employer Council (CEC) does not agree to binding interest arbitration.

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“What I can say is that in our division’s recent history, every significant labor conflict or strike that I can think of has ended in binding interest arbitration.” This sometimes necessitates a strike. This time, we’re willing to refer all outstanding problems to binding interest arbitration without a strike, as well as if we do end up with a strike that results in binding interest arbitration, I’d have to tell that’s entirely on management,” Professor Jonathan Singer, a member of the bargaining committee, told CP24 on Monday afternoon. “If they (the employer) truly believe their roles are reasonable, they should feel confident enough to pursue it in binding interest arbitration.”

Since December, members of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, who represent faculty at Ontario colleges, have participated in a work-to-rule campaign.

After the union issues an ultimatum, a strike is looming for 24 Ontario colleges
After the union issues an ultimatum, a strike is looming for 24 Ontario colleges. Image from iHeartRadio

They claim in their letter that they tried to minimize the impact on students but that they now assume the colleges are “moving toward a lockout rather than negotiating a deal” after 62% of members rejected a “final offer” on February 17.

In a statement on its website, the College Employer Council stated that it is “not seeking anything at all from the union” and thus cannot agree to binding interest arbitration.

“The CEC will not agree to have an arbitrator’split the difference’ on key issues that colleges have already declared to be unacceptable.” They stated, “In essence, there is nothing to split.”

Source: CTV news

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