09
September
2011
|
06:06 PM
America/New_York

UPDATED: Important information for Distance Education students

Update from the College Employer Council


The colleges are more than willing to go back to the table but going back to the table to talk about the union’s unaffordable positions will not get us a deal.


Unfortunately, the prospects of reaching a negotiated settlement are not positive so long as the union’s bargainers do not accept the economic realities and remain unwilling to modify their positions.


The union has not moved from its unaffordable wage and benefit positions of August 31, including 3% annual wage increases.


The fastest way to end the strike is to get a negotiated settlement, but we can only accept a deal that is reasonable to our employees and affordable for the colleges.


The colleges’ put forward a good offer that increases salaries by 4.8% over three years with no concessions from employees.




Frequently asked questions


Bargaining


1. Why is there no bargaining going on?


The colleges are more than willing to go back to the table but going back to the table to talk about the union’s unaffordable positions will not get us a deal.


The colleges made a good offer to reach a negotiated settlement, but instead OPSEU chose to launch this unnecessary strike.


2. What will it take to get the two sides together?


The colleges have always wanted to reach a negotiated settlement that is reasonable to our employees and affordable to the colleges.


Unfortunately, the prospects of reaching a negotiated settlement are not positive so long as the union’s bargainers do not accept the economic realities and remain unwilling to modify their positions.


3. What are the main issues to be resolved?


The colleges’ put forward a good offer that increases salaries by 4.8% over three years with no concessions from employees.


The colleges’ offer will increase wages by 1.5% in year one, 1.5% in year two and 1.75% in year three. This is a reasonable offer and in line with other OPSEU and broader public sector settlements that were averaging 1.2% annual increases in July.


Unfortunately, the union has not moved from its unaffordable wage and benefit positions of August 31st, including 3% annual wage increases.


Part-time Employment


4. What about part-time employees, the union has said this is a big issue for them?


The issue of part-time employment has not been part of the discussion by either the colleges or the union.


No provision in the colleges’ proposals would increase the use of part-time employees. In fact, the existing collective agreement gives preference to full-time over part-time employment.


The union has no proposals on the table that would alter or limit the use of part-time employees.


5. Are the colleges reducing the number of full-time employees?


The colleges have actually increased the number of full-time support staff over the past two years – up from 6,751 in 2008 to 6,936 in 2010.


Proposals are Posted Online


6. Where can I find the colleges’ and the union’s proposals?


Both proposals have been posted at the College Employer Council website: www.thecouncil.on.ca


We encourage people to visit the site and read the proposals.


7. Why should I believe that the union’s real proposals have been posted?


Rod Bemister, the chair of the union bargaining team, confirmed in a September 7 Twitter post (@Caats_bargain) that the proposals posted on the Council’s website are the union’s and the colleges’ proposals that were on the table when the strike started.


8. Why hasn’t OPSEU posted its own proposal?


That’s a good question for OPSEU. We posted both proposals so that support staff and the public can review the proposals in their entirety.


9. Did the colleges actually table the proposal, I’m hearing otherwise?


The colleges’ proposal was tabled with the union during bargaining at 8:00 p.m. on August 31, 2011. It is posted on the College Employer Council website www.thecouncil.on.ca


 Employees Returning to Work


10. Are the colleges encouraging employees to cross the picket line?


During a strike employees can choose to serve on the picket line, come into work or just stay at home. Whatever an employee chooses, we will fully respect that decision.


Employees have the right to continue to work during a strike, provided the College has work available. The law specifically gives employees that right. Each College has already indicated that those employees who wish to work will be accommodated.


11. Will OPSEU fine employees who cross the line?


Employees have the right to continue to work and we would be disappointed if OPSEU tried to impede these rights.


In the event employees choose to exercise their right to work and OPSEU attempts to impose a fine, the College will refuse to implement such a fine.


If OPSEU attempts to recover this money from employees through the Court system, we will provide employees with legal counsel for defense at our expense.


In the unlikely event that the Courts uphold these “fines,” we will pay them.