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College Teachers To Vote On Contract Offer

If their employers have their way, college teachers will soon vote on what is being called their final offer.

Ontario’s College Compensation and Appointments Council
has asked the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) to step in and arrange the vote. However, the date of the ballot has not yet been decided.

The request comes just one day after the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) set a strike date of February 11.

OPSEU represents about 9,000 teachers at the province’s 24 colleges.

Last week, the Council put the deal on the table, but OPSEU shot down the offer without taking it to a vote.

Just over half – 57 per cent – of teachers voted in favour of a strike mandate earlier this month.

“The proposed collective agreement provides fair and reasonable improvements and is one that we hope faculty will support,” said Dr. Rachael Donovan, chair of the colleges’ bargaining team.

“If the majority of faculty votes in favour of the final offer, there will be a full collective agreement in place, the strike will be avoided, and we can all focus our attention on our students and their success.”

The chair of the union, meanwhile, said on Tuesday that he had always been open to a free vote.

“All along, the Colleges had the legal right to present their offer to our members,” Ted Montgomery said in a press release.

“They claimed that we were preventing our members from voting. Nothing is further from the truth. In actual fact, the employer had this option all along, but for some reason refused to do it and blamed the union instead.”

Earlier, Montgomery had said the union is willing to send all outstanding issues to binding arbitration if a settlement cannot be reached.

OPSEU is recommending its member vote ‘no.’

The colleges’ final offer is a three-year deal that includes:

  •  5.9 per cent salary increase
  • new maximum salary of $102,186 by September 1, 2011 – an increase of approximately $5,650 over the previous collective agreement maximum
  • workload protections contained in the last collective agreement are enhanced based on the recommendations of the Joint Workload Taskforce.