College faculty call for strike vote as management refuses to deal with core issues
Toronto - The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) has asked the Ontario
Labour Relations Board (OLRB) to schedule a September strike vote for faculty at
Ontario public colleges.
The chair of the union bargaining team, JP Hornick, says the vote should come as
no surprise to college management, given their refusal to deal with the core issues
raised by faculty.
"For students and faculty alike, the learning and teaching environment plays a critical
role in the success of the college system," said Hornick. "We've put forward proposals
that would improve academic decision-making through collegial governance and academic
freedom, create fairness in how partial-load and contract faculty are treated, and
support the success of students.
"Together, our better plan will provide students with the quality education that
they deserve – and that will benefit their future employers, and our province as
Under the Colleges Collective Bargaining Act (CCBA), the OLRB is responsible for
scheduling a strike vote when requested by the union bargaining team. The team has
asked for a date in the second week of September, after faculty have returned for
the fall term.
Hornick added that the team is committed to continuing to bargain for a settlement,
not a strike, but that the result of the vote will help send a clear message to
"We are asking members for a strong 'YES' vote to help the team push for the best
OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas expressed his disappointment with management's
refusal to engage with the ideas put forward to improve Ontario's college system.
"Our colleges have played a vital role in providing access to education for the
past 50 years," said Thomas. "But to make sure they can continue to do this for
the next 50, there are some serious problems to be addressed.
"College faculty are committed to providing high-quality education for the hundreds
of thousands of students who rely on Ontario colleges to prepare them for the rest
of their lives. It's time for management to listen to their expertise on how best
to do that."
The OPSEU collective agreement for college faculty will expire on September 30,