OPSEU must let college faculty vote on offer

Union gives no response to colleges’ request to allow faculty to vote.

Union decision delayed until Monday.

(TORONTO, Jan. 29, 2010) – Ontario’s colleges are urging the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) to allow full-time faculty at the province’s 24 colleges to vote on the final contract offer.

“The colleges have made a good offer to faculty,” said Dr. Rachael Donovan, chair of the colleges’ bargaining team. “This offer increases the maximum salary to more than $102,000 by September of next year and protects the faculty’s workload provisions.

“OPSEU should allow faculty to participate in a supervised vote on the offer,” Dr. Donovan said. “No one wants to see the students’ year disrupted by a strike. OPSEU should allow faculty members at the 24 colleges to exercise their democratic right to vote.”

In an effort to avert a pending strike, the colleges’ presented its final offer to OPSEU on Wednesday. The key elements of the three-year offer are:

– A salary increase of 5.9 per cent over three years, which moves the maximum salary to $102,186 by Sept. 1, 2011.
– Workload protections contained in the last collective agreement remain intact.

The colleges had hoped to get a response from OPSEU on Thursday but the union’s bargaining team advised the mediator that they would not be able to respond to the request to hold a vote until next Monday (February 1).

“We need a supervised vote soon so that faculty members can make their decision known,” Dr. Donovan said. “There is no need for a strike at Ontario’s colleges, and OPSEU can avert a strike by allowing for a supervised vote on the colleges’ final offer.”

The Colleges Collective Bargaining Act allows the union to take a proposed collective agreement to the membership for a vote. That vote is to be conducted under the supervision of and in the manner prescribed by the Ontario Labour Relations Board.

“We certainly hope the union’s bargaining team, as the representative of the employees, will allow the members to make the decision as to whether they will accept the colleges’ final offer for a proposed collective agreement. That would be the democratic thing to do,” said Donovan. “If that vote was in favour of the offer, a collective agreement would be in place and a strike would be averted.”

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