Category Archives: Strike

Ontario, unions may clash over deficit cuts

Job Losses Likely; All options are on the table: Finance Minister

By Mohammed Adam, Canwest News Service

The gathering storm could engulf Ontario’s 1.2 million public-sector employees as municipalities, hospitals, school boards, colleges and universities brace for provincial cuts that could trigger local austerity measures, and set workers on a collision course with their employers.

Ontario’s 24 community colleges are now in a tug-of-war with the Ontario Public Sector Employees Union, which has rejected a three-year, 5.9 per cent pay increase. About 9,000 college teachers and ancillary workers have given OPSEU a strike mandate, and the teachers could hit the picket lines next month.

In the early 1990s when Jean Chretien’s Liberals faced a large deficit, they cut programs and reduced the federal public service by about 55,000 employees, many through attrition.

About the same time in Ontario, Mr. Rae forced public-sector workers to take 12 days of unpaid time off to avoid cutting 40,000 jobs.

His party suffered and he still carries the scars, even though he is now a federal Liberal MP.

His Tory successor Mike Harris’ approach, which was met with a rash of strikes, was no-holds-barred funding cuts to everything from education to welfare, transit and municipal transfers.

Posted by Jane Campus

More Strike FAQs

If you have a question that isn’t listed below, please let us know and we’ll do our best to get you an answer.

Q –When did the professors’ collective agreement expire?
A –The current collective agreement for the full-time academic bargaining unit expired on August 31, 2009.  To date, they are working under new terms and conditions imposed by the colleges on November 18, 2009.

Q -Who would be going on strike?
A –In the event of a strike, it would be the nearly 9,000 full- and partial load professors, librarians, counselors that would be on the picket line.

Q -Have there been previous strikes in the college system?
A –Yes, there have been three strikes previously in the Ontario college system.  There was a strike in 1984, 1989 and during the last round of bargaining in 2006.

Q -Have students ever lost their semester or year due to a work stoppage?
A
-No!  In the last round of bargaining, colleges put in place semester completion strategies to ensure that all students were able to finish their semester.  Semester Completion Strategies might include a condensing of course material and/or extending the semester and will be posted on the college’s website, in the event of a strike.

Q -How will my classes be affected?
A –In the event of a strike by the full-time academic bargaining unit, your classes would more than likely be canceled.

Q -Can faculty be replaced by supply faculty?
A –It is very unlikely that the colleges would use supply faculty or instructors, but that is a decision that can only be made by the college.

Q –I’m taught by a part-time professor, would they be on strike too?
A –No, part-time professors are not part of the same bargaining and as such will be expected to report to work the same for full- and part-time support staff workers.

Q -What services will remain open on campus during a strike?
A –What services remain open during a strike will vary by college, so it is best to check with your college what services they will be running, in the event of a strike.

Q -Can I cross a picket line?
A –Yes, you can cross a picket line if you wish to.  People on the picket line will only want to speak with you about their position, so remain calm, polite and listen.

Q -What if I do not feel safe crossing a picket line?
A –You should not have a problem crossing a picket line as long as you are respectful and let the academic staff provide you with their material.

Q -Will sports activities, including intramurals, continue through the duration of a strike?
A –In most cases, all activities, including pub nights, intramural and varsity sports would be postponed until the strike was over, but that decision would be up to the college and local student government.

Q -I live on campus.  How will a strike and picket line possibly affect my day-to-day living?
A –Most picket lines would be setup at or around the main entrance to the college campus, so it would depend where the residence is located.  Any service that have unionized employees will not cross another picket line, so you can expect those services (i.e Canada Post, Waste Management, Municipal Transit, etc.) not to be running.

Q -I have summer student employment scheduled to start in May.  What should I do?
A – We recommend you wait to see how long the strike would last before making any backup plans for employment.  After the previous faculty strike, colleges condensed the semester to ensure that students’ summer plans weren’t impacted too greatly.

Q -Will I be refunded for lost class time if classroom contact time is not extended to the end of the semester?
A –Whether or not a refund would be issued would be dependent on how long the work stoppage lasts.  In the previous strikes, no refunds were issued to students for the lost contact time.

Q -Or, will courses be condensed?  If so, will I receive a partial refund from the college?
A –Traditionally, refunds aren’t given even if the semester is condensed.

Q -My living arrangements end in April.  What should I do if the semester is extended?
A –Before making any decisions or extending your lease wait to see how things progress.  Traditionally, strikes in the college system have only lasted three weeks.

Q -Will OSAP claw back funding due to a college strike?
A
-During the last work stoppage OSAP did not clawback funding from students.  Any arrangements or changes to OSAP allocations will be communicated by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.

Posted by Jane Campus

College faculty vote results too close to be determined

OfferUndetermined.pdf (124 KB)
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 10, 2010
College faculty vote results too close to determine
TORONTO – Results of the vote by faculty in Ontario’s 24 community colleges on the employer’s last contract offer are too close to determine whether the offer has been accepted or rejected.
Faculty have voted 51 per cent to accept the employer’s offer, a margin of just 210 votes. Now at issue is the number of mail-in votes, over 300 ballots, which once received couldchange the vote results. Those results may not be known for up to 10 days or more.
Ted Montgomery, chair of the OPSEU bargaining team for the faculty, says that the union will have to get a clear determination of the final vote count before any decisions are made.
“Right now we do not have a clear and final majority either way,” Montgomery said. “Until we know for sure whether our members have accepted or rejected the employer offer, we cannot move forward.”
Montgomery said that if the offer is ultimately rejected, the union will then determine a new strike date and call on the Colleges to return to the bargaining table to negotiate a fair collective agreement.
“If rejected, we will ask the employer to immediately resume negotiations,” Montgomery said. “And, failing a negotiated contract, we will again urge the Colleges to submit all outstanding issues to binding arbitration.”
OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas says if the eventual outcome is a rejection of the employer’s offer, a strike can still be completely avoided. “We do not want any disruption to the students,” Thomas said. “We have maintained the position all along that if we can’t get an agreement, binding arbitration is how we want to proceed. If the Colleges don’t agree, then they and they alone will be responsible for
jeopardizing the education of 200,000 Ontario college students.”
For more information:
Ted Montgomery, Chair, OPSEU Negotiating Team
416-578-4255 (cell)
Don Ford, OPSEU Communications
416-788-9104

Posted by Jane Campus