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The College Employer Council (CEC) and the OPSEU CAAT-A union bargaining team (representing full-time and partial-load professors, instructors, librarians, and counsellors) are currently negotiating a collective agreement.

Formal negotiations between the parties started in July 2021. After many months of bargaining, mediation, and conciliation, the parties remain apart on key issues.

Currently, CAAT-A union membership is taking part in work-to-rule strike action. The below FAQ was created to help answer student questions about the ongoing labour dispute.

To review a glossary of terms, click here.

  • A strike may take different forms. In general, it is a refusal to work in the normal way that is designed to slow down, disrupt, or stop operations. A strike is organized by a Union as a form of protest typically in an attempt to force the employer to agree to their demands.
  • Unfortunately, in the Colleges, when a faculty member chooses to apply pressure by slowing down, disrupting or stopping work, these actions lead to varying degrees of negative impact on students.
  • Work-to-rule, partial walk-out, rotating strike, and full walk-out are all forms of strike.
  • In work-to-rule, employees perform only the duties that have been assigned, strictly adhering to policy and contract obligations.
  • In a partial walk-out, employees refuse to perform some of their assigned duties.  
  • In a rotating strike, employees walk out entirely for short periods of time at different institutions.
  • In a full walk-out strike, employees withdraw all their services and choose to walk the picket line.
  • Labour action does mean strike. Strike action can take various forms, which include: work-to-rule, partial walk-out, rotating strike, all the way up to a full walk-out.
  • Only the Union can determine what forms of strike action will occur and when.
  • In work-to-rule, employees perform only the duties that have been assigned, strictly adhering to policy and contract obligations.
  • In work-to-rule, teachers continue to teach their classes and perform duties as assigned.
  • The CEC and the Union are in agreement on the importance of working groups for Equity Diversity and Inclusivity (EDI), Indigeneity, and workload. The parties disagree on how recommendations from the working groups should be implemented.
  • Union demands on workload exceed limitations currently imposed by law (Bill 124) within the province of Ontario.
  • Additionally, the parties disagree on ownership of intellectual property and the Colleges’ right to assign work across employee groups.
  • Introducing terms and conditions means the Colleges make changes to the employment contracts of the bargaining unit members.
  • As of Monday December 13, the CEC has introduced terms and conditions to give employees raises, improve benefits, and initiate other improvements in working conditions.
  • This does not affect the delivery of your program or your classes, lock anyone out of the College, or mean that negotiations cannot continue.
  • No.
  • Introducing terms and conditions does not affect the ability of full-time and partial-load professors and instructors to teach. Nor will it affect the way in which classes are delivered.
  • Work-to-rule should not affect your classes.
  • Work-to-rule means employees continue to do their job performing duties they have been assigned such as teaching and grading.
  • The Colleges cannot force faculty to go on strike.
  • Only the Union team can determine what form of strike action it engages in (work-to-rule, partial walk-out, rotating strikes, walk-out).
  • They can last for a day or for an extended period of time.
  • Currently, the Union has been engaged in strike action since December 18, 2021.
  • In 2017, the Union engaged in a full walk-out strike that lasted for more than 5 weeks. Students were still able to complete their semester.
  • Yes, campuses will remain open subject to pandemic restrictions.
  • When picket lines occur, picketers cannot prevent access to those looking to enter campus.
  • In the event of a full walk-out which includes picket lines, information will be provided by your College on how to safely access campus.
  • There is the potential the Winter 2022 semester could be interrupted and/or extended.
  • The current strike action could escalate further. However, if the semester is impacted, Colleges will do everything possible to ensure that all students have the opportunity to complete the semester.
  • Go to your College website for updates on the labour dispute.
  • If you plan to visit campus, leave extra time for travelling to the college as picket lines may be set up at campus entrances and limit traffic flow.
  • If there is a full walk-out strike and you take transit to campus, be aware that transit buses will drop students off outside of the campus to respect picket lines.
  • The Colleges do not want there to be a strike.
  • The Colleges have made multiple offers in attempts to resolve all issues.
  • Voluntary binding interest arbitration is not the answer to concluding negotiations nor is it always what happens after a strike.
  • The parties have the responsibility to bargain and negotiate a settlement that both parties can live with. The Union has proposed to delegate its obligation to a third party and have an agreement imposed. 
  • Throughout the ongoing collective agreement negotiations, the CEC has been clear with the Union bargaining team about areas that still show room for common ground and which unreasonable and unlawful demands we cannot agree to.
  • The CEC is not prepared to have an arbitrator “split the difference” on key issues. 
  • In response to the union’s request for voluntary binding arbitration, the CEC had proposed final offer selection which built in the opportunity for mediation, and if an agreement could not be reached the selection of one proposal in its entirety.
  • The CEC believes its offer is fair and reasonably addresses the issues presented by the Union.
  • The Union demands do cost money and go against Bill 124.
  • The Union's demands affect the number of courses professors can teach in a semester. This will increase the overall cost to deliver college programs across the system.
  • The CEC has not walked away from the table.
  • The CEC remains engaged in the negotiation process and, once again, advanced a revised proposal on November 23 which the Union has yet to acknowledge or respond to.
  • We have offered through the conciliator to meet with the Union once they remove the unreasonable and unlawful demands from their proposal.
  • The CEC website contains information on the bargaining process and an ongoing archive of proposals from both parties.
  • Additionally, all news updates are published across CEC social media channels and the website.
  • Please visit CollegeEmployerCouncil.ca or follow the CEC on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or YouTube.
  • An “employer vote” is a vote by employees to accept or reject the final offer tabled by the employer.
  • The Employer only gets to request this vote once during a bargaining cycle.
  • The CEC believes faculty should have the chance to decide for themselves if they want to continue engaging in strike action or accept the employers offer.
  • Since July, the Union bargaining team has repeatedly suggested that the CEC put its offer to a vote.
  • The CEC believes its most recent offer addresses academic employees’ concerns in a reasonable and lawful way that promotes collaboration between the Union and management.
  • The CEC applied for a final offer vote on Monday January 17, 2022.
  • It takes approximately three weeks for the Ontario Labour Relations Board to organize a vote.
  • During this time, both the CEC and OPSEU review the voter lists to ensure all eligible academic employees receive a pin to vote.
  • The OLRB has confirmed the vote will take place virtually between February 15-17,2022.
  • No, it shouldn’t. If the offer is accepted, the labour dispute is over.
  • This vote is an opportunity for academic employees to voice their opinion on the employer offer by casting a vote to accept or reject the offer.
  • The CEC has urged the Union to allow teachers to continue teaching until the vote results come in.
  • Increase annual wage to the maximum, retroactive to October 1st 2021, as currently allowed under Bill 124.
  • Include medical cannabis coverage prescribed by a licensed physician to a maximum of $4000/year, subject to prior authorization by the insurer.
  • Enable Indigenous teachers to bring an elder or traditional knowledge keeper to the WMG as an advisor.
  • Enable Indigenous employees to bring an elder or traditional knowledge keeper to grievance meetings as an advisor.
  • Document Coordinator duties before an employee accepts a coordinatorship. Such acceptance will remain voluntary.
  • Update the counsellor class definition.
  • Enable Partial Load employees to accrue service for statutory Holidays on which they were scheduled to teach.
  • Change Partial Load registration date from October 30th to April 30th.
  • Extend Partial Load registration preference to courses which a partial load employee taught while part-time or sessional.
  • Continue Partial Load priority for a course even if the course code changes, unless there has been a major revision of the course or curriculum.
  • Add a new Letter of Understanding regarding the creation of a Workload Committee. The parties agree to engage in a two-step process with the purpose of resolving workload considerations. The Committee shall discuss and examine issues relating to the assignment of work to full-time faculty under Article 11 and to partial-load faculty under Article 26.
  • Recognize the parties’ shared commitment to achieving employment equity within the college system. The parties shall establish a subcommittee of the Union/College Committee who shall, working in consultation with the existing college committees addressing EDI issues, report to the full UCC which shall then make annual recommendations to the President.
  • Add new Letter of Understanding on Indigenization, Decolonization, and Truth and Reconciliation. OPSEU shall join with the CEC in establishing a collaborative Indigenous-driven process to work on issues related to Indigeneity in the context of employment under the Academic and Support Staff collective agreements within the Colleges.
  • Identify two Indigenous arbitrators to be added to the list of arbitrators used in arbitration processes and listed in the Collective Agreement.