Management Bargaining Team Update October 28 2021
MEDIATION TERMINATED: CAAT-A DEMANDS “COMPLETELY UNREALISTIC”
Report Shows Academic Bargaining team (CAAT-A) ignores mediator advice and continues strike-focused approach
The Colleges, represented by the College Employer Council (CEC) and the OPSEU CAAT-A team representing full-time and partial-load faculty, librarians, and counsellors, entered into mediation on Tuesday, September 28, 2021. The CAAT-A team requested mediation and nominated M. Brian Keller as mediator. Today, Mediator Keller terminated mediation and issued a mediation report that is scathing in its criticism of both the approach to bargaining and the demands tabled by the CAAT-A bargaining team.
On Thursday, October 28, 2021 Mr. Keller issued a Mediation Report in which he advises that he was terminating mediation because of CAAT-A's refusal to table reasonable demands:
“In summary, in my view, the CAAT-A team has not engaged in meaningful bargaining with a view to concluding a collective agreement. In my preliminary, and subsequent meeting with the CAAT-A team, I believed I had clearly articulated that almost all that was being sought was unachievable either through direct negotiations with the employer or, if it came to that, in binding arbitration. I am still firmly of that opinion. Many of the CAAT-A team’s remaining demands are highly aspirational and completely unrealistic. The CAAT-A team claims to recognize that but has showed no willingness to sufficiently moderate its demands to give me any hope that further mediation at this stage could result in a negotiated agreement.”
Since the outset of bargaining, the CEC has been concerned that the CAAT-A team intends to cause a strike over unreasonable and unlawful demands that it knows are unachievable through bargaining. Mediator Keller confirmed this belief:
“It is not my role, as mediator, to question the strategy of either party. Whatever the strategy of the CAAT-A team was or is, however, it is evident to me that the strategy is faulty if the true goal of the CAAT-A team is to achieve a renewal collective agreement through negotiations with the CEC.”
“In my opinion, the proposed changes to article 11 (except 11.02 B 2) [changes to the workload formula] would offend and be contrary to Bill 124, even if the consequence is indirect. This is because there would be a reduction in the amount of work being performed for the same compensation and would require the employer to hire more people to do the required work, thus resulting in an increase beyond the 1% increase permitted legislatively to the total compensation envelope. The same rationale applies to the article 26.01 [changes to partial-load faculty workload] and the Classification Plan proposals [changes to step calculations].”
The CEC team is taking time to digest the report and consider next steps. We encourage everyone to read the report (available here) for themselves to better understand Keller's analysis and the failure of the CAAT-A team to bargain. We are committed to ensuring labour stability for all members of the college community-- faculty, staff, and students alike.