Management Update November 18, 2021
CAAT-A Team Forces No Board Report
Management Update November 18, 2021
Conciliation has ended and bargaining between the College Employer Council (CEC) and OPSEU CAAT-A team representing full-time and partial-load faculty, librarians, and counsellors has reached an impasse. Today, the CAAT-A team presented their bottom-line proposal and let the CEC know they are unwilling to move any further on key issues. The CEC has asked for a No Board report as a result of the CAAT-A team’s insistence on maintaining demands that the Colleges cannot agree to.
For more than five months, the parties have been meeting without success. Mediation failed and now conciliation has failed. Neutral third-party assistance has not helped and yet the CAAT-A team is now recommending an arbitrator make decisions on their behalf. During conciliation, the CAAT-A team proposed sending all of the outstanding issues to voluntary binding interest arbitration. This would result in the imposition of the terms of a collective agreement by a third party.
“In a labour relations context, the parties have the fundamental obligation to bargain. Delegating that obligation to an arbitrator abdicates our shared responsibility. The CAAT-A team’s approach to bargaining also remains, as Mediator Keller said, faulty as it is not meant to reach an agreement through negotiations,” said Graham Lloyd, CEO of CEC. “After five months of bargaining, we are not prepared to give away the agency to make fundamental changes to the collective agreement to a third party.”
“The CEC team has tabled four separate offers since February. The parties appeared to move close to a deal before conciliation, but then discussions stalled. The CAAT-A team has maintained demands that Mediator Keller said in his report were unreasonable and had no chance of leading to a negotiated agreement. We have, therefore, asked the Conciliator to issue a No Board Report. The CAAT-A team is clearly no longer interested in bargaining. We believe that we have no choice but to move the process forward.”, said Dr. Laurie Rancourt, Chair of the CEC Management Bargaining team. “The Colleges do not want students and employees to be negatively impacted because of the unwillingness of the CAAT-A team to bargain in good faith and work towards concluding a collective agreement.”
After more than 7 days to consider the CEC offer, the CAAT-A team tabled a revised proposal that showed no significant movement and maintained untenable demands which they know the Colleges cannot accept. Essentially, the CAAT-A team presented their proposal as a take-it-or-leave-it offer stating they were unprepared to move any further on any of their key issues.
A No Board Report allows both parties to move the bargaining process towards a conclusion. The CEC remains committed to concluding a collective agreement and a No Board report does not prevent that. Rather, moving the process forward in this way adds pressure for both parties to compromise and reach a settlement. As the CAAT-A team is currently not willing to move, a No Board report is the only path forward.
The CAAT-A team might say that this is an escalation. It is not. A No Board Report is an indispensable tool available to both parties. It acknowledges that bargaining has reached an impasse. The CAAT-A team might say that the Colleges will lock-out faculty. We will never lock-out faculty. The CAAT-A team might say that this leads to a strike. As a reminder, the CEC cannot initiate a strike, only the CAAT-A team can. Strikes start with strike votes.
Currently, the settlement proposals from both parties are very close in many of the areas of shared interest. The CEC cannot surpass the limitations of Bill 124 (proposals on full-time and partial-load workload) nor can the Colleges agree to remove decision-making abilities from faculty and managers and place them in the hands of arbitrators. We encourage everyone to review both the CEC and the CAAT-A team proposals on www.collegeemployercouncil.ca .