Bargaining FAQ November 26

November 26, 2021

Bargaining FAQ

The College Employer Council (CEC) has observed a growing interest in the FOS. We've also received a number of questions. We hope the following FAQ sheet below will help clarify the process.

1. The CEC has Proposed Final Offer Selection Arbitration.  What is Final Offer Selection (FOS)?

The details of the CEC FOS were provided to the CAAT-A Team.  The full CEC proposal can be found here LINK.
This form of arbitration allows both parties to fully present the merits of their respective proposals (CAAT-A November 18 proposal and CEC November 23 proposal) to a neutral arbitrator (In this case, William Kaplan who was suggested by the CAAT-A Team).  FOS would allow the arbitrator, through a facilitation with both the CAAT-A Team and the CEC, similar to mediation, to determine whether an agreement can be reached on the outstanding issues.  If agreement cannot be reached, the Arbitrator would award one party’s proposal in its entirety without any modifications. This process permits further negotiation while providing for a final determination that ends bargaining without labour disruption.

2. Why would the CAAT-A Team Reject FOS?

We see no reason why the CAAT-A Team would reject FOS. The CAAT-A team has repeatedly publicly stated that its demands and offers are entirely reasonable, moderate, and necessary. It has said that to its members in many publications and it has said that to the CEC at the bargaining table. 

Assuming those assertions are true, there is no reason that the CAAT-A team would reject FOS and not put their offer to Arbitrator Kaplan as an FOS Arbitrator. In the interest of the entire provincial college community, we hope they will accept this FOS Arbitration offer and thus ensure labour stability for the system before the Winter Holidays.

On November 18, 2021, the CAAT-A Team informed CEC that it was not prepared to move any further on its key proposals. The CAAT-A Team specifically informed CEC and publicly stated that if its November 18, 2021 Offer was not acceptable then we should take it to interest arbitration.

FOS does not allow the arbitrator to modify either party’s settlement proposal.  Rather the Arbitrator will select the offer that best reflects what can be achieved in free collective bargaining.  If the CAAT-A team’s demands are entirely reasonable, moderate and necessary and the CEC’s proposal is regressive and punitive, as they have said, then they should embrace FOS.

The CAAT-A team and Local Presidents have published on Social Media and in a letter campaign to College Presidents, statements such as “If the colleges cared about students they would agree to arbitration to prevent labour disruption”. Colleges have agreed to FOS arbitration. We do not know why CAAT-A Team would not support it as a means to get its final offer accepted.

3. Is a Strike Necessary?

No. It is important to look at the status of bargaining. Without the FOS, and if the CAAT-A Team insists upon what it has said is its bottom line, there will be a strike. With the CAAT-A Team’s current demands a strike will only be ended by Return to Work Legislation and Interest Arbitration on each party’s full set of proposals tabled at the outset of bargaining.

The question to then ask is whether the difference between interest arbitration and Final Offer Selection arbitration is worth striking over. 

As a reminder, the CEC cannot initiate a strike, only the CAAT-A team can. Strikes start with strike votes. The Colleges will never lock-out faculty.

The CEC has requested FOS Arbitration to avoid a strike and any labour interruption. This proposal gives what the CAAT-A team wants: an arbitration deciding which offer to accept. 

4. When will the union be in a position to strike?

The Union can legally strike five days after receiving a “Yes” mandate through the Strike Vote. The Strike Vote is tentatively scheduled to close on December 11, 2021. Therefore, the Union could commence a strike on December 16, 2021.
Only the Union can initiate a strike. Once a mandate is given, the CAAT-A Team can call a strike at any time without further consultation.

5. Has the CEC walked away from the table/refusing to meet with the CAAT-A Team?

No, the CEC remains engaged in the negotiation process and recently advanced a revised proposal on November 23, 2021, and the FOS proposal on November 25, 2021. The FOS includes a facilitation process where further bargaining may occur without the need for the final selection.