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College Employer Council, OPSEU faculty get collective agreement

Groups awarded a new three-year deal through arbitration
Agreement
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College students can breathe a sigh of relief after the College Employer Council (CEC) and OPSEU academic employees bargaining teams came to a collective agreement today. 

This comes after both parties agreed to enter an unconditional interest arbitration before Arbitrator Kaplan to avoid a College-wide strike back in March of 2022. 

This agreement allowed both parties to put demands forward at mediation/arbitration and provide rationale for and against proposed changes. Additionally, the terms and conditions introduced by the Colleges in December which included wage and benefit increases remained in effect.

Some of the changes to the collective agreement include:

  • Commitment to supporting Indigenous faculty
  • Commitment to EDI
  • Update to the counsellor class definition
  • Changes to priority for partial-load employees
  • Inclusion of "chosen family" in bereavement leave
  • Taskforce to study workload
  • Wage and benefits increase of 1per cent

This three-year renewal is set to expire on Sept. 30, 2024.

For more information, see the full press release below. 

Today, the College Employer Council (CEC) and OPSEU academic employees bargaining teams representing full-time and partial-load faculty, instructors, librarians, and counsellors have a new collective agreement.

On March 17, 2022, both parties agreed to enter unconditional interest arbitration before Arbitrator Kaplan to avoid a College-wide strike. This agreement allowed both parties to put demands forward at mediation/arbitration and provide rationale for and against proposed changes. Additionally, the terms and conditions introduced by the Colleges in December which included wage and benefit increases remained in effect.

Arbitrator Kaplan met with both parties over the course of three days in early September. For the first two days, he acted as a mediator to the parties addressing areas of shared interest. At the end of the third day, arbitration occurred on the outstanding items.

In Kaplan's arbitration award, he wrote:

"In determining the outstanding issues in dispute, careful attention has been paid to both the statutory and normative interest arbitration criteria, most particularly replication: the replication of free collective bargaining. Mention must also be made of the fact that this is a Bill 124 case and that accordingly determines compensation."

"The CEC maintained its position that many of the Union's demands violated Bill 124, and the arbitration award supports it," said CEC CEO Graham Lloyd. "This new three-year agreement addresses areas of shared interest that better the College sector as a whole and provides certainty and stability to students, academic employees, and the greater College community."

Some of the changes to the collective agreement include:

  • Commitment to supporting Indigenous faculty
  • Commitment to EDI
  • Update to the counsellor class definition
  • Changes to priority for partial-load employees
  • Inclusion of "chosen family" in bereavement leave
  • Taskforce to study workload
  • Wage and benefits increase of 1%

"Changes to the workload formula cannot be made without a formal study and data. The new taskforce that is established as part of the arbitration award will examine all aspects of workload from delivery to program type," said Dr. Laurie Rancourt, Management Bargaining Chair. "The data that comes out of the taskforce will be used to inform the next round of bargaining."

The new collective agreement is a three-year renewal that will expire on Sept. 30, 2024.

To view the arbitration award, visit www.CollegeEmployerCouncil.ca