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Today’s award, from a neutral arbitrator, is a clear vindication that faculty’s vision for the college system is not only reasonable, but necessary for Ontario colleges.
Faculty mobilized and stood our ground against an aggressive and intransigent Council team, against a government willing to violate our Charter rights, and we made breakthrough gains on the quality of education and fairness for all faculty.
Among these breakthrough gains:
- An article on academic freedom for all faculty for the first time, using language the faculty team had proposed. This is a historic breakthrough and enormous victory.
- Improved staffing language and job security for partial load and full-time faculty
- Improved seniority language for partial-load faculty
- A return to work protocol that acknowledges the work required by faculty to complete the compressed semester via lump sum payments. In addition, these include partial-load faculty for the first time in the history of CAAT-A. The protocol also adopts the faculty team language on professional development days, lost pay calculation, and protections against reprisal.
- An end to the moratorium on staffing grievances.
- A Provincial Task Force to examine: faculty complement, precarious work, provincial funding of the colleges, student mental health, academic governance, intellectual property
- In addition, the parties will meet in January to discuss changes to the CA related to Bill 148
- The parties will review and potentially update the class definition of a counsellor
In addition to these gains, by standing strong, we beat back the Council’s concession demands.
We will now turn our energies to the work of the Provincial Task Force: ensuring a faculty complement that works for the system and reduces precarity; creating a co-governance system that includes the voices of faculty and students in a meaningful way; improved funding for the system; modernizing counselling to improve student mental health in the colleges; and enshrining intellectual property rights for all faculty.
Arbitrator Kaplan heard submissions from both sides, probed these issues deeply, and appears to have agreed that faculty had the better plan for the colleges.
Our fight is not over–the issues with Council that came to light in this round need to be addressed, along with the damage done to labour relations at all colleges. In addition, we have the upcoming Charter challenge to our bargaining rights. The work of the task force will require our continued mobilization and vigilance to ensure that it has teeth and that our key issues on governance and precarity are not lost.
On behalf of the bargaining team, I want to thank each of you for your incredible support and determination to make these gains possible.