Our Current Offer of Settlement

So, I’ve been inviting faculty to offer their thoughts and opinions (on either what I write here or discuss on The Ontario College Podcast) at ontariocollegeprof@yahoo.com. I’m grateful to two individuals who reached out to me last week, to discuss the current Offer of Settlement. I’m hoping to feature their letters this week (and I invite you to share your own), but I wanted preface those discussions by presenting the faculty’s current Offer of Settlement (dated November 18) and offering some quick thoughts about each of the 18 major proposals in it.

I’m pasting the complete offer below, in .pdf form. To explain the formatting a bit, the words that are in bold and underlined are new Collective Agreement language that is being introduced in the proposal; the words that are struckthrough are being removed from the CA (according to the proposal). The words that are in yellow highlighting represent changes from the Faculty team’s last Offer of Settlement (on Nov. 8). Many of those highlighted sections feature new language that has been incorporated from the College Employer Council’s (CEC’s) previous Offer of Settlement (of November 10).

So, let me try to walk you through the proposals, briefly. This won’t be a deep dive, but it will hopefully provide a bit of an overview so that I can discuss some of them in greater detail later. Let me start by noting that I’ll be looking at these proposals in a thematic order, so the numbering below will be…messed up.

To start, let’s draw attention to the three committee structures that are proposed: one on workload; one on Equity, Diversity & Inclusion; and one on Indigenization, Decolonization, and Truth & Reconciliation. In the hopes of arriving at a deal at the table, these structures were proposed as a compromise from earlier proposals that made extensive changes to the CA to address these issues. They are in response to arguments that these issues are broad and may require research, analysis and/or consultation. In other words the faculty team has agreed (as a compromise position) to refer some large matters to committees throughout the life of the Collective Agreement, but only on the condition that the processes result in concrete recommendations or changes at the end of that time.

Faculty Proposal #6: Workload Committee (Letter of Understanding)

  • The faculty proposal provides for a professional researcher and a substantial period of time to analyze broad aspects of faculty workload, including that of Counsellors, Librarians, and the measurement and compensation of Partial-Load workload
  • It also has “Teeth”: If the parties can’t agree, a dispute resolution mechanism incorporates a third-party arbitrator’s workload recommendations into the 2023 Collective Agreement, and the committee would review workload every three years
  • Management’s comparable proposal might lead to zero change; it also targets areas for two-tiered workload protections

Faculty Proposals #7 + #8: Defining different modes of in-class and online teaching, and providing additional attributed hours for courses with an online teaching component, following discussion with supervisor

  • This creates the opportunity for immediate necessary relief for professors and instructors
  • Permits faculty and managers to come to agreement on additional attributed hours, and permits faculty to refer disputes to the Workload Monitoring Group for resolution
  • Unlike CEC’s proposal, this would provide faculty with needed time immediately, rather than years from now, if ever

Faculty Proposal #9: Increasing “Essay/Project” evaluation factor from 0.03 hours (per student per Teaching Hour) to 0.04 hours

  • Currently, faculty who teach a 3-hour class where students are evaluated only on the basis of written work or projects receive a maximum of 5.4 minutes per student per week for evaluation and feedback
  • This proposal would increase that number to 7.2 minutes per student per week
  • Unlike CEC’s proposal, this would provide faculty with needed time immediately, rather than years from now, if ever

Faculty Proposal #17: No bargaining unit member will suffer layoff, lose hours or lose wages as a result of the Employer’s contracting out work normally done by faculty in the bargaining unit

Faculty Proposal #18: The College shall not use, share, sell, or transfer course materials produced by faculty members without their consent

  • This proposal is necessary to protect faculty jobs and bargaining unit work
  • This proposal is comparable to Intellectual Property language in Canadian postsecondary institutions. Faculty in the B.C. college system, for example, own the copyright for all work produced in the course of their normal assigned duties
  • The CEC has offered no satisfactory explanation why faculty consent would be an unreasonable condition of the sale of faculty-produced materials

Faculty Proposal #10: Addition of language that coordinator duties must be “reasonable and reduced to writing” before the coordinator role is accepted

  • This proposal makes sure that coordinator assignments are clear and reasonable
  • This proposal serves to discourage potential management efforts to assign bargaining unit work outside the bargaining unit by creating workloads that would reasonably be refused by bargaining unit members
  • CEC’s proposal omits the words “reasonable and”

Faculty Proposal #1: Committee on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (Letter of Understanding)

  • Local subcommittees of the existing Union/College Committee at each College would seek to implement employment systems, policies, and practices that are non-discriminatory and equitable in nature and effect
  • Provincially, a subcommittee of the Employer-Employee Relations Committee (EERC) would make recommendations for the next round of CA bargaining
  • Unlike the CEC’s proposal, this committee “has teeth”: Where the provincial committee can’t agree, an arbitrator will decide upon recommendations for the next round of bargaining

Faculty Proposal #2: Round Tables on Indigenization, Decolonization, and Truth & Reconciliation (Letter of Understanding)

  • Provides a clear scope and framework for Indigenous-led and jointly-Chaired Local Round Tables to review each College’s policies and practices
  • Provincially, the chairs of each College’s Round Table would participate in a subcommittee of the EERC, to make recommendations for the next round of CA bargaining
  • Unlike the CEC’s proposal, this provincial subcommittee has a dispute resolution mechanism: Where the provincial committee can’t agree, an Indigenous arbitrator will determine recommendations for the next round of bargaining

Faculty Proposals #3 + #4: Access (for faculty who identify as Indigenous) to an Indigenous Elder / Traditional Knowledge Keeper as a personal support in Workload Monitoring Group meetings and Grievance Meetings

  • This faculty proposal is currently in both sides’ Offers of Settlement
  • Would improve equity of current dispute resolution mechanisms in the CA

Faculty Proposal #5: Addition of two Indigenous arbitrators to the existing list of arbitrators in the CA

  • This faculty proposal is currently in both sides’ Offers of Settlement
  • Would improve equity of current dispute resolution mechanisms in the CA
  • Part of the faculty team’s proposed dispute resolution mechanism for the provincial Round Table on Indigenizaiton, Decolonization, and Truth & Reconciliation

Faculty Proposal #11: Amendment of Class Definition of Counsellor

  • Language in faculty proposal has already been included in current CEC offer of settlement
  • CEC proposal also includes “poison pill” language that could take work away from counsellors and assign it outside of the bargaining unit, as well as undermine the autonomy of Counsellors to do their work

Faculty Proposal #12: Partial-Load faculty can bridge benefits during non-teaching periods with mere written offer of future employment

  • Currently, Partial-Load faculty need contracts for future teaching, to bridge benefits between employment periods
  • This proposal would enable PL members to bridge benefits upon receipt of an offer of future teaching
  • This item has no cost to the Colleges — members pay 100% of benefits during bridged periods

Faculty Proposal #13: Partial-Load faculty shall get credit for holidays when calculating service

  • This proposal is featured in both teams’ current Offers of Settlement
  • It is a very minor improvement that would in limited cases permit PL faculty to get a new salary step a month sooner than they would otherwise

Faculty Proposal #14: Partial-Load faculty shall be eligible for seniority hiring for courses that they have taught in any Partial-Load capacity (not just as part of a PL contract)

  • This proposal would broaden the seniority hiring entitlements for qualified PL faculty on the PL registry

Faculty Proposal #15:

a) Partial-Load faculty shall be eligible for PL Registry (and seniority hiring) if they are currently teaching Partial-Load or have done so in the past

  • Would maximize contract faculty members’ eligibility for seniority provisions of the PL Registry, at no cost to the colleges
  • The current Collective Agreement excludes Partial-Load faculty from the PL Registry if they are not currently employed as PL or lack 8 or more months of service as PL.

b) Partial-Load faculty shall keep seniority right to teach classes, even if the course code or name changes

  • Prevents college managers from undermining PL seniority rights by making superficial changes to courses

Proposal #16: Partial-Load faculty shall be eligible to the maximum number of assignable courses (up to 12 teaching hours) for which they have seniority per the PL Registry

  • Maximizes opportunity for PL faculty with seniority to have contracts that provide a living wage
  • This proposal has negligible cost (if any) to the Colleges

Monetary Proposal:

  • Bound by the limits set out by Bill 124, both parties have agreed to annual salary increases of 1% across the board
  • This would likely represent a loss in real wages (after inflation) of approximately 10%, over the three-year life of the Collective Agreement that the CEC proposes
  • Both parties have agreed to language that would see wage negotiations reopened if Bill 124 is overturned by the courts or replaced

Benefits: In addition to covering medically-prescribed cannabis, the balance of the 1% increase in benefits (permissible under Bill 124) should be used to subsidize the cost of dental implants.

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