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Letter of Support for Striking OPSEU College Faculty

To The Members of the College Employer Council,

The Ryerson Faculty Association (RFA) is writing to express its strongest support to the striking OPSEU members. More than 12,000 Ontario public college faculty are on the picket line rather than in their classrooms after the College Employer Council has rejected to negotiate a fair collective agreement with OPSEU.

J.P Hornick, Chair of the Union Bargaining team (OPSEU) has stated that: “On October 14, we presented Council with a streamlined offer that represented what faculty consider to be the bare minimum we need to ensure quality education for students and treat contract faculty fairly”. The RFA fully supports the Union’s offer that is built around three critical proposals to improve education quality for students and treat faculty fairly:

  • a 50:50 ratio of full-time to contract faculty, which currently sits at over 70% contract faculty;
  • increased job security for partial-load faculty, who currently work on one-semester contracts; and
  • academic freedom to give faculty a stronger voice in academic decision-making.

The RFA endorses Hornick’s position that: “This is a fair and reasonable offer that addresses the top concerns of faculty across the province while taking into account the employer’s concerns about costs.” “Unfortunately, Council refused to agree on even the no-cost items, such as longer contracts for contract faculty and academic freedom,” she said. And “this leaves us (OPSEU) with no choice but to withdraw our services until such time as our employer is ready to negotiate seriously.” Hornick added that the Council is committed to a “Walmart model of education” based on reducing the role of full-time faculty and exploiting underpaid contract workers who have no job security beyond one semester. OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas called the current impasse “regrettable.”

OPSEU represents professors, instructors, counsellors, and librarians working at 24 public colleges across Ontario. It is regrettable that the Council has forced such an outcome, which is adversely affecting both students and faculty. The Council’s heavy-handed approach undermines the principles of collective bargaining process that is the foundation of labour relations across Canada. We strongly urge you to return to the bargaining table to reach a negotiated settlement with OPSEU.

Sincerely,

Peter Danziger, RFA President
Rahul Sapra, RFA Vice President (External)

Cc:
Peter McKeracher, College Employer Council
Sonia Del Missier, College Employer Council
Hon. Deb Matthews, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development
Hon. Kevin Flynn, Minister of Labour
MPP Peggy Sattler, NDP Critic for Advanced Education, Skills and Development
MPP Lorne Coe, PC Critic for Post-Secondary Education
Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU President

RM Kennedy, Chair of Ontario College Faculty Division, and JP Hornick, Chair of Ontario College Faculty Bargaining Team

Gyllian Phillips, OCUFA President

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