A GTA Prof Responds

So on Wednesday, I published an open letter written by a student, which can be found here.  (If you haven’t read it — it’s quite the remarkable comparison of the student’s experiences in a College, University, and International Baccalaureate program.

To that letter’s author, a prof in the GTA responds as follows:

Wow. As a striking faculty member, I deeply appreciate the time and caring it took for you to research the issues and the numbers and to provide a variety of perspectives from your lived educational experiences. I am envious of your IB teachers… your experiences there are what I’d love to provide to every student that walks into my institution.

You aren’t sticking your nose in where it doesn’t belong. You are taking an interest in and thoughtfully considering the issues, your society and the future that awaits all current students. Precarious work is an issue that affects us all. As you point out, it limits faculty’s ability to coordinate and improve curriculum and students’ ability to develop meaningful connections with program faculty as a community. But beyond that, it steals stability, health and dignity from those part-time workers, in all sectors of society, who cannot count on an income, a pension, or benefits for their families. Rather than accepting this as a new workplace reality, we must resist it.

I’m a full-timer who got in just in time… 27 years ago. I’m going to be OK. I’m striking for my husband, on contract for over twenty years; for my daughter, in her final year at our college; and for you. I want to stop the trend that would give you, and other intelligent, thoughtful people like you, an unstable future.

Thank you for caring about the issues.


Two different reactions…

Well, two more letters in the mailbag for today, providing rather different perspectives.

The first:

I’m not a blogger just the husband of a wife who appreciates her job teaching. She worked her way through the ranks part time contract then full time. God forbid others may have to do the same. It must be tough working for $60.00 to $100.00 per hour part time not knowing what the future holds. Oh wait a minute I work too. So lets get it straight you can get by just like you did when you started working. College courses change with the times so must the colleges. Stop expecting the unrealistic expectations. Set realistic goals for the union to achieve like a 5 percent increase in full time staff.

There’s much that I disagree with in the second letter (particularly its assumption that part-time faculty don’t work when preparing their classes or evaluating their students’ work), but I’m delighted that its author and I are in complete agreement about one thing: “College courses change with the times[, and] so must the colleges”.

Of course, in the current round of negotiations, I only see one side arguing that Colleges need to change with the times — a quick review of the offer presented by the Employer directly to the Union membership on August 8 indicates the Employer was rather clearly interested in maintaining the status quo.

And for an indication of what that status quo looks like to one informed observer, I turn to our second letter:

As a fairly recent retiree from CAAT-A, I was horrified when talking with a former colleague this past week, how much the system has deteriorated, just since the time I retired. The contract-to-full-time ratio is even worse than it was just a few years ago. So many full-time faculty have not been replaced, and I think the Union has to face the realization that management will continue on this path until there are no full-time faculty left, and the Union becomes redundant.(I’ve always thought this was management’s real goal). In a college-wide meeting, I heard one of our former college presidents describe his idea of the “perfect college” as one with no full-time faculty–and that was over 25 years ago!! Although management always pays lip-service to “the concerns of students”, lip- service is all that it is. They benefit greatly from strikes, and are the only ones who do (aside from the province). There is something wrong with that.

As ever, please feel free to leave your thoughts, photos, limericks by hitting the “comments” button, or by e-mailing me at ontariocollegeprof@yahoo.com.  All messages will be kept anonymous.

One question I do have is how the thoughts or opinions (or fears?) of Partial-Load faculty might have changed over the past week.


A Second Student’s Letter

So this one didn’t come in through the mailbag — it was an open letter written by a student at Seneca College, evidently on the eve of the strike.  I’m passing it along as is, but I’ve removed the identifying information, just in case:

I am a student at Seneca College, working towards an accelerated diploma in [my program].  I am writing in support of my professors and all Ontario college faculty.

As a student, it is very important to me that the College Employer’s Council works with OPSEU to negotiate a fair contract for the faculty who work so hard to teach me.  My education is important, but so are good jobs in Ontario colleges.  Fair pay and stability for my professors are things that enhance my experience as a student.  Poor working conditions, low wages, and precarious work all have a direct negative effect on my educational experience.

Not all of my professors have equal financial and job stability.  Faculty with full-time jobs, job security and a dependable income can develop better curriculums and deliver quality classes to their students.  They have the energy and time to be available to their students outside of class.  There is nothing more frustrating than seeking out time with a professor only to realize that they are on campus just a few hours a week.  Sadly, this is a reality for faculty who must work at multiple institutions to make ends meet. 

I came to Seneca to better myself and get an education that will allow me to prosper and contribute to Ontario’s economy.  It is alarming to realize that some of my professors are in the same type of low-wage, short-term jobs that I am trying to leave behind.  During the course of my legal education, my professors have trained me to recognise fairness and equity.  I am certain that precarious work isn’t fair for college faculty.

I am also certain that if the province continues to short-change the colleges, the quality of education students receive will decline.  Our college system is vitally important.  Not everyone in Ontario can afford to attend university.  People of colour, immigrants, children of immigrants and those who struggle financially are often able to find opportunities through our college system.  The students who attend college deserve the best education possible.

I have followed the news carefully and read press releases from each side of this labour dispute.  It is clear to me that OPSEU and the faculty bargaining team are strongly committed to staying at the table right up until the strike deadline.  It is also clear to me that the College Employer’s Council has tried to strong-arm the union into capitulation by walking away from the bargaining table.  As a student who is affected by a potential labour action, I am VERY angry at the CEC for refusing to work constructively with OPSEU and thus, compromising my education.  I am currently using my life savings to cover my tuition and expenses during this year of school.  I value every minute I spend with my professors because I want to learn as much as possible and be an effective and skilled paralegal after I graduate.  I cannot afford a strike that will take me out of my studies.

Please do everything you can to ensure a fair contract. I want to go back to school tomorrow.



Student, Seneca College



One Student’s Observations

So…we’re on strike. And I’m a wee bit busy.  Thanks for your patience.

One of the truly remarkable things to me about this strike is the level of support that we’ve seen so far from students.  And yes, just because you’d expect me to say that doesn’t automatically makes it false.

I’m not saying that students are applauding a strike (at least, not the ones who had studied for midterms), but I’m struck by how familiar students were with the general themes of the strike — academic quality and fairness — in a way that we didn’t see back in 2006.

That’s just a lead-in to a letter that I wanted to share with you — I found it to be quite remarkable in its thoughtfulness and rigour, and I hope you feel the same.  The student offers a candid comparison of their experiences at a College, a University, and an International Baccalaureate (if I understand the acronym correctly) program.

I’m struck by the student’s thoughts on the effects of full-time employment, but I’m also struck by their observations about a lack of coherence and harmony between their College program’s courses.  I can’t be sure, but I do wonder if this might have its roots in the fact that so many college faculty (unlike their University counterparts) have one departmental meeting per semester, to maximize the number of weekly classroom hours that management can assign them.

Why might there be some college programs where the instruction in classes don’t fit together neatly, with clear connections and minimal overlap?  Possibly, I supect, because of the number of faculty who have absolutely no involvement with their program’s curriculum, or even their courses’ curricula.

Anyway, on to the letter.  The next few posts will probably be devoted to your reports from the picket lines, although any other student opinions are most welcome.

Hi Prof, 

First of all, I’d like to thank you for creating and running this blog. As a student looking to learn more about the issues at hand and the perspectives of Ontario-wide faculty members, the site has been immensely helpful. Thank you for your veracity as well as your dedication to improving the Ontario college educational experience. 
I’m in my second year of college now and I’ve met some amazing professors, but to be completely honest, the programs themselves have not been as impressive. I’ve been to two different high-schools, I’ve been in the IB program, and I went to university for 3 years before coming to college so it’s been interesting comparing the experiences though it’s not a huge sample size. Also, I’m a lot more involved with the student body and faculty at my college compared to high-school and university because I’m a leader for a student-run organization and it’s a more tight-knit community here, so there may be some selection bias. 
Compared to University:
  • it seems like the contract-faculty to full-time-faculty ratio is a much bigger issue in colleges than in universities but I’ve read about how they’re dealing with a similar issue 
  • my courses in college don’t feel as up-to-date or as professional as university courses and the college courses don’t harmonize well together to create a complete, efficient curriculum
  • college has been a lot more hands-on (which I love) and less theoretical than university and tuition obviously costs much less
Compared to the IB Program
  • the IB program curriculum was absolutely incredible: courses tied into one another really well, they were well organized, content was up-to-date, and the quality was so much higher than college or university
  • most of the teachers had been there for years and were able to build on course content and teaching strategies because of that – they knew what worked and what didn’t 
  • if they were not full-time employees thinking long-term, the program at the high school would not have progressed so much
  • every single IB teacher was passionate, intelligent, and well-trained – I cannot say that about every single prof from college or university
So I absolutely see one of the main problems with replacing more and more full-time faculty with contract faculty. The curriculum suffers greatly. In one semester last year, different profs would repeat the same concepts in different classes. It was like getting the same lecture multiple times. On the other hand, profs would teach about concepts that built upon lessons from other courses that we hadn’t learned yet. Furthermore, many of my classmates have talked about how many courses are outdated, which is concerning when you’re in a tech-related program. The program is in need of reform which is difficult when so many of my profs are part-timers with multiple jobs, little prep time, and no office hours even though they’re great professors. 
Last year, I thought this was just an internal issue with my program, but apparently not. Because of the strike mandate, I’ve been learning more and more about the same issues happening in other departments at my college and at other Ontario colleges. A lot of this learning had initially been through anecdotal evidence so I thought I’d try to dig up more information. This has been a little more difficult than I anticipated. 
After countless hours of trying to read through:
  • the expired agreement,
  • the union proposals 
  • the collegefaculty.org website,
  • the CEC offers of settlement 
  • the CEC staffing statistics,
  • the Academic Workload Surveys,
  • news articles,
  • my college’s annual report,
  • the CEC negotiation updates,
  • my college’s student association website,
  • the CSA website,
  • and of course, your blog, 
I’ve come to the conclusion that there is sadly no transparency when it comes to the number of contract faculty members at Ontario colleges… and I tried really hard to find these statistics from both sides. *Sigh* 
Many of my friends and family members are telling me that I’m sticking my nose where it doesn’t belong or that it’s not like I’ll be able to change anything, but I like being informed. I’m a student; a strike will affect my education this year and the outcomes from the negotiations may affect the quality and cost of my education in the years to come. And it’s not just my education, but the education of all current and future students which may even be my kids one day. Is it not my responsibility to be involved in the discussion or at least try to understand what’s happening? 
I did find some data to extrapolate from. I’ll share those findings with you in my next email if you don’t mind me sending another. Please feel free to send me any relevant information/ resources I may have missed. Hope to hear from you and good luck! 
An Ontario college student 
P.S. Sorry for any spelling or grammar mistakes or lack of professionalism. Feels like I used more dashes than I’m comfortable with today… Needs more cowbell.  I’d revise my email more if I had time, but alas, school awaits. 



PT/Sessional Unionization Vote – Poll Info

Below, please find poll information for the Part-Time and Sessional faculty OPSEU unionization vote, from Monday, October 2 to Friday, October 13.  Apologies if the formatting is illegible; WordPress wasn’t exactly designed for pasting tables.  (WordPress’ “Preview” feature tells me that campus addresses and pool room numbers won’t show up on phones, and that the entire chart is pretty much incomprehensible on a tablet — again, my apologies.  If you need to see that info, please consider checking the site from a  computer.)

Let’s call the information below “unofficial”, given that the OLRB seems to describe the dates as “proposed” and given that some data may have been lost or mangled when I was sorting it with Excel.

Date & Time College City Address Room
Oct 2, 1pm-2:30pm Algonquin Pembroke 1 College Way Room 200, 2nd Floor
Oct 2, 2:30pm-4:30pm Fanshawe Woodstock Woodstock/ Oxford Regional Campus 369 Finkle St 1111-1
Oct 2, 9:30am-11am Fanshawe St Thomas St. Thomas/Elgin Regional Campus 120 Bill Martyn Parkway Room 176
Oct 2, 1pm-2:30pm Georgian Orillia 825 Memorial Ave A101
Oct 2, 6pm-6:30pm Georgian Bracebridge 111 Wellington St 110
Oct 2, 12 p.m. (noon)-4pm and 5:30pm-7:30pm Seneca Toronto Newnham Campus 1750 Finch Ave E Lobby – Building B (next to Fashion Boutique)
Oct 2, 2:30pm-4:30pm St Lawrence Cornwall 2 St Lawrence Dr River Room M3150), 3rd Floor
Oct 2, 10am-12noon St Lawrence Brockville 2288 Parkedale Ave Boardroom B105
Oct 3, 12:30pm-2:30pm and 5:30pm-7:30pm Algonquin Ottawa 1385 Woodroffe Ave C432, 4th Floor Bldg C
Oct 3, 12:30pm-2:30pm and 5:00pm-7:00pm Conestoga Kitchener Doon Campus 299 Doon Valley Dr 2E04
Oct 3, 10am-1pm and 5pm-7pm Durham Oshawa 2000 Simcoe St N South Wing SW200
Oct 3, 10am-11am Fanshawe Simcoe Simcoe/Norfolk Regional Campus 634 Ireland Rd B106
Oct 3, 11am-1pm and 4pm-7pm Georgian Barrie 1 Georgian Dr Lander Lounge
Oct 3, 2pm-3pm Mohawk Stoney Creek Stoney Creek Campus 481 Barton St A104
Oct 3, 4:30pm-5:30pm Mohawk Hamilton IAHS Campus, 1400 Main St W 201, 2nd Floor
Oct 3, 12:15pm-12:45pm Northern Moosonee First Avenue  
Oct 4, 2:30pm-3:30pm Algonquin Perth 7 Craig St Room 118
Oct 4, 10am-10:30am Canadore Parry Sound 1 College Dr 118
Oct 4, 2pm-4pm and 5:30pm-7:30pm Centennial Toronto Progress Campus 941 Progress Ave  
Oct 4, 1pm-2pm Conestoga Waterloo Waterloo Campus 108 University Ave E 2A12
Oct 4, 9am-10am Conestoga Guelph Guelph Campus 460 Speedvale Ave W D5
Oct 4, 1:30pm-2:30pm Durham Pickering 1340 Pickering Pkwy PK104a
Oct 4, 10am-11am Durham Whitby 1610 Champlain Ave Admin Boardroom
Oct 4, 6pm-6:30pm Georgian Midland 649 Prospect Blvd Indigenous Centre 115
Oct 4, 10am-12noon La Cite Orleans 8700 Jeanne D’Arc Blvd N M1140
Oct 4, 9:30am-1:30pm La Cite Ottawa 801 promenade de l’Aviation B2090, 2ieme
Oct 4, 2pm-5pm Niagara Welland 300 Woodlawn Rd Lundy Boardroom
Oct 4, 9am-12noon Niagara Niagara-on-the-Lake 135 Taylor Rd NOTL-W212
Oct 5, 12pm-2pm Georgian Owen Sound 1450 Eighth St E A147
Oct 5, 6pm-6:30pm Georgian Collingwood 499 Raglan St 121
Oct 5, 3:30pm-5pm Loyalist Belleville 376 Wallbridge Loyalist Rd 2H6A (Staff Lounge)
Oct 5, 11am-1pm and 5pm-7pm Mohawk Hamilton Fennell Campus 135 Fennell Ave W I204, 2nd Floor
Oct 5, 2pm-3pm Sault Sault Ste Marie Aviation Hangar, 475 Airport Rd Lunchroom, 2nd Floor
Oct 5, 9:30am-12:30pm Sault Sault Ste Marie 443 Northern Ave M2110
Oct 5, 10am-1pm St Lawrence Kingston 100 Portsmouth Ave School of Business Boardroom (12130)
Oct 6, 10:30am-1:30pm Centennial Toronto Ashtonbee Campus 75 Ashtonbee road  
Oct 6, 1pm-1:30pm Fleming Haliburton 297 College Dr 7
Oct 6, 10am-10:30am Loyalist Bancroft 195 Hastings St N Boardroom
Oct 10, 2pm-3pm Boreal Sudbury 21 Boulevard Lasalle 1150K
Oct 10, 9:30am-11:30am Centennial Toronto Story Arts Centre 951 Carlaw Av  
Oct 10, 3:30pm-6pm Confederation Thunder Bay 1450 Nakina Dr Shuniah Bldg. Room C205
Oct 10, 8am-11am Fleming Peterborough 599 Brealey Dr B3347, Floor B3
Oct 10, 3pm-7pm Humber Toronto North Campus 205 Humber College Blvd D109 North Campus
Oct 10, 10am-1pm Lambton Sarnia 1457 London Rd L211
Oct 10, 12:30pm-1:30pm Seneca Peterborough Peterborough Aviation 925-580 Airport Rd Boardroom, 2nd floor
Oct 10, 3:30pm-4:30pm Sheridan Mississauga Hazel McCallion Campus 4180 Duke of York Blvd A364b3
Oct 11, 9am-12:30pm Cambrian Sudbury 1400 Barrydowne Rd 1402
Oct 11, 12:30pm-1pm Confederation Marathon 14 Hemlo Dr 1
Oct 11, 12noon-1pm CENTRAL Confederation Dryden 100 Casimir Ave 221
Oct 11, 3:30pm-4:30pm CENTRAL Confederation Kenora 900 Golf Course 112
Oct 11, 11am-2pm and 5pm-7pm Fanshawe London London Campus 1001 Fanshawe College Blvd D1058
Oct 11, 9:30am-10:30am Fleming Lindsay 200 Albert St S 109
Oct 11, 1pm-3pm and 5pm-7pm George Brown Toronto Casa Loma Campus 146 Kendal Ave Main Entrance Lobby
Oct 11, 2:30pm-5:30pm Humber Toronto Lakeshore Campus 3199 Lakeshore Blvd W L3002/L3005
Oct 11, 1pm-5pm Sheridan Brampton Davis Campus 7899 McLaughlin Rd H153
Oct 11, 9:30am-12noon and 5:30pm-7:30pm Sheridan Oakville Trafalgar Road Campus 1430 Trafalgar Rd C230, 2nd floor
Oct 12, 9am-10am Canadore North Bay 100 College Dr B311, 3rd floor
Oct 12, 10:30am-1pm Confederation Thunder Bay 1450 Nakina Dr Shuniah Bldg. Room C205
Oct 12, 11:30am-12noon CENTRAL Confederation Fort Frances 440 McIrvine Rd 150
Oct 12, 10am-2pm and 5pm-7pm George Brown Toronto St. James Campus 200 King St E Main Entrance Lobby
Oct 12, 9:30am-10am Georgian Orangeville 22 Centennial Rd 204
Oct 12, 3:30pm-4pm Northern Haileybury 640 Latchford St  
Oct 12, 12pm-12:30pm Seneca Newmarket Newmarket Campus 16655 Yonge St, unit 3 Lobby
Oct 12, 2pm-4pm Seneca King City King Campus 13990 Dufferin St Boardroom A
Oct 12, 11am-2pm and 5pm-8pm St Clair Windsor 2000 Talbot Rd W 230
Oct 13, 10am-1pm Centennial Toronto Morningside Campus 755 Morningside Ave  
Oct 13, 9am-11am George Brown Toronto Waterfront Campus 51 Dockside Ave Main Entrance Lobby
Oct 13, 1:30pm-3pm Northern South Porcupine 4715 Highway 101 East  
Oct 13, 9am-9:30am Northern Kirkland Lake 140 Government Rd  
Oct 13, 10:30am-1:30pm Seneca Toronto York Campus 70 The Pond Rd Lobby (by security)
Oct 13, 1pm-2pm Seneca Toronto Yorkgate Campus 1 York Gate Blvd Lobby
Oct 13, 9am-10am Seneca Markham Markham Campus 8 The Seneca Way Lobby
Oct 13, 2:30pm-4:30pm St Clair Chatham 1001 Grand Ave W 107

Strike Vote: Reactions (IV)

A professor from the North writes.
I was trying to figure out a typographic font to denote the sarcastic parts, but I limited myself to editing the punctuation for clarity.
The author points out that underlying the Employer’s position is the sense that the College system is perfect the way it is, and needs no change.  Now, that’s not a terribly surprising position, since the system as it stands — with 82% of all teaching staff on precarious contracts; with qualified faculty having no power to determine whether students should be graded via individual exams or group projects — is almost entirely the product of management decisions.  Decisions that have been handed to management with our blessing, though successive Collective Agreements.
Successive Collective Agreements, not legislation.  It is the Collective Agreement, not legislation, that determines that faculty work only “under the direction of the senior academic officer of the College or designate”.  It is the Collective Agreement, not legislation, that excludes faculty from decision-making.  (Legislation excludes faculty from academic decision-making no more than it excludes senior managers.  To illustrate, please do a quick Ctrl-F search, to consider how the decision-making authority conferred to an Academic Vice-President by the Ontario Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology Act, 2002) is greater than the decision-making authority granted to faculty.
But I digress.  On to our contributor of the day:
Thanks for the blogging.
I do not take strikes lightly having been part of all three in the college system. I thought you put it well in your [recent post] about the middle finger the Employer gave us with the insult of imposing a contract on us back in 2009. I lost my respect for them on that day.
I think that during this round of negotiations you also correctly noted that the Union has finally realized the impact of the CCBA and asked for a mandate before the end of the CA. This is one of the few tools it has and I am glad they did this. I am really mystified why the employer refuses to bargain. I guess they really think everything in the college system is just peachy. No need to address online learning. No need to look at counselor workloads. Forget librarians – who needs them anyway in education. Academic freedom – not needed. Addressing the needs of PL faculty – why bother – short term contracts are just fine. I guess the mini deans don’t mind spending endless hours managing the ever revolving door of the precariat. I can tell you from direct experience this was not always so. Imagine how much easier their work would be with a stable workforce. Faculty should just accept the modest increases in salary they are being offered – forget the years when we took 0% (the Staff never did this). Bargain? No way – after all, every other public sector union accepted contract extensions — why don’t we? After all, the college system is a fine- tuned machine. Nothing to see here – move along now.
Sigh. We may lose. I know that. But I am proud that at least we are trying. We need to stand up for important issues. The employer has one final tool at their disposal. They can bring the contract directly to us under the terms of the CCBA. What an interesting play that would be. They thought the union should have done this. I pray there is no strike. It is not good for anyone, least of all our students. None of us including Presidents with their fancy offices would have a job without students. Students are the party that suffers the most. I hope the employer goes back and actually bargains. Sonia, if you are reading this, please go and bargain. Academic freedom won’t cost you a dime and may actually give some meaning to college degrees and university partnerships.
Yup — I think that I’ve suggested earlier that the Employer will negotiate significant issues only when it has no other choice, and our contributor’s last paragraph does introduce at least one other choice.  I’ll try to look into this possibility later in the week.
In the meantime, please feel free to contribute (anonymously)  either via the Comment button below, or by e-mailing ontariocollegeprof@yahoo.com.

Strike Vote Reactions (III)

This just in from a retired FT faculty who remains in the College system…
Congratulations on a successful strike vote.
This should help with the next round of bargaining.
There are three pieces of data that I would like to see added to communications – or at least I’d like to know personally.
1. How does the 68% compare to previous votes. Is it higher or lower?
2.  I understand there have been something in the range of 12 strike votes over the 50 years the colleges have existed in Ontario. What were the numbers for each? Is there a trend or pattern?
3.  The union frequently says 81 per cent of teachers are part-time. This made me nervous that in a strike we would barely be missed as the non-union part-timers could be pressured to cross the line, because they (we) don’t have strike pay. However my wife pointed out that this may be 81% of the people but not 81% of the teaching, because full-time faculty frequently teach three, four or five courses (depending on other duties and class size) while part-time teachers frequently teach only one course at a time. So what percentage of the courses are taught by part-time versus full-time faculty? While this may be less dramatic, it may also reassure members of our power in numbers.
Thanks in advance for your response.
Well, I’ll do my best to reply, but I’m not an authority in these matters, really.  I’ll start by inviting anybody who can correct any of my comments below with more authoritative facts or recollections.
1.  68% is a relatively high strike vote for the bargaining unit.  I have heard that the all-time strike vote record is 72%, and that was, if memory serves, in the face of some serious takeaways offered by the Colleges (related to sick days, if my second-hand memories serve —  I’m counting on someone to remind me).
The noteworthy thing about the current vote (in my opinion) is not only that it’s high by the standards of the bargaining unit, but that it was that high, despite the fact that bargaining remains underway, and in the face of the Employer’s (highly contestable and contested) claim that their offer represented no concessions.
By way of comparison, as I noted earlier, in 2010, the strike mandate was only 57%, and that was after bargaining had broken down and after the Council had essentially antagonized faculty by unilaterally imposing Terms & Conditions of employment (thus turning its back on the process of bilateral negotiations in order to do whatever it wanted).
2.  I don’t know the results of all of the strike votes in the past.  Confederation College helpfully notes that “Of the 12 strike votes in the past 50 years at Ontario colleges, only three have led to a strike”.  (By comparison, the College Employer Council unhelpfully alleges that, “In previous bargaining rounds, when the union bargaining team has been granted a strike mandate by faculty, it has normally led to strike action”, which might say something about its trustworthiness on matters related to strikes.)
But I don’t think that long-term trends are especially helpful.  My personal feeling is that the explosion of contract faculty in the ’90s, coupled with new legislation dictating bargaining (in 2008) suggests that it’s only helpful to look at more recent history for comparisons.
3. There may be some confusion here about the Bargaining Team’s claims.  The September 12 Negotiations Bulletin states,
Right now, 81 per cent of teaching in the colleges is done by contract faculty. That number has shot up by more than 10 per cent since our last round of bargaining, and a big reason why is the freeze on posting and filling jobs under Article 2 of the
collective agreement.  If management has its way, that freeze will be extended in the upcoming contract. If that happens, what percentage of teaching will be done by contract faculty by the time of our next round of bargaining? Eighty-five per cent? Ninety? More?
So, to be fair, I don’t think I’ve ever heard that Union say that 81% of teachers are part-time.  It has said that 81% of teaching is done by contract faculty.  I strongly suspect that that can be interpreted to mean that 81% of all teaching contact hours are performed by contract faculty.
Now, where potential strikes are concerned, it needs to be immediately noted that that that 81% of teaching contact hours are taught by Partial-Load contract faculty (who are in the CAAT-A bargaining unit) as well as by Part-Time and Sessional contract faculty (who are not).
This is significant for your concerns because the number of Partial-Load faculty means that a large portion of that 81% would also be eligible to strike, to perform strike duties, to receive strike pay from OPSEU and their Locals (where applicable), and to apply for hardship funds as needed.
If there is a strike, then all 12,000 members of the entire provincewide bargaining unit — both full-time and partial-load — would be on strike.  And while our Part-Time and Sessional colleagues are not in the bargaining unit, and while there is a chance that the Colleges might be permitted by law to try to run throughout a strike, it it hard to imagine that the 12,000 members of the bargaining unit “would barely be missed” in any strike situation.
Which, I would expect, ought to inspire the Employer to begin negotiations in earnest, when the parties return to the bargaining table on Monday.