So the faculty will be voting on the College Management team’s “final offer” on February 10. The vote will be administered by college management, which seems appropriate. Something tells me that the vote on the offer will not be accompanied by a basic comprehension test about the offer, which will probably help the management as well (particularly since a complete version of said “final offer” is, er, umm… not readily accessible to… professors). [I’ll choose a different adjectival phrase when somebody shows me where to find a complete and final version of the entire document that we’re being asked to approve as our next Collective Agreement.]
Let me take a moment to retract my speculation in yesterday’s post. The vote is scheduled prior to the union’s called strike date (February 11), which is fortunate. This will help to clarify the situation, and prevent confusion, which is welcome in this corner. One can only hope that the Colleges’ newfound commitment to clarity and unambiguity will extend to the bargaining team’s inevitable propaganda.
In turn, Algonquin College local’s website reports that the union has rescheduled the strike deadline until February 17, to give the College bargaining team the chance “to return to the table and start seriously bargaining to get a negotiated collective agreement”. That seems a bit optimistic to me, considering that the colleges just tabled a “final offer”, saying that they “have offered everything they can afford and accept”. The college bargaining team could compromise further (at long last), I suppose, but doing so would a) undermine any future description of an offer as being final, and b) risk sacrificing something that an arbitrator wouldn’t necessarily give to the union.
As I said before, I see only two outcomes: Accept the management’s offer or reject it, which would lead ultimately to binding arbitration (although going through the motions of a strike might nevertheless be necessary). The deal that union members would be given by an arbitrator could not conceivably be worse than the offer they’re being asked to accept — the question is whether the membership is actually willing to assume a strike position in order to get it.