And with a strange combination of suspense and tedium, we have arrived at the final count of the mail-in ballots, and the confirmation of the union membership’s acceptance of the college management’s last offer.
And that would appear to put the cap on contract negotiations, 2009-10 edition.
That which we gained can be measured in fractions and percentages; that which we lost will be told in the course of time, as the system’s professors and students both pay the price — the former in ways they may not currently be able to predict; the latter in ways they may never be able to recognize.
More than gains or losses, however, this completion (‘resolution’ seems too strong a word) to the process of negotiations is marked by missed opportunities — to implement the recommendations of the Workload Task Force; to provide Ontario college system with the same principles of academic freedom found in other provinces’ college systems; to provide a system for Modified Workload Agreements that could better protect faculty against abuse; to construct a college system better suited to sustain its nascent degrees and college-university partnerships.
If the end of negotations is marked by missed opportunities, however, the next years ought not suffer a similar fate. Opportunities remain — to articulate both our needs and those of our students; to achieve consensus about how best to acheive stability for those of us whose work is the most precarious; to decide as educators on what we can compromise and on what we must insist absolutely, if we are to remain worthy of that honourable title.