2017 Negotiations Messages (#1)

Goodness, dear reader – has it really been so long?

Where to begin?

Well… let’s just dive in, shall we?

So, it’s a bargaining summer.

The teams have assembled, and both sides have made a move, so I suppose that the game is underway, and it’s as good a time as any to start the play-by-play analysis.

White moves first, and first move was taken by the OPSEU College of Applied Arts and Technology – Academic (CAAT-A) Bargaining Team, who published their Negotiations Bulletin in March.

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1. P-Kb4 …

Actually, I should back up – the first Negotiations Bulletin was actually published back last December (and is also linked to the right column of this page). But it’s a bit unorthodox for white to move twice in a row, so thank you, Union Bargaining Team, for messing up my conceit before the fourth paragraph.

Now, noting that no demands had been settled on in December, 2016, that Bulletin devotes a page to the (now-complete) process of demand-setting, and three pages to profiles of the Union’s bargaining team. There’s more, which I’ll return to in upcoming days (he says, optimistically).

The more recent Negotiations Update, published in March, gives a bit of a clearer idea NB-2of the Union Bargaining Team’s communications approach. The newsletter on the whole seems to focus on the themes of 1. The bargaining process, 2. Diversity, and 3. A “back to basics” overview of what’s at stake in college faculty negotiations.

More specifically, pages 1 and 6 of the newsletter include a summary of the bargaining process thus far, as well as bargaining developments that are unique to this round of bargaining (and designed to increase the role of different faculty groups in the bargaining process); the list of demands on page 2 continues that theme – it includes demands that reflect all members, as well as specific demands targeted to benefit Partial-Load faculty, Counsellors, and Librarians.

That’s a hat-tip to the diversity of faculty areas within the bargaining unit, and the theme of diversity is extended a bit more broadly on pages 4 and 5, with photos of CAAT-A delegates attending a March 4 counter-protest concerning the anti-Islamophobia Parliamentary Motion M-103. (If I understand correctly, this was a protest against a protest against a Motion designed to protest the protest against influence of Islam in Canada.) (“Confused? You won’t be after this week’s episode…”)

But I got distracted by the pretty pictures.

Anyway, the “back to basics” theme of the newsletter takes the form of a “Message from the Chair” of the Bargaining Team, which contemplates the status of the original College system’s mandate on its 50th anniversary.  There are also liKnight3nks to two videos (one English; one French) under the heading “What’s this round all about?”, which outline many of the large-scale issues that indicate misplaced priorities within the system.

The Message from the Chair points out that the Ontario college system is enjoying its 50th anniversary this year, and questions the system’s current direction and priorities, compared to the original vision that guided its founding in 1967:

 

From a mandate of a united, government-funded system that would increase access to education for all, we have drifted into a collection of disparate elements, fighting over an ever-shrinking supply of inadequate funding. As the government has promoted competition for resources and enrollment, colleges have competed with each other in efforts to build their own fiefdoms, rather than working together to build up the whole system.

I look around and I see a college system that has turned away from investing in faculty, developing expertise, and providing the frontline services that ensure student success. Instead, I see example after example of mismanaged funds, misallocated priorities, and efforts to divert money that should be going to the front lines into the pockets of senior administrators.

In upcoming days (he says, optimistically), I hope to look at the College Employer Council Bargaining Team’s Academic Bargaining Update, as well as rounding out my look at the Union Bargaining Team’s Negotiating Bulletins and also taking a peek at competing messages surrounding the 50th anniversary of the Ontario College system.

In the meantime, feel free to e-mail me at ontariocollegeprof@yahoo.com with questions, comments, musings, or suggestions on how to bring this site up-to-date for the current round of bargaining and our current issues. As ever, letters may be edited and reprinted anonymously in future posts – it’s one way to communicate with your colleagues, provincewide.

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