Our Most Dedicated Correspondent Reacts to the Employer’s Offer

Again, some feedback on the offer for which, I assume, the Employer is proposing that upcoming scheduled days for negotiation be cancelled, so that the Union’s Local officers and members can devote the remainder of their summer vacation to organizing a vote on it, despite the fact that it conspicuously fails to incorporate any of the top priorities moved and voted upon by the Union membership.

…All prior to the August 24th date, on which the offer expires.

In fact, one thing just struck me.  Maybe you’ll agree it’s intriguing:

The College Employer Council’s August 8 Academic Bargaining Update states: “The Colleges’ Bargaining Team urged OPSEU to allow its members to vote on the offer of settlement rather than hold a strike vote”.  Got it — that would be the bargaining team stepping back and taking a neutral stance, and letting a vote take the temperature of the membership.

And yet, page one of the offer itself states, “This offer is conditional upon the parties reaching an agreement by August 24th, 2017 to unanimously recommend this extension of the existing collective agreement to their respective principals. Failing agreement it will be withdrawn” (emphasis mine).

In other words, the Bargaining Update deliberately gives the impression that the Employer’s bargaining team requested that the Union bargaining team permit the Union membership to vote on the offer.  However, the offer itself explicitly stipulates that one condition of the offer on which the membership would allegedly be permitted to vote is that the Union bargaining team explicitly and unanimously recommend the offer.

By way of comparison, and for the sake of a thought experiment, please consider: What if the Union bargaining team were to present an offer to the Employer — one that reflects the Union’s priorities and ignores the Employer’s priorities — and were to “urge” the Employer to permit union members to vote on it, on the condition that the Employer’s bargaining team unanimously recommend it?  Would the Employer agree that this is a normal and appropriate way to conduct negotiations?

And if not, how, exactly, does that scenario differ from what the Employer’s bargaining team is currently doing?

Which leads us nicely to our most frequent correspondent’s take on the Employer’s decision to pursue precisely such an approach to “bargaining” — an approach that involves an unabashed and proclaimed refusal to consider the Union’s top demands, and instead effectively discontinues negotiations by presenting an offer directly to the membership:

That the employer would contemptuously dismiss our legitimate and long-overdue demands, try to bypass our elected negotiation team, and offer a “raise” that’s lower than inflation in the expectation that we’d gratefully grab the loose change and run shows how much ignorance/arrogance these people have for real educators.

Nothing but a massive (numbers) and overwhelming (percentage) strike authorization vote will get these power-mad little people “in short pants” to the table.

And, if anyone is fretting about going on strike, either because they can’t manage a (very) temporary problem with “cash-flow” or – much more likely – they fear management reprisals, don’t worry about it.

Those of us who survived the strikes of 1984, 1988 and 2006 have found that management’s corporate culture hasn’t been affected by those three-week wonders one iota. The trajectory has been headed pretty consistently downward since at least 1977 and hasn’t shifted a bit.

The aim is to make us fully functional and mainly automated diploma/degree mills on the Walmart model. Only some firm resistance seems likely to slow, never mind stop or reverse the trend.

And as for that hypothetical vote on an offer that reflects the Union’s priorities — a vote that the Employer would be likely to permit?  Well, in a way, that would appear to be pretty much what the Union bargaining team is currently asking the Ontario Labour Relations Board for.

As ever, submit your thoughts and corrections anonymously to ontariocollegeprof@yahoo.com, or by clicking “Leave a comment”, below.

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