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.Yours,anon
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 email@example.com.