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HomeNewsCampusContract talks between colleges, teachers at an 'impasse'

Contract talks between colleges, teachers at an ‘impasse’

Contract talks between Ontario colleges and their full-time and partial-load faculty, librarians and counsellors – including those at Durham College – have stalled.

The two sides met with a conciliator Thursday, but the College Employer Council (CEC), which represents the province’s 24 colleges, issued a statement following the meeting saying the two sides have “reached an impasse.”

According to the CEC, the two sides have met for more than five months “without success.”

In a release, the CEC said “mediation failed and now conciliation has failed. Neutral third-party assistance has not helped.”

The CEC said it has asked the conciliator for a no-board report indicating it “allows both parties to move the bargaining process towards conclusion.”

On its website, Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) Local 354 which represents Durham College’s faculty, librarians and counsellors, said “the CEC team requested that the conciliator file a no-board report, which is a legally required step towards labour disruption, including lockout, strike or imposed terms and conditions of employment.”

According to the OPSEU website, the list of demands from faculty members, librarians and counsellors revolves around workload, staffing, equity, professionalism, and fairness.

Among its contract demands, OPSEU is asking for faculty to receive additional time for courses with an online component.

The CEC fails to recognize “any increase in time attributed for teaching classes with an online component,” OPSEU Local 354 said on its website late Thursday.

The union also wants to establish that 50 per cent of the faculty complement at each college be full-time positions in 2023 and 70 per cent be full time in 2026.

On its website, OPSEU said “the faculty team has used every tool we can to avoid escalation, it is now up to all of us to stand together for our priorities.”

Dr. Laurie Rancourt, chair of the CEC management bargaining team, said “the colleges do not want students and employees to be negatively impacted because of the unwillingness of the (OPSEU) CAAT-A team to bargain in good faith and work towards concluding a collective agreement.”

Ontario college faculty went on strike for five weeks in 2017 and were legislated back to work by the provincial government.