Bargaining deadlocked: mediator finds approach of academic negotiation team and demands illegal and unrealistic
TORONTO, November 1, 2021 / CNW / – Since July 2021, the College Employers Council (CEC) representing Ontario’s 24 public colleges, and OPSEU’s CAAT-A bargaining team representing college university employees (full-time and part-load faculty, instructors, librarians, and advisers) met at the virtual table. Throughout the negotiation and mediation process, the CEC attempted to engage the CAAT-A team in a discussion to better understand the needs of its members so that an agreement could be quickly reached in the best interest. students, employees and the college community.
“The demands of the CAAT-A team involved more than 50 percent of the clauses in the collective agreement. Almost all of the proposed changes would fundamentally change the convention and are not feasible for legislative, fiscal or operational reasons, ”said Dr. Laurie Rancourt, chairman of the CEC leadership negotiating team. “In a mature collective agreement, the parties tend to table a modest number of incremental change proposals. Since the filing of the claims, the CAAT-A team has refused to engage in a discussion on the rationale for the claims.
During mediation, based on the comments received from the CAAT-A team, the CEC amended the settlement offer without prejudice. This without prejudice settlement offer remains open for acceptance and represents a moderate settlement route, as recommended by Mediator Keller. The proposed settlement (a three-year agreement that includes an immediate increase in compensation, expert-led committees on areas of common interest, and requires no concessions from the group of university employees) is available at www.CollegeEmployerCouncil. that.
In his report, the respected mediator Mr. Brian keller criticized both the CAAT-A team’s negotiating approach and the demands on the table. After four weeks of trying to get the CAAT-A team to make reasonable demands and engage in meaningful unwritten discussion, Mediator Keller ended mediation and released his report to the public. Mediator Keller wrote (in part):
“In summary, in my opinion, the CAAT-A team did not engage in meaningful negotiations towards a collective agreement. During my preliminary and subsequent meeting with the CAAT-A team, I believed that I clearly expressed everything that was being sought was unachievable, whether through direct negotiations with the employer or, where appropriate, through a binding arbitration. I am still firmly of that opinion. Many of the remaining demands of the CAAT-A team are very ambitious and completely unrealistic. The CAAT-A team claims to recognize this, but has shown no willingness to moderate their demands enough to give me hope that further mediation at this point could result in a negotiated settlement. ”
“It has become clear to us that the CAAT-A team has no interest in negotiating a collective agreement renewal with the CEC, which is why we have asked the Ontario Labor Board to conclude that the CAAT-A team does not negotiate in good faith. Even Mediator Keller acknowledged this in his report saying that the CAAT-A team’s strategy is flawed if its goal is to achieve a renewal of the collective agreement, ”said Graham lloyd, CEO of CEC. “Let’s be clear, Colleges don’t want students and employees to be harmed by a labor dispute. The CEC has taken all possible steps to conclude a collective agreement, including presenting three offers of settlement since February 2021. The CEC also called for conciliation to keep moving the process forward. “
Although conciliation has been requested, the CEC remains ready to negotiate with the CAAT-A team as soon as it withdraws from the table the requests that the mediator has deemed illegal and unreasonable. A copy of the mediator’s report is available at www.CollegeEmployerCouncil.ca.
About the College Employers Council
The College Employers Council (CEC) is the government mandated bargaining agent for Ontario’s 24 publicly funded colleges in negotiating collective agreements with unionized staff. In addition, the CEC provides a variety of services for the college system such as advice and guidance on human resource matters, administration of collective agreements, research and is the group insurance policy holder.
SOURCE College Employer Council
For more information: or for media inquiries contact: Abby Radovski, Director of Communications, [email protected], (437) 232-4980; Graham Lloyd, CEO, [email protected], (416) 902-9543