Support Staff Strike Update - President's Message
Today marks day thirteen of the OPSEU support staff strike.
We hope the strike is short-lived and we look forward to welcoming our support staff members back on the job when the time comes. Every staff member plays an important role in delivering the total College experience.
It is imperative that we stay focused on that which matters most, our students.
We will continue to work hard to minimize the impact of this work stoppage.
Currently there are no talks scheduled between the colleges and the union.
The colleges remain willing to negotiate but only if negotiations can be productive. We need to secure a settlement that is reasonable to our employees and affordable to the colleges.
Unfortunately, the prospects of reaching a negotiated settlement are not positive so long as the union’s bargainers do not accept the current economic realities.
The colleges have provided a good offer with a salary increase of 4.8% over three years with no concessions from employees.
Year One – an annual salary increase of 1.5%
Year Two – an annual salary increase of 1.5%
Year Three – an annual salary increase of 1.75%
This offer is in line with other OPSEU and broader public sector settlements, which in July 2011 contained average annual salary increases of 1.2%.
The union’s proposals would add more costs than the colleges can afford, including:
- 6.1% salary increase over two years
- Significant additional college costs for retiree benefits
- Additional union leave time
There have been many public comments made that inaccurately reflect the positions of the colleges on the use of part-time employees, concessions from employees and two-tier employment provisions. Let me clarify these matters.
The issue of part-time employment has not been part of the discussion by either the colleges or the union.
No provision in the colleges’ proposals would increase the use of part-time employees. In fact, the existing collective agreement gives preference to full-time over part-time employment.
The union has no proposals on the table that would alter the use of part-time employees. The OPSEU bargaining team is well aware that the colleges have actually increased the number of full-time support staff over the past two years – up from 6,751 in 2008 to 6,936 in 2010.
Let me also confirm that the colleges are not asking for any concessions from employees or any item that would result in two-tier employment conditions.
Colleges’ and Union’s Proposals Posted Online
The College Employer Council has posted both the colleges’ and the union’s proposals that were on the table when the strike started. The Council has done this to help everyone gain a full understanding of what was being proposed by each side.
I encourage everyone to visit the site http://www.thecouncil.on.ca/ read the proposals and inform themselves about the issues.
The strike is unfortunate for everyone. We all hope that it will be resolved quickly and we can once again work together delivering the services, programs and education that are so highly valued in our community.