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|Wednesday, June 19th, 2013|
Fanshawe’s faculty contract talks
Victor De Jong
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Published: Tuesday, August 14th, 2012
With first semester about to get under way, the potential faculty strike is looming.
Darryl Bedford is the union president for OPSEU 110, the union representing the faculty here at Fanshawe College. He said the bargaining process has been on hold for the better part of a month, after the union bargaining team requested a conciliator. Part of that time was already scheduled to be a break, but the request for a conciliator stemmed from the union team feeling they could make no further progress at the time.
“The union tabled their full offer and we expected that shortly afterwards they would start to table the rest of their offer and then everything would be on the table,” he said. By mid-August, he was confident that there was no reason to panic. “Our team still believes that an on-time deal is possible.” He went on to say that in the interim between the last July meeting and the meeting on August 14, the union was communicating with union members and gathering input on what the consensus is on the bargaining procedure to date.
The term ‘faculty’ in this context includes teachers, librarians and counsellors who work for the College. In July, Bedford commented on negotiations up until that point in the process. “The union has tabled our whole offer, we even took parts of our offer away in an effort to try and get movement on some items. What our team is being told is that the management side would like to settle all non-monetary items before they move into anything that deals with salary or benefits. What that means is it’s kind of hard to talk about the full package when we can’t see their whole package. It isn’t that we’re being offered 0 per cent; we haven’t seen their offer yet, we’re halfway through bargaining.” Almost a month later, the province still has not presented their offer and the talks have yet to move forward.
While there’s no immediate indicator of whether or not the faculty will consider going on strike, the volatile economy may well play a role. Bedford referenced a communication from the finance minister that indicated that salary increases are basically off the table but added that, while both sides take the letter into account, it is not officially binding.