College teachers in Ontario have reached a tentative agreement with the College Employer Council, the body that represents the province’s 24 colleges. The deal was reached in the shadow of a strike vote, scheduled for Sept. 10, and a potential lockout date of Sept. 15.
The two-year deal with the 10,000 faculty members across Ontario includes a wage freeze but leaves all benefits untouched, according to the council.
“Both sides bargained hard and came to a settlement that is reasonable to faculty and affordable for the colleges,” said Sonia Del Missier, chair of the College Employer Council’s bargaining team.
The Ontario Public Service Employees’ Union (OPSEU), the union representing faculty, said teachers agreed to the wage freeze in exchange for improved job security for part-time faculty and to have a contract in place before the start of the school year.
While the tentative agreement freezes wages, it does not stop progress through the ranks. “Partial-load” faculty will now enjoy priority in hiring if their previous courses are offered again, according to the union.
A key turning point for the union was the “removal of a management proposal to create a new job classification of ‘Facilitator’ which would have lessened the quality of education by opening the door to increased reliance on temporary staff and a diminished presence of full-time instructors in the classroom,” OPSEU said in a press release.
"This new job function would have become a wedge issue that undermined the quality of education in the college system for years to come," said Ted Montgomery, college faculty bargaining team co-chair.
Pending ratification, the new contract will run for two years — from Sept. 1, 2012, to Aug. 31, 2014.
Dates for a ratification vote have not been announced.
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