Message from JP Hornick, Chair, CAAT(A) Bargaining Team

Dear CAAT-A Faculty:

Attached you will find a bulletin that details faculty's wins in Arbitrator Kaplan's award which dictates our new Collective Agreement.  This award, from a neutral arbitrator, is a clear vindication that faculty's vision for the college system is not only reasonable, but necessary for Ontario colleges.  

Despite Council and management's attempts to claim this for themselves, there is no way to read this award other than as an unprecedented and historic victory for college faculty. Arbitrator Kaplan heard submissions from both sides, probed these issues deeply, and appears to have agreed that faculty had the better plan for the colleges.  

For context, arbitrators are inclined to keep status quo in their decisions; Kaplan instead has--based on the strength of our submissions--repudiated Council's concessions AND given us our language on academic freedom in the new Article 13, "Copyright and Academic Freedom."  We cannot overemphasize how unusual this is.

In addition, we fought hard for and won gains for our partial load faculty on seniority and job security.  For the first time ever, partial-load faculty have been included in the lump sum awards given by an arbitrator.  In addition, the Provincial Task force will begin in January to address issues of complement and precarity, and we meet with the employer to begin discussions on Bill 148 on January 15.  

Kaplan has primarily adopted our RTW language, and repudiated Council's claims that no additional work was required to salvage the semester.  Indeed, by granting lump sums to every faculty member, he has acknowledged that the strike is an atypical circumstance that requires remuneration.  He has also made the salary increase retroactive--something the Council fought stridently against.

Faculty are more united and organized than ever.  We have mobilized, walked the lines together, and stood our ground against an aggressive and intransigent Council team, against a government willing to violate our Charter rights, and together we made breakthrough gains on the quality of education and fairness for all faculty.  

We must now turn our energies to the work of the Provincial Task Force: ensuring a faculty complement that works for the system and reduces precarity; creating a co-governance system that includes the voices of faculty and students in a meaningful way; improved funding for the system; modernizing counselling to improve student mental health in the colleges; and enshrining intellectual property rights for all faculty. 

Our fight is not over--the issues with Council that came to light in this round need to be addressed, along with the damage done to labour relations at all colleges.  In addition, we have the upcoming Charter challenge to our bargaining rights. The work of the task force will require our continued mobilization and vigilance to ensure that it has teeth and that our key issues on governance and precarity are not lost.

On behalf of the bargaining team, however, I want to thank each of you for your incredible support and determination to make these gains possible.  Take some time to celebrate this massive victory:  we've earned it.

In solidarity,