The union that represents faculty at Ontario's 24 colleges urges its membership to reject the latest offer from the College Employer Council.
The council, which represents St. Clair College in Windsor and Chatham, Fanshawe College in London and Lambton College in Sarnia and others across the province, has asked the Ontario Labour Relations Board to force a vote on an offer it made last month.
It has been in contract talks with the Ontario Public Service Employees Union since last July, but the negotiations have not been easy. In October, a mediator ended a session after deciding the two sides were too far apart. Then in November, few changes were made when the groups met with a conciliator.
However, OPSEU President Warren Thomas still thinks they can reach a deal at the bargaining table.
"Ramming through a forced agreement won't be helpful to labour relations at the colleges, and it certainly won't improve the quality of education," he said.
OPSEU College Faculty Bargaining Team Chair J.P. Hornick added, "this offer is virtually identical to the one that faculty already rejected in December. It wasn't good enough for faculty or our students then, and it still isn't good enough now."
The Council Employer Council Management Bargaining Team Chair disagrees.
"We urge OPSEU to keep their promise to put students' needs first by not escalating the labour dispute," said Doctor Laurie Rancourt earlier this week. "We ask that they allow College faculty to continue working until the results of the employer vote come in, especially given the modest 59 per cent strike mandate result."
Under labour law, an employer can only take a forced vote once. Rejection signals talks need to resume. OPSEU said it remains open to voluntary binding interest arbitration.
"Rejecting this forced offer vote is the best path forward for faculty," said Thomas. "It takes away the CEC's last tool and ensures that any final agreement will be better than this one."
Since November, college faculty have followed a work-to-rule campaign, following their contract to the letter.
The last strike at Ontario colleges in 2017 lasted five weeks.