College prof union tells members to reject offer: 'You have no choice but to vote no'

As 12,000 Ontario college professors get set to vote on a contract proposal that would end the month-long strike, the two sides don't even agree on the date this offer was tabled.

Results of vote by 12,000 striking professors expected Friday

Some 12,000 college professors across Ontario, including at College Boreal in Sudbury, have been on strike since Oct. 16. (Erik White/CBC )

As 12,000 Ontario college professors get set to vote on a contract proposal that would end the month-long strike, the two sides don't even agree on the date this offer was tabled.

The colleges, who are forcing this vote to be supervised by the Ontario Labour Relations Board, said this offer came out of the latest round of negotiations on Nov. 6.

"It's not the original offer, it's the negotiated offer," says Cambrian College President Bill Best.

But the Ontario Public Service Employees Union disagrees, and said this it the offer that the colleges tabled on Oct. 10 before the strike began — and before agreements were reached on salary increases and part-time staffing levels.

"You have no choice but to vote no," said David Fasciano, president of the OPSEU local for professors at College Boreal. 

"This offer vote takes us back 30 years to before we had any kind of real collective agreement. It strips away basically most of our hard fought for rights and protections."

The two offers are very similar, but there are some differences in the section on staffing and workload. Read the offer being voted on here and the pre-strike proposal here.  

College Boreal President Daniel Giroux and Cambrian College President Bill Best. (Roger Corriveau/CBC)

College Boreal President Daniel Giroux said he's not sure what to expect from this week's vote, the results from which are to be released Friday.

"It's impossible to predict. We're just hoping the maximum number of faculty get a chance to read the offer and actually vote," he said.

Giroux says those who are predicting that a no vote will lead to the province legislating professors back to work are mistaken.

"There's no indication they want to step in," he said.

"If it's a no vote, the strike will continue."

If the strike ends this week, College Boreal's semester would be extended to Dec. 22 and the holiday break would end early on Jan. 3. 

Cambrian College is making similar plans, with first semester exams currently scheduled for early January and the second semester to begin on Jan. 22.

Each college has been instructed by the province to set aside any money saved during the strike in a fund to help students in financial need.

Best says Cambrian has so far saved about $2 million in faculty salary over the last 30 days.