How Bargaining Works

In the lead up to our Townhall event with members of the College Employer Council (CEC) bargaining team, one student asked the following question:


How does the College Bargaining process work?


This question is fundamental to understanding why there is a labour disruption across Ontario's colleges right now.


Here's how it works (broken into 4 stages):

  1. Both parties (ie the Management and Union) each create a list of items they wanted changed in the next employment contract.

  2. Management and Union meet to discuss the things that they want.

Now, this is where it gets interesting:

  • If both sides agree, the agreement is changed.

  • However, if they don't agree, and cannot find middle ground, then bargaining is at an impasse.

(image source: CEC 2022)


During the Bargaining process, this means an escalation must take place.


Often the form that takes is what is called "Arbitration". This means an impartial 3rd party (ie "The Arbitrator") comes in to help both sides (hopefully) come to an agreement.


3. At this impasse, each party can take action to put pressure on the other.


4. Should both sides still not agree, then after a period of time, the process will escalate to a number of methods available to each side.


For Management, this means Imposition or Lock-Out.

For Faculty, this means Labour Action.