Tentative deal spells relief

It still has to be ratified but the tentative agreement reached last week between Ontario’s college faculty and its management definitely struck a chord of relief at Confederation College.
Roy Murray, president of Confederation College and co-chair of the college management’s bargaining unit, said Friday’s deal is a double relief for him.
“I’m very pleased the college will not be on strike,” he said. “But it’s also a relief with me since I don’t have to go trudge down to Toronto for negotiations.”
Murray said Ontario colleges have been trying to reach a contract with their faculty, represented by the Ontario Public Servants Employees Union, for more than two years.
And the tentative three-year deal, which will expire Aug. 31, 2001, was reached only through compromise by both sides, he added.
“We didn’t get some of the flexibility we needed and the faculty didn’t get all its collectivity,” Murray noted.
“I would like to point out our mediator, Al Heritage, did an outstanding job,” he added. “It was probably the finest example of a person taking charge.”
Ted Montgomery, head negotiator for OPSEU, could not be reached for comment. But Murray said he’s heard positive remarks about the settlement from both college administration and faculty alike.
“It seems to be a big relief for everybody,” he said. “It’s certainly a win for the students. I think the strike would have been disruptive.
“Anytime we can both shake hands and say we did the best jobs we can, it’s better [for everyone].”
College faculty are scheduled to vote on the agreement Sept. 17. Although they could still reject the offer, Murray was remaining optimistic.
“I’m very confident with their union bargaining team recommending ratification,” he said.