College Faculty on Strike in Ontario

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College Faculty on Strike in Ontario

OPSEU represents professors, instructors, counsellors, and librarians working at 24 public colleges across the province.

"The bargaining unit for the academic union has put three separate proposals before the [College Employer Council], each one with significant adjustments", she said. "Unfortunately, Council refused to agree".

The faculty of St. Lawrence College took to the streets on Monday after contract negotiations broke down. They are also asking for a 50 to 50 ratio of full-time to non-full-time faculty to maintain stability and improve quality for students, a voice for faculty and students in decision making through the creation of academic senates and academic freedom for faculty to maintain the quality of their courses.

Students, meanwhile, are anxious that their school year will be put on hold.

The head of the union bargaining team, J.P. Hornick, called the proposal - which called for the number of full-time faculty to match the number of faculty members on contract - a fair path to a settlement acceptable to both sides.

The college does not anticipate picket lines at its regional campuses including Kenora.

It was a bright and sunny morning at the entrance to Canadore College and Nipissing University.

"The community seems to be quite responsive to our needs".

The Ontario Public Services Employees Union says it is up to the College Employer Council, which bargains for the colleges, to re-start talks.

The faculty hit the picket lines following the strike deadline Sunday (Oct. 15) at midnight. "I feel like we're kind of at a breaking point here and we need to change directions". As the result of the strike all classes at Conestoga's various compasses, including Cambridge are suspended, however Continuing Education (CE) activities will continue.

However, Holmes said, all the part-time teachers he's had are wiling to spend time outside of their paid hours helping students.

"I'm a little anxious", he said.

Holmes, 21, said he's from Nova Scotia, which adds a bit of tension to things for him.

"We will get through this", he said. "I have a summer job lined up, so I'm anxious I will not be able to go to that".

Students are not happy with the situation and as of October 14, more than 16,000 had signed an online petition, requesting their tuition be returned in the event of a strike.

"We have an offer that has no takeaways and does ensure a reasonable increase to the faculty and partial load", he said.

The union noted that it has a $72 million strike fund.

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