Ontario College Strike Continues As Faculty Unanimously Votes "No" To Offer

Jerome Frank
November 17, 2017

Some 12,000 professors, instructors, counsellors, and librarians at 24 community colleges have been on strike since October 16.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne says she will meet with college and union representatives today to discuss how the situation can immediately be resolved.

"We had hoped the outcome of this vote would be positive and we could look forward to welcoming our faculty and students back to the classrooms", said Fanshawe President Peter Devlin in a news release.

According to a Twitter account for Ontario College Faculty, 86 per cent of faculty voted against the offer.

But the union said the offer contains "serious concessions" that were not agreed to, which would erode faculty rights and contribute to an unsustainable staffing model.

"This is exactly what we expected", union bargaining team head JP Hornick said. The strike action, which began on October 15, is now the longest in the history of the province.

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"This is a awful result for the 500,000 students who remain out of class. But they need to come back". I completely sympathize with our students who have been caught in this strike for more than four weeks.

The chair of the colleges' bargaining team said all major issues in the offer have been agreed on by both sides except for language surrounding academic freedom.

Seeing as instructors and the labour board are unaware of how they are going to make up this month of missed class time, students are left waiting to hear about how their future will be affected. Several colleges and contractors such as for food services and maintenance have laid off other workers due to the ongoing strike.

"We can't just introduce back-to-work legislation because we want the strike to end", she said.

".They [students] are anxious about how to pay for unexpected costs like additional rent or canceling long-standing travel plans to be home with family", said Deb Matthews, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development, in a statement. Advanced Education Matthews has estimated Ontario's 24 colleges have saved about $5 million so far.

A proposed class action lawsuit has officially begun as of November 14, 2017, and students are demanding a refund, backed by Charney Lawyers. Students are seeking refunds for lost instruction time, or full refunds for those students who decide not to continue with their program this year.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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