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Ontario’s college faculty on strike

There’s no formal schooling for more than 500,000 students as Ontario’s college faculty go on strike Monday morning.

More than 12,000 Ontario public college faculty will be on the picket line rather than in their classrooms after talks between the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) and the College Employer Council failed to produce a tentative collective agreement.

“On Oct. 14, we presented council with a streamlined offer that represented what faculty consider to be the bare minimum we need to ensure quality education for students and treat contract faculty fairly,” said JP Hornick, chair of the union bargaining team. “We carefully crafted a proposal that responded to council’s concerns about costs in a fair and reasonable way.

“Unfortunately, Council refused to agree on even the no-cost items, such as longer contracts for contract faculty and academic freedom,” she said. “This leaves us with no choice but to withdraw our services until such time as our employer is ready to negotiate seriously.”

Hornick said council is committed to a “Walmart model of education” based on reducing the role of full-time faculty and exploiting underpaid contract workers who have no job security beyond one semester.

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas called the current impasse “regrettable” but said college faculty have the full backing of the union’s 130,000 members and their $72 million strike fund.

“Our union has a track record of getting deals done without work stoppages,” he said. “Unfortunately, that has not happened in this case. Nonetheless, I encourage the colleges to get back to the table so we can wrap this up swiftly, for the good of students and faculty alike.”

OPSEU represents professors, instructors, counsellors, and librarians working at 24 public colleges across Ontario. To view the union’s most recent offer, visit www.collegefaculty.org

Filed Under: Local News

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  1. Gary says:

    “Don’t eat that Harold”! The union always says it is not about wages but I can’t recall a strike that wasn’t about increased wages at least in part.

  2. Dennis Fox says:

    This strike is not about getting a better salary- nor is it about some imaginary pay scale. It is about how Canada is now in the lower half of the world’s countries that publicly fund colleges and universities. Since 2008, funding to colleges and universities has constantly declined – leaving students and their families with crushing debts and increased tuition fees. Ontario has the lowest level of funding to colleges and universities of anywhere in Canada. Since 2008 over 20 colleges and universities have gone on strike over the same issues. The bottom line is,that unless governments start investing in the education of future generations, our kids cannot compete on the world stage. And yet the bean counters every year compare EQAO scores with other jurisdictions. These teachers are standing up for our young people – it isn’t about their pocket book – we need more highly qualified teachers, with job security to do their job. I for one support them.

  3. Fred says:

    http://www.algonquincollege.com/hr/academic/salary-schedule-for-full-time-academics/

    I would say $92,000 per year with benefits for someone with no post secondary diploma is pretty good pay.

  4. Dennis Fox says:

    The staff are not well paid and many do not have full benefits. At present time approximately 70% of college staff are part time. They are striking to make college teaching jobs more secure, with more full time staff who better paid. I support them in this endeavour – as do many of the students. I also support the idea of the students being refunded part of their tuition, if this strike drags on. This is not the first time a government has tried to balance their books at the expense of either the education or healthcare systems.

  5. Gary says:

    The staff are very well paid with great benefits. With so many struggling it is hard to sympathize. Once again on the taxpayers back.

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